About Rolfing®:

What Is Rolfing?

Fifty years ago, Rolfing was called Structural Integration by its founder and creator, Dr. Ida P. Rolf. But Rolfing is the nickname that many clients spontaneously gave this pioneering system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education, and it is the name that stuck.

Rolfing is clearly one of the twentieth century's most influential and most often imitated forms of soft tissue manipulation. As a direct result of its unprecedented and unequaled ability to dramatically alter posture and structure, Rolfing can create greater ease of movement and enhance the overall functioning of the whole body.

If you can imagine how it feels to live a fluid, light, balanced body, free of pain, stiffness and chronic stress, at ease with itself and the gravitational field, then you will understand the purpose of Rolfing.

NBA super-stars, dancers, students of yoga and meditation, musicians, business people, people from all walks of life and of all ages have sought the benefits of Rolfing. Not only do people seek Rolfing as a way to ease pain and chronic stress, but also as a way to improve performance in their professions and daily activities.

Rolfing achieves its remarkable results by manipulating the myofascial system. The myofascial system is composed of muscle tissue and a form of connective tissue called fascia. Fascia surrounds and penetrates the muscles and all other structures of the body. If you have ever seen a cut a piece of meat, you have seen fascia. It is the white, filmy substance that binds everything together in the body. If you could remove everything else completely from the body and just leave the fascia in tact, you would behold a perfect three-dimensional blueprint of the entire body.

Our bodies must deal with gravity like other material structures. When we are out of alignment, gravity drags us down, just as it drags down a building that has lost its architectural integrity. Whether from poor posture, injury, illness or emotional distress, a misaligned body is at war with gravity. We experience this war as pain, stress, and depleted energy. When the body loses its architectural integrity, fascia shortens and thickens in characteristic patterns of strain and tightness in order to shore us up against gravity's ever present influence.

Once a standard series of Rolfing is completed (usually 8 to 12 sessions) and the inappropriate movement patterns are corrected, the body remains changed for the better: effortlessly upright, aligned, and at ease with itself and gravity.

Like many other approaches, Rolfing can ease the body from its restrictions and pains as well as release the joints and spine when they "go out." Unlike other systems of manipulation, Rolfing is unprecedented in its ability to handle the many symptoms of somatic dysfunction by effectively organizing the whole body in gravity. Although Rolfing has profoundly influenced a great number of therapies, it is not a form of massage, bodywork, deep tissue, myofascial or osseous release therapy. Rather, Rolfing is a form of holistic/integrative somatic education and manipulation that deals not just with the symptoms of distress, but with the whole person in relation to gravity.

Clearly, the many systems of bodywork and therapy that have borrowed heavily from Rolfing provide benefit to their patients. But the great majority of these schools do not understand how to work with the whole body. They tend to use Rolfing techniques to release various parts of the body, symptom by symptom, without understanding the specificity and whole body effect for which the techniques were intended. Symptomatically releasing local areas of dysfunction does not create integration. From the Rolfing perspective, if the whole body is not properly prepared to receive the effects of local manipulations, either the change will not be maintained or strain will show up in other areas.

Over the years Rolfing has evolved into a sophisticated and precise integrated system of myofascial manipulation and movement education. Through the work of the International Rolf Institute (link to www.rolf.org) and its gifted teachers, Rolfing continues to be the leader, pioneer, and source of the most advanced forms of myofascial manipulation and body integration available anywhere. Bodyworkers, therapists, and myofascial release practitioners from around the world still look to Rolfing for inspiration and guidance in improving their techniques.

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