Rolfing® is a sophisticated, powerful and scientifically validated somatic system for dealing with problems of posture, restricted movement and tension-related conditions. It consists of 10 sessions of soft-tissue manipulation and movement education aimed at establishing an easy and erect alignment of the body, as well as a sense of grace and ease in movement.
Rolfers carefully evaluate your postural organisation and movement restrictions, and then proceed systematically through the whole body, carefully unlocking tense muscles and the shortened, stuck tissues that so often cause postural pain. They encourage clients to let go of the old, fixed, and unhelpful muscular patterns and enable them to achieve a more balanced body. Trapped energy is released and this is often experienced as greater vitality and an enhanced ability of the body to heal itself. Rolfing can help you regain a comfortable relationship with your body.
Rolfing® Structural Integration is a powerful bodywork system for dealing with:
Rolfing belongs to a group of therapies known as the structural bodywork approaches. These therapies attempt to alter our body’s shape, alignment and structure. Yoga was probably the original form of structural bodywork, with osteopathy and Rolfing developing much later in the West. All these approaches aim at improving how we function by freeing up our structure. They work by lengthening the tissues and aligning the body’s segments. However, unlike yoga and osteopathy, Rolfing works through a systematic process of soft-tissue manipulations combined with postural and movement re-education. The reorganization of posture from Rolfing is often quite dramatic (see the following photo), but even without these more visible results, Rolfing clients report usually report a pleasurable freer, effortless kind of movement.
Many neck, back and other physical problems are actually the symptoms of chronic postural restrictions. Long periods of sitting at a computer keyboard, driving, or moving infants in and out of cars are all situations that, through daily repetition, can stress the body. Traumas such as car accidents, falls, surgery and sport injuries can also lead to stiffness and pain in the muscles and joints. Rolfing is widely regarded as being one of the best ways of dealing with such problems. Because the body is better balanced after Rolfing, it expends less energy against gravity. This is sometimes experienced as higher level of alertness and vitality. Chronic discomforts often disappear immediately or soon after the series is completed.
Although Rolfing is mainly concerned with structural changes, any change in the physical body will inevitably affect the whole person. Rolfing clients often report positive changes in their outlook on life and in their ability to handle emotionally challenging situations. Many people undergoing psychological therapy or counselling regard the Rolfing process as a key part of their process. Many of our emotional patterns are ‘remembered’ in our tissues, and it is little wonder that as the bodily patterns unwind, so there will be a corresponding ‘unwinding’ in the emotional patterns.
Rolfing is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. It makes no attempt at diagnosis and does not prescribe. Its purpose is to bring order to our structure, and in doing so it enhances the functioning of the whole person.
The pioneer of this unique approach was Dr Ida P. Rolf (1896-1979), a brilliant and original American scientist who developed the Rolfing system when she was struggling to deal with the physical problems of her family and friends. She originally called her work Structural Integration, but her early clients (at the famed Esalen Institute, California) often joked that they were going to be ‘Rolfed’ or ‘Rolfed over’, so the word ‘Rolfing’ was invented and this slang has stuck.
Dr Rolf had a passionate belief in the ideals of yoga and believed that a lengthened and aligned body not only promoted physical health, but psychological, emotional and spiritual health as well. Like the followers of yoga, she believed that a body organized around a vertical line was freer to respond to all of life’s challenges, and better organized to resist the relentless force of gravity that so often accelerates our postural collapse. In her own words:
“Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as a constant fatigue; yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment. Those over 40 may call it old age. And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem, so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance. They are all at war with gravity.”
Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.