Rolfing Structural Integration is a hands-on whole body approach to releasing restrictive patterns in the body. Injuries, repetitive motion and emotional trauma can cause our body to take on new ways of holding ourselves. These new patterns serve us in the moment but can often stay in our body longer than necessary, leading to misalignment and eventually pain.
Rolfing works primarily with connective tissue to realign and balance the whole body, taking us out of the patterns that no longer serve us. Connective tissue, also known as fascia, encases and connects all of our bones, ligaments, muscles, and organs. It forms connections between all parts of the body. This is one reason why receiving a Rolfing session in one area of the body may lead to positive effects in another area. Ida Rolf, the creator of Structural Integration, made the important discovery that our connective tissue can be reshaped when it has been pulled out of proper order. When fascia is hydrated and adaptable, it provides support and protection for the entire body. Rolfing works to bring fascia back to its full potential. As this happens, you may begin to see noticeable differences in your posture and overall body structure.
Ongoing research shows us that Rolfing makes our muscle use more efficient. It also makes our movements more economical, letting us use our core muscles. One goal of the Rolfing 10-series is that your body can be aligned with gravity. This allows your muscles to relax and your entire body to feel more ease. Your body is no longer working against gravity. You are working together!
Reported benefits of Rolfing include:
- Improved body awareness
- Better posture
- More balance & stability
- A sense of lightness in the body
- Ease of breath
- Decrease of tension and pain resulting from tension
- Faster recovery from exertion
- Freer and more fluid movement
- Improved flexibility
- Better joint movement and range of motion
- Improved athletic performance
- A calmer mind
The History of Rolfing
The founder of Rolfing, Ida Rolf, received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1920. She went on to further her research in organic chemistry at the Rockefeller Institute as one of very few women working in the field. Driven to find solutions to her own health problems as well as those of her two sons, she then began studying and experimenting with different systems of healing and manipulation.
She explored many forms of alternative healing including homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractics and yoga. The notion that proper alignment, physiologic function and anatomical structure are related is the basis of many of these healing methods.
She believed that the imbalances in structure placed demands on the body’s pervasive network of soft tissues: muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments, thereby creating compensations throughout the body structure.
Dr. Rolf posed this question: “What conditions must be fulfilled in order for the human body-structure to be organized and integrated in gravity so that the whole person can function in the most optimal and economical way?”
Her life’s work was devoted to this investigation, which led to the system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education known as Structural Integration or Rolfing. In order to pass along her work to others and to make the education process accessible, she developed an expedient series of ten sessions, which came to be known as The 10-Series.
Dr. Rolf passed away in 1979 after 50 years of study and work. She continues to be recognized as a pioneer and leader in soft tissue manipulation and movement education. It is estimated that more than a million people have been Rolfed to date.
A Documentary is being made about the life and work of Ida P. Rolf. Watch a clip below of Rolfers who studied Structural Integration directly with her.