What is Rolfing?
Rolfing, or structural integration, is a form of bodywork that works specifically with the tendons, ligaments, and fascia, the connective tissue of the body. Using hands-on techniques, a Rolfer manipulates the fascia to release tension and ensure the fascia tissue is properly aligned. Rolfing clients are encouraged to send breath to certain areas of the body, and asked to do movements of the body while on the table, as this enhances the effects of the Rolfing itself.
Rolfing is an effective way to deal with chronic stress and pain. Rolfing can help bring ease and comfort to the body. Athletes, actors, and physically active people also use Rolfing to improve performance, as Rolfing can help the body work more efficiently and take less energy to move in and easeful way.
Rolfing can also help people develop a more positive, loving relationship with their bodies, and can potentially provide emotional and cognitive as well as physical health benefits. Rachel is different in her Rolfing in that she can apply the iRest meditation in the session if the client would like to dive into any thoughts, emotions, or beliefs that might arise from working on the body. Rolfing is thought to be primarily a physical healing technique, the broader goal of the practice is to integrate and help heal the client from the inside out.
“Ida Rolf developed the technique as a whole body approach, with the idea that when the body is balanced in a field of gravity it begins synergistically improving,” says long-time Rolfer Chris Key, PhD. “If your head is too far forward, if you have scoliosis or excessive stress, tension or anxiety, this will manifest in your body, impacting and constraining your endocrine and nervous systems, for example. Rolfing cultivates a more balanced, symmetrical, open body, leading to improved functioning and better health.”
How does Rolfing work?
A Rolfing practitioner uses specific, hands-on manipulations of the fascia tissue to release tension and improve the overall alignment, structure and performance of the body. Ideally clients will receive the 10 series, during which time the Rolfing practitioner works with different areas of the body in sequence. The overall goal is to get the body into alignment and balance, and moving well and comfortably.
The superficial fascia covers the entire body like a leotard. The deep fascia covers and permeates individual muscles. It also covers tendons, ligaments, organs of the body as well as bones. If you viewed only a body’s fascial network, you would see a lace-like image of the individual. A Rolfing practitioner manipulates the fascia to release tension and the places where the fascia is “stuck” to ensure that it “fits” in a way that allows the body to be properly aligned within the field of gravity.
Imagine that the fabric of the leotard is bunched, puckered, or gathered in several places so that it doesn’t fit correctly and the individual is unable to move freely. The Rolfer works to smooth and unbind the leotard/facia so that it fits better. Movement becomes more effortless and less constrained.