Marketplace: Mosaic Structural Integration will get under your skin
Like many healers, Paul Wirth decided to become a practitioner of a unique pathway to fitness after it changed his life.
A massive ankle injury at age 19 left him limping until by the age of 21 it was permanent and causing serious problems in his back, neck and other parts of the body. He tried the Rolf Method and it improved flexibility in his ankle and basically gave him his youth back, he said.
The Rolf Method aims to improve Structural Integration (SI). It was begun by Ida Rolf who found gravity works against misaligned bodies and aids aligned ones. Wirth, who recently opened a practice in Park City on Prospector Ave., said SI focuses on healing the body’s connective tissue to improve movement.
Connective tissue covers the body like a tight sweater or a wetsuit underneath the skin. It gives muscles shape and permits or impedes movement. Focusing efforts on relaxing, healing, or improving performance in muscles alone is futile unless problems in the connective tissue are addressed, he explained.
Picture someone tugging on a tight sweater. The area where they’re pulling is uncomfortable, but movement is also restricted on the opposite side of the body where the fabric is tight.
Likewise, if a person needs to stand up straighter they can exercise muscles to improve posture, but muscles on the opposite side are working against the change.
Instead of thinking of pain or discomfort as "tension" or "bad posture," SI examines the body as a network of connective tissue and considers how one part of the body affects all others.
"The point is to look at how the entire body interacts," he said.
Visually, Wirth’s treatments resemble a deep tissue massage. He doesn’t like that comparison, however, because massage loosens muscles but is rarely part of a comprehensive treatment. And deep tissue massage is often painful while SI applies intense, but not uncomfortable, pressure to coax or invite connective tissue to loosen, stretch or realign.
"It sounds very theoretical but the proof is in the hands-on work," he said.
Treatments also prompt patients to think about movement differently. That gives SI two components: treating the animal being’s physical tissue, and second, changing someone’s perception of movement and how they carry themselves, he explained.
The two elements make his work fascinating, Wirth said. He gets to work with his hands while always being mentally engaged with a patient.
Gravity is a constant force on the body. SI examines and improves how weight is transferred making it easier to recover from injury, eliminate tension and excel athletically, he explained.
Ida Rolf developed a series of 10 treatments that address all of the body’s main connections. It’s an effective tool for treatment, but Wirth said he’ll see clients for how many times they wish and is willing to focus on whatever part of the body is giving them the most trouble.
Ken Simin went to Wirth after a recommendation from a friend.
"He was very open, flexible with time and very friendly," Simin said. "He was very good at explaining body mechanics he even helped improve my posture on my bike."
Wyatt Krajeski said he’s worked with several Rolf experts and that Wirth is "top notch."
Mosaic Structural Integration
2064 Prospector Avenue
in the Poison Creek Office Building
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