What is Rolfing?

Rolfing®, Structural Integration® is a method of deep manipulation of the connective tissues of the body, developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf. Her intention was to create a system of postural restructuring and movement re-patterning, in order to promote ease and balance in the body and therefore the mind. Due to physical and emotional trauma, repetitive movements, and habits of standing, sitting and moving, our bodies can develop dysfunctional and characteristic patterns of strain. Rotations in bones, shortness, tightness, or too much laxity in related muscles and other tissues, and asymmetries within the body as a whole, create conflicting tensional forces. These may ultimately lead to sub-optimal choices in movement. Over time, and with repetition, these patterns can worsen, leading to further limitations in the body-mind. This dynamic is among the root causes of pain, discomfort, and other types of limitation including emotional and behavioral issues.

Rolfing Structural Integration is a highly effective way of working with the body-mind to resolve conflicts, which prevent easier, more efficient ways of moving and being. The logo seen at the top of this page tells a typical story. The segments of the body are out of alignment with one another in every plane. This body is having trouble supporting itself. When support is lacking, we compensate by shoring up specific areas in an effort to deal with these vulnerabilities. This dynamic ultimately diminishes the adaptive capacity of the body-mind. We then become a negotiation of compensations in an effort to balance these conflicting tensional forces. We might experience these conflicts as: tightness, weakness, lack of flexibility, poor balance, pain, chronic discomfort, anxiety, depression, low vitality etc…

This natural response to imbalance and undifferentiated tissues is the body-mind’s strategy to support itself against the ever-present forces of gravity. Movement is an event in which every part and segment of the body works in relationship to every other part and segment. If we are overly defended in certain places, and too loose in other places, these relationships will be out of balance, and the body-mind will be limited in its ability to respond to the demands of its environment. 

A main condition in the environment is gravity.  Standing, sitting and moving in general are all factors that need to be negotiated within the condition of the field of gravity. Responding to social situations, challenging events, and personal relationships are also aspects of our experience that we are more empowered in when our bodies are more organized and conscious. 

A Rolfer® is highly trained to see, and address the complex ways in which the body-mind is relating to itself and its environment. The more balanced these relationships are, the more choice we will have in our experience. Through hands-on manipulation, and movement (perceptual) education, Rolfing is a very precise and effective way to change deep-set habits of posture, movement, and orientation.

Rolfing is an effective approach to addressing the after-effects of accidents, injuries, and for many cases of acute and chronic pain. How we are in our bodies contextualizes perception, and the activity of the mind in general. For these reasons, Rolfing can be useful in affecting positive change in emotional, and behavioral issues. This work can also be a valuable piece for deepening the practices of yoga, dance, Pilates, Gyrotonic, martial arts, athletic performance, and any movement related practice.