NORTH FORK — If you’ve ever had the pleasure of massage therapy for any reason, you’re probably aware of how beneficial the process can be.
It’s essential to overall well-being, believes Karen McAleece, who is certified as both a Structural Integrationist and and Swedish Massage Therapist.
Her business, “Time to Align,” is located in the North Fork Center for Harmony.
“It is important to me to address all facets of life: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual,” explains the long-time educator. “Through the process of Structural Integration I want to assist my clients in achieving the balance and alignment they seek in their lives.”
After retirement from teaching, McAleece was on the lookout for just the right opportunity to present itself when she participated in a series of “Rolfing” sessions that she says changed her life. “Rolfing” is a common name for Structural Integration.
“I was so taken by the physical and emotional release and the benefits of the process that I decided to learn how to do it myself,” recalls the longtime mountain resident, adding, “The wonderful woman who worked on me was 82 years old at the time, so I knew I couldn’t use my age as an excuse!”
Structural Integration is the name used by the late Ida P. Rolf for her work. Dr. Rolf received her PhD. in Biochemistry from Columbia University in 1920.
The Rolf Institute describes Rolfing as a “holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organizes the whole body in gravity”.
MacAleece explains that Dr. Rolf developed a series of 10 sessions with the goal of establishing alignment and balance in the body. The massage work engages the myofascial tissue, or fascia: those white fibers of connective tissue that form body’s support system, giving us our shape and structure.
“Because it is malleable and pliable it can be stretched and manipulated by the practitioner, encouraging it to return to its optimal structural position,” shares the careful practitioner.
She says this kind of alignment can often relieve chronic structural stresses, aches, and pains — the kind we all have from simply living our lives.
“Let me give a personal example. I tore the cartilage in my right knee in 1960 while playing basketball,” remembers the married mother of two.
Three years later she had surgery on the injured tissue and has been compensating for the injury ever since, with diminished range of motion and by favoring that side with a limp. Short of total knee replacement, she didn’t know what else to do, until Rolfing really helped.
“Through the work of the 10 sessions the pain has been alleviated completely and I’ve increased the strength, range of motion, and capabilities of my knee. My whole body has benefited positively from the treatments.”
This transformation from care receiver to provider began in 2009 when McAleece was first certified in Swedish Massage. Once that process was comiplete, she enrolled in the Guild for Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado, taking an Auditor’s Class. She topped the training off with a tropical excursion.
“Finally, I went to beautiful Kauai for eight more weeks to complete my Practitioner’s Training,” says the lucky traveler, who then became a certified Structural Integration Practitioner in 2010.
The comfort and benefit that massage therapy provides is more than merely physical, McAleece points out. There is a mind-body connection, too.
“This has allowed me to let go and release long-standing emotional issues that I was unable to resolve in any other way. I understand now that my body really does store the ‘molecules of emotion’ that one of my favorite neuroscientists, Candace Pert Ph.D., writes and talks about.”
As the newest member in a group of practitioners who operate from the Center for Harmony, McAleece stresses the impact people create for themselves when they address all facets of life, including physical, emotional and spiritual.
“That is why I call my business ‘Time to Align.’ Through the process of Structural Integration I want to assist my clients in achieving the balance and alignment they seek in their lives.”
For more information contact Karen McAleece, PhD, C.M.P., Structural Integrator at (559) 877-2331
Center for Harmony
32938 Road 222
North Fork, CA 93643