Postural integration combines bodywork with emotional expression in a truly holistic technique that releases physical and mental tension simultaneously and synergistically. PI leaves the "bodymind" in a relaxed, calm state because it finds the links between physical tension and emotional tension and trauma and allows both the body and the mind to release them, bringing the posture into a healthier alignment while doing so.
A PI practitioner will guide you through a series of sessions.
- Find a PI practitioner near you. When you meet with the practitioner, you will begin by discussing basic health issues and life concerns to better inform his or her work with you. He or she will want to examine your body’s posture and your breathing in order to get an idea of what tensions may need to be worked on.
- The practitioner will perform deep tissue massage techniques on you while encouraging deep breathing. This form of massage will work on the tension held far inside your muscles. Be sure to inform him or her if a technique is particularly helpful or if it hurts you. A little discomfort is okay, but if you’re in pain, you should speak up.
- As the practitioner works on your body, emotional issues may come up. With the release of physical tension often comes emotional release. You may feel compelled to talk about past experiences, laugh, cry, or express yourself in other ways. Allow this to happen, even if you feel silly or stupid. It’s a crucial part of the PI process.
- At the end of the session, you will feel released and relaxed. You may choose to have more sessions with your PI practitioner if you feel that you would benefit from them. Many people find maximum benefit in about 10 sessions.
Dr. Jack Painter, a former professor at the University of Miami, developed postural integration in the 1960s, combining insight from the fields of psychology, massage therapy and acupressure, Gestalt therapy, Reichian therapy, and Rolfing.
Always be sure to alert your practitioner to health problems and if you feel pain during the session.
Some psychotherapists practice PI and are exceedingly qualified to deal with emotional issues that may come up through PI. Other PI practitioners are more like traditional massage therapists. An assessment of your own situation and needs should guide you in choosing a PI practitioner. Alternately, PI can be used as a supplement to more traditional talk therapy