Rolfing is the original method of Structural Integration.
It is a holistic and scientifically proven technique that is based
on deep tissue manipulation and movement education. By contacting
and adjusting the system of fascia (connective tissue), tension
is released in the tissue and the body gets rebalanced and realigned
with the earth’s gravitational field. The result can be more
energy, increased breathing capacity, elimination of chronic pain
and a restored sense of well-being.
Ida Pauline ROLF, Ph.D.,
Rolfing was developed by Dr. Ida Rolf, a biochemist at Columbia
University in the early 1940's. With a profound understanding of
physics, she was interested in role and function of the connective
or myofascial tissue that surrounds all our organs, muscles, bones
and joints, lending the body shape and support. She discovered that
symptoms of pain and stress are a result of the body's response
to gravity. She found that by guiding the body's system with posturing
and structuring that wholeness and balance can be restored, and
emotional as well as physical stress can be reduced. Before she
invented her own modality of Structural Integration, she studied
osteopathy, yoga and chiropractic.
More about Dr. Ida Rolf>
Gravity is the essential shaper of our bodies. From the moment we
are born, gravity is affecting and impacting our structure. Over
time, our bodies get pulled into unnatural positions which results
in chronic patterns of tension, stress and pain. Since physical
and emotional injuries, repetitive habits, stress, or other traumatic
events are also being recorded and stored in our connective tissue,
they create additional layers of complex holding patterns in our
bodies. As a result, we get more and more out of alignment and are
at war with gravity!
an injury, we usually compensate by shifting our bearing in order
to avoid and alleviate discomfort. The adjustment seems to work
at the time, and we move on. We heal, but a remnant of the compensatory
pattern remains in our bodies. Those newly developed movement and
holding patterns use preferred “grooves” of neuromuscular
connections, and as they become familiar, they fall outside our
zone of consciousness and we move with comparatively little awareness.
Over time, our resilient and elastic connective tissue absorbs and
responds to this “misaligned posture” and together with
the forces of gravity, stress, trauma and illness, the fascia continues
to shorten, dehydrate and thicken.
As a result, the movement of the muscles and joints become more
and more restricted, and consequently rearrange the original position
of our bones. While certain muscles remain overly contracted and
stressed, others stop functioning. This leads to impaired movements,
reduction of mental clarity, increased emotional stress, and more
pain and tightness in the soft-tissue network.
Whenever there is an injury or tension in a specific body part,
the strain is communicated through the fascial system to the rest
of the body, which has to compensate for the misalignment. Therefore,
the entire body needs to be addressed and adjusted, in order to
integrate the change, and to achieve lasting results.
Much like a sculptor works with clay, a Rolfer works with the body's
living malleable, myofascial system by lengthening and re-shaping
the fascia, releasing restrictions that create life-long patterns
of bracing and tension. The combination of hands-on applied pressure
by the Rolf practitioner, and synchronized movements by the client
releases those fascial adhesions. This allows the body segments
(head, shoulders, thorax, pelvis and legs) to realign and return
to a balanced relationship, in both the resting state and in movement.
After a Rolfing session, people usually report spaciousness, lightness
and fluidity in their body, which ultimately leads toward pain and
stress relief, increased body awareness, improved range of motion,
as well as an overall feeling of well-being. Rolfing enhances the
body’s self-organizing capabilities and the changes can be
For more information, about the theory and principles about Rolfing,
visit the website of the Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration
The purpose of Rolfing Movement is to work with the client to help
identify movement patterns that promote strain and asymmetry in
the system. Once the patterns are identified, the Rolf Movement
practitioner does not seek to change those patterns, which have
served the client well, but rather to offer more economical solutions
which promote greater balance and efficiency in the gravitational
Like the structural ten-series, Rolfing Movement is taught as a
sequence of sessions devoted to specific structural and movement
themes. In a classic movement series, the first session is devoted
to exploring breathing patterns and using the breath to promote
ease and release holdings in the ribs, lungs and respiratory diaphragm.
Subsequent sessions address movement patterns in the foot, ankle
and knee joints, the hip joint, the arms and head and neck. These
sessions are normally repeated to access deeper holding patterns
and achieve higher levels of order just as structural Rolfers return
to the extremities and upper and lower girdles (the shoulder and
pelvis) in the latter sessions to more fully integrate structure
and function. Rolfing movement can be explored by clients who have
completed a structural series and can serve equally well as an autonomous
tool for achieving higher levels of self-awareness and coherence.