Rolfing Structural Integration is an original discipline and a scientifically proven approach to body restructuring and movement education. It frees the body of deeply held tensions and improves structural organization through realignment with the axis of gravity.
The Rolfer (the Rolfing practitioner) pays close attention to the client’s comfort while applying pressure with fingers, hands and elbows. These manipulations reestablish the optimal spaces within the connective tissues (fascia) which muscles need. This allows the different parts of the body to realign, improves the support they provide each another and transmits forces with greater economy and better ecology of movement.
The connective tissue, or fascia, is a vast three-dimensional web that forms a tensor network throughout the human body. It functions like an information highway, since each collagen fibre within it contains a small amount of cortical fluid that helps protect and regulate the central nervous system.
Connective tissue is the most malleable tissue. It gives shape to the entire body and supports the skeletal system, as well as every muscle fibre and cell.
Depending on how pressure is applied to connective tissue, it reacts and adjusts by relaxing and stretching or by tightening and contracting.
The experience :
The client feels the impact of the pressure very differently depending on the presence of chronic tension in the part of the body being worked on, injuries and other factors. Most people find the experience of Rolfing pleasant because it creates deep relaxation. As the sessions continue, a sense of freedom is experienced that is characteristic of a body in more harmonious alignment.
After the treatments, people usually feel straighter, lighter, better “lubricated”. They have more vitality and energy, they breathe more fully and easily. There is also an improvement in structural alignment, flexibility, balance and mobility.
Rolfing is holistic, which means it encompasses emotional responses, realizations and existential reflections. This is a normal part of the process and reflects the deep nature of the work being done. The process as a whole may thus have an impact on the mental, psychological and spiritual levels.
Rolfing is given over several sessions. The basic series is normally 10 sessions. In subsequent months or years it can be followed by series of 3 or 5 sessions, as required.
The sessions last for an hour and 15 minutes and usually are scheduled every few days or weeks, depending on each individual’s situation.
Rolf Movement Integration
The Rolf Movement Practitioner guides the client to greater awareness of habitual gestures and actions: standing, walking, sitting, breathing, etc. The client is invited to try new ways of moving that create better structural balance, where the different parts of the body transmit stresses in a more congruent and efficient manner. Sensitive attention is brought to mood changes, metaphors and how the adjustments affect one’s perceptions.
Rolf Movement skills can be used in the context of Structural Integration sessions. They help clients achieve higher levels of self-awareness, integration and mind-body alignment with respect to the movements associated with the structural work done in the sessions. It is also possible to do sessions that are entirely based on Rolf Movement.
Who is Rolfing for?
Rolfing is for people who experience problems related to poor posture or the after-effects of injuries, surgery or accidents; for those who suffer from chronic pain, who feel that their body is stressed but don’t know how to relax the tension; and for those committed to a physical discipline (sports, dance, yoga, etc.) and who want to improve their performance; it is also for those who are engaged in a process of personal growth and want to deepen change at the bodily level.
Rolfing is for all ages!
Suggested links for more information about Rolfing :
Swiss Rolfer Mathias Avigdor’s video on Rolfing (In French with English subtitles)