Home - Fixing Backs, Pain, Stress and Tightness with Structural Integration
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About Master Postural Integrator Lou Gross

Get the Structural Connective Tissue Stretching Video, too.
Can enhance the benefits from Structural & Postural Integration, Myo-Fascial release.

AND, HOW I DO IT - Part 2 of 2 – The Treatment

And What Happens

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       DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TREATMENTS:  This Body Improvement System is different from massage, acupressure and shiatsu. They give our bodies other important benefits in many ways.  The major difference from Structural Integration I want to emphasize is that they are not "designed" to greatly relengthen so much fascia and reorganize the way the body structure functions.

       WHAT WE DO:  Here, in a series of 1-2 hour sessions, the practitioner uses fingers, hands and arms to manipulate, or spread  this fascia lengthwise, so the soft tissue of the muscles actually gets longer and less compressed.  We don't have to try "banging" into the muscles to try to "force" them to "let go."  We are just re-lengthening the "putty" that has been holding the actual muscle fibers in too short a sack to relax.

       WHAT YOU GET:  Because of this approach, clients  find they get large amounts of long lasting loosening in a relatively short amount of time.
MY SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION:  From what I was taught by long time Structural Integrators and what I learned from working on athletes, I developed a special hands-on technique, unusual in this field, coupled with some other techniques. These allow me to do 3 and 4 hour sessions, in a way that the body enjoys. In fact, for many people, it works fine to do 6, 8 and even 12 hours of treatment in a week to a week and a half.

        HOW THIS HELPS YOU:  I can get a lot done, deeply and comfortably, in a short amount of time, and do a group of sessions in a "travel visit" to a client or group of clients, for a few days to a couple of weeks.   People say my treatments usually feel "great," (Their comments are on the testimonials pages.)
        The technique is like a series of short yet comfortable deep massage pushes, within which I also move a section of fascia.  And I hold my hand, arm and shoulder in a special "receptive" way that significantly reduces sensations of any harsh pressure or pushing.
        I also simultaneously guide the client through a relaxation process that turns off a lot of the nerve activity and muscle hardness we accumulate throughout the day.  People let go in both their bodies, and minds, all the way down through the organs and bones, even into the energy centers.
        I guide the client through special Structural Integration fascia, or connective tissue stretches, too.  These add to the hands-on Bodywork results and then make more Bodywork easier to do.  (Books and tapes of these methods will soon be available.)
        While other Structural Integrators indeed give people excellent results, the usual approach for the 10-step Basic Recipe is to give 1-hr to 1-1/2 hrs every week or two.

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by Lou Gross, School Certified Master Postural Integrator since 1983
Body Structure & Bodymind Performance Specialist
28 years successful track record
A Resource for Body Professionals of all Kinds
For more information & free consultations, call 321 726 9083

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          Starting from the outside, and in different sections of the body, we move each group of muscles into a larger, looser form that becomes better and better organized in its muscle-bone and joint system.  It's also more flexible and more thoroughly relaxed. As the sessions continue, the treatment on a second, third or fourth area releases that local tightness, and also releases its muscular "holding," so there's less and less pulling on muscles all over the rest of the body as well.

          When this happens, more and more layers of old tension and tightness in the whole body are released, and the "body-suit" literally gets bigger. Right from the first session, people notice they feel significantly more relaxed, and at the same time, they say they have more energy, more flexibility and move around easier.

           We treat muscle group after muscle group, in a logically defined order. We're doing that re-organization.  First, of course, even tightness that accumulated even decades ago is removed and gone forever. We clear up whatever is there. This also corrects the misaligned positions of bones and joints. They are actually re-aligned toward their proper positions.  This obviously makes the body work better. But it also stays in a more tensionless and flexible condition as well; and that lasts for weeks, months and even years afterward.

            Back pain, and other pains, can get better and stay better because we are removing the years of accumulated tightness it took to create the pain to begin with. For most people, it will take a lot of time to get so tight again, especially because this healthier tissue will stretch out easier. And because we have improved the body’s proper alignment, the everyday pattern of tensing just to stand and sit upright won’t happen as much either.
            From my 20 years experience, the excessive curves of the spine, especially in the lower back, can be made a lot less for almost everybody. So vertebra and disk problems, and a lot of lower back pain, can become less.
          Further, we now have a better interconnected operation of all the bones, joints and muscles.  This allows us to do more activity without accumulating as much bunch-up.

          But we aren't just re-lengthening a few tight muscles.  We are doing a process, over a series of sessions, that purposely straightens out the whole set of our muscles and bones, one area after another.

           In Part 1, I mentioned the overall tight pattern we develop.  It's the zig-zagging shape of legs leaning forward and back leaning backward to compensate, the one that causes so many people back problems.  This is the same tight shape that causes many knee, groin, ankle, shoulder and neck pains, too.
           Looking at the person sideways, we see the thighs and lower legs lean forward but the calves are bulging backward.  The torso leans backward in the lower and middle back, and the upper back, shoulders, neck and head are leaning forward. This shape is held fixed by the hardened, short fascia. And it stays that way, even getting worse, because we have to keep making our muscles tight to hold us up in this form. One part of the body, and gravity, are always pulling against the other part.

