What is Hellerwork? Also known as structural integration, Hellerwork is an effective holistic treatment which aims to balance, realign, and integrate the mind and body. Based on the belief that disease is often the result of stress and musculoskeletal misalignment, this form of bodywork consists of:
- Movement Education
Hellerwork was developed in the 1970s by American aerospace engineer and certified Rolfer Joseph Heller. It posits that tension and emotional and physical stress are stored in the body, tightening the muscles and leading to poor posture. Through bodywork that releases chronic tension and pain, through dialogue about the influence of one’s emotions and thoughts on one’s physical and mental states, and through increased awareness about one’s daily movement patterns, Hellerwork promotes physical and emotional health.
Mind-Body Connection and Integration
Making a connection between body alignment, personal awareness, and optimal physical movement habits, Hellerwork allows for tension release, pain relief, and the restoration of natural ease of motion. Teaching stress-free ways to perform everyday actions (i.e. standing up, sitting down, bending over), Hellwork rebalances the body, bringing a sense of wholeness and integration.
Hellerwork Sessions and Structure
Hellerwork is comprised of 11 sessions, each of which focuses on a particular theme and area of the body:
- Sessions 1-3: Focus on the surface layers of the fascia and infancy and childhood developmental issues
- Session 4-7 (Core Sessions): Focus on deep muscular layers and on adolescent developmental issues
- Sessions 8-11 (Integrative Sessions): Build upon previous sessions with a focus on questions of maturity
In greater detail, Hellerwork’s three components consist of:
- Bodywork: Through deep connective tissue massage, Hellerwork releases tension in the fascia, restoring normal alignment, improving posture, and increasing flexibility and ease. Tensions can be the result of physical stresses, negative emotions/attitudes, or physical/emotional traumas.
- Movement Education: By helping clients become aware of their personal movement habits and correct muscular alignment, Hellerwork teaches better patterns of movement – a home, on the job, in sports, and during social activities.
- Dialogue: Verbal dialogue is a key component of Hellerwork, designed to increase insight into how one’s emotions and beliefs affect one’s well being. By becoming aware of ongoing attitudes which contribute to bodily tension, clients learn how to deal with upsets and daily stresses and how to improve patterns of self-expression.
Hellerwork has been found to:
- Improve postural alignment
- Increase ease of motion
- Reduce tension and stress
- Provide pain and chronic pain relief
- Reduce back, neck and joint pain
- Prevent injury
- Accelerate rehabilitation from injury
- Facilitate breathing
- Improve circulation and blood pressure
- Reduce labor pain
- Boost immune system
- Boost confidence
- Expand energy
- Increase personal awareness
- Provide a sense of wholeness
- Increase vitality and a feeling of aliveness
Hellerwork Training and Accreditation
Some of the people seeking Hellerwork training include bodywork practitioners, massage therapists, other holistic healthcare professionals. Topics studied include: anatomy, physiology, somatic psychology, principles of structural integration, principles of movement education, assessment of structural alignment and movement, as well as business skills. Hellerwork accreditation requires over 1,250 hours comprised of classroom study, independent study, and internships.