How Rolfing Works
"This is the gospel of Rolfing: When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself." ~ Ida P. Rolf
Named after its founder, Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing® Structural Integration is the philosophy, science, and art of integrating the body in space, time, and gravity through tissue manipulation and movement education. It is a form of bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissue network. These connective tissues surround, penetrate and support all muscles, bones, and organs, encase all joints and even have a role in the nervous system. The connective tissue network is the body’s internal system of flexible support; it gives us our form and is an internal guide-wire network for the body. If one set of support wires becomes tight or out of place, the excess tension may appear as nagging joint pain, muscle soreness, or a postural shift.
A Rolfer™ works structurally to correct internal misalignments using mild, direct pressure to release fascial holdings and allow the body to find health through the re-establishment of balance. It is currently believed that the slow, deep strokes of Rolfing® SI stimulate intra-fascial mechanoreceptors (sensory neurons of the muscle nerve), which in turn trigger the nervous system to reduce the tension of the related muscles and fascia. Put another way, Rolfing® SI allows the brain and nervous system to “re-boot” areas of the body that are receiving too much electrical stimulation (chronically tight or sore muscles). Once a healthy level of muscle contraction is established, the person’s entire structure is free to express a pain-free form.
A Rolfer™ also works with perception and coordination to enhance body awareness and increase freedom of movement. Our attitudes and beliefs are expressed and held in place by unconscious muscular patterns throughout our body. Over the years, these attitudes and beliefs become our very shape and are expressed through our movement patterns. Rolf Movement® Integration works with a person’s visual, audio, and tactile senses to bring changes that occur in the body to conscious awareness. This allows us to recognize habitual patterns and explore new options.
By addressing both structure and function, Rolfing® SI creates a higher level of integration in the body, balancing and educating the body and the psyche. As the body approaches balance, it is more comfortable in the gravitational field and it re-gains the natural integrity of its form, enhancing postural efficiency and opening the way to “new postures of life.”