          To reflect, the reason other kinds of treatments don’t fix a lot of tightness and back pain, or they just loosen it for a few hours or a few days, is because they are approaching the condition in a localized way instead. So I keep repeating, that the true cause of most people’s chronic back pain, and their chronic muscular tightness and many other pains, is because a lot of different muscles and fascia in different parts of the body, are keeping the whole system tight.

          Therefore, with this Structural Integration approach, we release a certain amount of the tightness in one area after the other.  And then we go over the whole body again, at a deeper and more inter-connecting level.
          When we do this, something else happens that's also very good.  We are doing more than releasing tightness and pain, more than creating relaxation and flexibility. We are "uncovering" the "integrated way" that all the parts of the body are designed to work together. This is the way our nervous system is designed to make the muscles move.  After we allow the muscles to move around in the full, and unrestricted way they're designed to move, the whole neuro-muscular operation now works better than it's probably worked our entire adult lives.  That's why I say our bodies operate more like they're designed to work.
          And of course, THIS is a totally different purpose from massage, acupuncture and chiropractic.

          Each phase of the treatment, from outside to the deeper inside structures, takes a few hours.  And as I keep saying, each step in a new area produces greater benefits in all the areas.
        Right from the beginning, people feel they’re getting freer, more flexible and less tense.  As the treatments continue, even whole sections of the body become freer.
         You can see that the old patterns of restricted behavior and tense movement loosen up, and the range of each of the muscles' movement not only gets longer, their muscular power increases.
 Obviously, when a muscle can move through a longer distance, it does more. And now, we also have more muscles working together to accomplish a movement.  This coordinated activity increases the power of the activity.

         This coordinated muscle activity is another way we are designed to "operate."  And it helps in other ways besides making movements.  Not only do people notice they're standing straighter and taller with less effort, but they’re also standing with greater stability. This is another feature of our naturally designed shape.  The muscle and bone structure are really designed to work well with the force of gravity. it is only when we're bunched up that we relate to gravity as a force trying to pull us down.   So people get a better sense of balance, that balance is felt deep in the body, and they even feel "better connected" to their physical surroundings.

        The arms, legs and torso obviously become longer, because all their muscles got longer and the zig-zagging of the bones got more straightened out. So they all function better as parts of the body.  They work more freely on their own with less tense holding from other parts, and they also work more together with the body's other parts when we want to do a whole body movement. And to repeat, at each step of the process, people's tissues become softer and more deeply relaxed, and they become mentally calmer and clearer, and are less bothered by stress.

          There are 10 "steps" in the basic Structural Integration recipe, which take 12-15 sessions for the average person. Additional sessions improve upon this and help with chronic pain conditions, especially long-term back problems. With most practitioners, people have sessions once every week or two, but once a month for 2-4 hours also works.  As I said above, in my approach, I have a special hands-on technique combined with other practices that enables people to do 4-6 hrs a week, and even do 10 or more hours in the first week.

           Relaxation and looseness improvements are felt by almost everybody, immediately in the first session, but chronic pain doesn't get much better until a number of hours into the process. It might get less intense and more localized fairly soon, and after a while, it also might not show up until the person makes a greater range of movement than before.

          For acute pain conditions, just a few sessions can sometimes release the problem, without the need for integrating the whole structure. Some people have 4-10 hours, or more, in the first week, for a faster fix.

          To say what I said before about the different parts of the body holding each other tight, what is unique and especially effective about this treatment is that the related muscle groups that are causing the pain are treated as well as where you are conscious of the sensation of the pain. This is a very important concept of why the Structural "Integration" approach gets such very good, long lasting results.  Pain is often a local "symptom" of the bigger problem of overall tightness that you don't feel.

          For tension and stiffness release, people feel better immediately, starting from the first session and I recommend four 2-hr sessions for the first significant change. This does a lot, and if you don't also have a major physical problem, lasts a long time. To remove recurring tightness, some people have regular tune-up treatments of these manipulations instead of massage

Details of the Method:    Part 1     Part 2     Recipe of the Bodywork Steps
16 page in-depth Body and Mind explanation


          As I described above, I teach clients some very effective "connective tissue"  stretching and yoga exercises that help them maintain and even improve upon what I've done with the hands-on work. I explain which stretches work for specific parts of the body, and I show a technique that makes any kind of stretching more effective. Even elite athletes and yoga students found both the positions and the special technique helpful.
          This kind of stretching is not a part of most other practitioners' Bodywork programs.  However, most people can find their own yoga classes.  And, as I mentioned, I am soon offering my stretching "education" method on tape and in a book.

