What is Rolfing?
“Rolfing” is a trademark name derived from the name of the pioneer of this method of re-alignment of the body’s structure. Her name is Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., a doctoral graduate of Columbia University (1920), with added studies in mathematics and atomic physics in Zurich and homeopathic medicine in Geneva.
“Rolfing” is more correctly called Structural Integration, a holistic approach to re-alignment by lengthening the fascia surrounding muscles, allowing the muscles to move more freely. Releasing old patterns of chronic tightening enables the body to find its own alignment. Stiffness, discomfort, and loss of energy are replaced by ease, flexibility, and enhanced performance.
How is Rolfing/Structural Integration different from massage?
The aim of massage is to help the client to release stress and tension, to relax. The aim of Structural Integration is to re-align the body and bring it to a state of balance.
Is Rolfing/SI painful?
Is massage painful? For some it is. What does the client do? Asks the practitioner to lighten up. The same is true for Rolfing/Structural Integration. Its reputation for being painful kept me away from it for many years. In fact, it was more aggressive in the early days. Over the years practitioners became more responsive to the client’s state of receptivity. Structural Integration is a mutually supportive process. If the client is in pain, it does not accomplish much to ignore this fact. In order for the tissue to be lengthened it must not be in a defensive and guarded state. If there is pain, perhaps the pressure is too deep and the body is not ready for that level of pressure. Lighten up, change direction, ask the client to provide regular feedback. By respecting the level of readiness of the tissues, depth is achieved gradually without great discomfort.
That said, the source of discomfort lies in the resistance of the muscle/fascia to release its chronic grip. The muscle is already in a state of pain. Structural Integration is the process of getting the pain out.
Who would benefit from Structural Integration?
Structural Integration (Rolfing), in the highest sense, is about becoming more truly who you are. it is an evolutionary process. The mind-body unity means that when the body comes into greater balance with itself, change will occur in all areas of one’s life. Creating more space in the body translates to creating more space for change in one’s life. If you are looking for transformation, this is a good place to begin. See Benefits of Structural Integration.
What conditions are helped by Structural Integration?
While the goal of Rolfing/Structural Integration is to re-align the body structure and create more ease and flexibility, it co-incidentally releases or alleviates many conditions, among which are:
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
• TMJ disorders
• Lower Back Pain
• Plantar fascitis
• Repetitive Use Disorders
• “Frozen” shoulder
Are the results lasting?
YES! Photographs taken of clients years after the Basic Ten Series show that changes are still present. Keep in mind however, as life changes, bodies change in response. Any injuries, accidents, lengthy illnesses and emotional stress may necessitate additional work.
Full integration and assimilation of the changes in the body continue to take place over a period of at least six months after the ten sessions. If there is no further injury, and clients are able to make some adjustments in their work and play lives to correct old patterns of sitting, standing, walking and exercising, the effects of Structural Integration are fairly permanent. Chances are, however, that some kind of injury or work-related requirements (such as sitting in front of a computer for many hours each day) will demand some tune-ups. Just how many and how often is a decision made by the client with the practitioner.