Stretching Tips      
Yoga Benefits - details
"Structural" Stretching Tape

          I also provide my clients with a very nice bodymind guided relaxation process combined with some acupressure energy balancing. Sometimes I also teach them breath concentration meditation techniques that improve our abilities to stay focused and attentive.
          These mind-body "processes" create a lot of relaxation, very deep down.  So they allow me to do the Bodywork deeper, yet quite comfortably. I have been known for being able to go very deep, even in the early sessions, while keeping the body organized and not causing pain.
          I, and many other practitioners, often play very relaxing, classical music during the sessions.
          I can also offer wholistic health suggestions in the way of raw and "regenerating" food diet, "tonic" herbs, special kinds of exercising and techniques for removing toxic build-up.  This internal cleansing relaxes muscles quite a bit, and adding better nutrition makes keeps them looser and more pain free.
           I will soon have the guided relaxation and mind-body breathing techniques on audio tape.  Your practitioner might even play it for you during the sessions if you get one and you both find it helps.
Energized Relaxation – Info/Tape
Mr. Green’s Health Rejuvenation Tips

          Clients are often taught how to use their new physical freedom in a more effective way that also creates less tension than their usual way of moving around, or even just sitting down. We call this Integrated Movement education, and I have found it is easier to do, and also easier to comprehend, after we get the Structural Integration series, because our bodies are now organized to function this better way.
. The most commonly used Integrated Movement techniques are from Rolfing Movement and Aston Patterning (which are similar). Some people do the Alexander Technique and Feldenkreis movement practices. I’m not an expert in these fields, but I give a bunch of great, key techniques that have helped people immediately in daily life.
          Your practitioner may have been schooled in these, or in the system called Movement Enhancement which combines the Bodywork and Movement Training, or even in something called "Embodiment" created by Rolfer Grant Ramey.  Hellerwork practitioners have also used a short checklist of "letting go" and body positioning techniques.

          Some Bodywork systems, such as Postural Integration (in which I was trained) employ body-oriented psychological techniques. These help remove the energies of old traumas, negative emotions and self-limiting patterns that got embedded within the physical tightness during times of stress.  I, myself do this for clients who want this kind of "wholistic" approach.  And, I find that the physical improvements created in the "fascial form" last longer when the underlying, "unconscious"  neuro-muscular tendency to re-tighten, is also removed.
          Besides the P.I. training, I have also been trained in another, complementary method that can make the release of old energies even easier, more thorough, and more comfortable than with only the Reichian, Bioenergetic and energy methods that are used in the Postural Integration system.  This is called the Netherton method, and I describe something about all these techniques in the Body-Mind articles listed on the home page and the Free Booklets page.
          These body-oriented verbal and breathing processes also help us become more aware of our bodies and the different parts of our personalities and past "patterns." They are excellent for uncovering the details of adult traumas and even very early childhood events we may not remember.  This increase in our own, mental awareness occurs at the same time that we are removing the negative charge and overwhelm our bodies had gotten from the old events.  We see the events clearer and yet they effect us almost not at all anymore.
           These benefits are a wonderful aid to psychotherapy and people say their therapy goes faster and easier. At the risk of sounding egotistical, I have a lot of experience in this area and my talents give people very good results rather quickly.  Testimonials are on site.

Psychological & Personal Growth Benefits – very detailed
Body-Mind Therapy – very detailed


          I have a BS in Electronic Engineering from Syracuse University and years of experience in engineering design, problem solving and management. Now I do "People Engineering," and apply the same approach to helping people.
          I have over 2000 hours specialized education and 20 years experience in bodywork, movement, body-psychology, nutrition and energy healing. I'm certified as a Postural Integrator, Master Level, by the International School of Release & Integration in Mill Valley, CA, and also as an acupressurist from the Ryoho School in Los Angeles.

          I've worked in two college training rooms and two chiropractic offices, and have had patients referred to me by medical doctors, psychotherapists, college coaches, an acupuncturist and a physical therapist. I have worked on almost two dozen Olympic Level athletes and college coaches, plus serious recreational athletes, and a number of health professionals. I have years of experience treating runners and jumpers, very effectively and efficiently. I also have over 20 years intensive meditation training.
More details of my training

        My attentive work is characterized by

  • very broad and in-depth knowledge,
  • excellent analysis,
  • fine technical skills,
  • clear explanations of what I am doing, and why,
  • a loving heart,
  • and, people say: "great hands."


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Olympic Athlete Testimonials - World Record Holders      Other Olympians
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Do a lot for yourself !
Get the Structural Connective Tissue Stretching Video, too.
These are the stretches I teach to my clients and friends.
Most can even be done in seniors' classes as we did.

Includes how to stretch hard to reach areas and helps remove back pain, including telling what needs to be lengthened and why.
Helps remove the tightnesses that cause and aggravate
 pulled back muscles.  So they can heal better.
Helps get more out of yoga.

My arms don't reach overseas, but my info and
stretching video can help people everywhere with
back problems and to increase their
physical and athletic performance

Also, Look into my Back Fix Book &
Body Works Better Book.

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Copyright 1995, 2002   Louis A. Gross   All Rights Reserved