What is Structural Integration (“Rolfing”)?

Structural integration (sometimes called “Rolfing”) is a scientifically validated method of restructuring the body through movement and touch. It was founded by Dr. Ida P. Rolf who developed a system of organizing the body, enabling it to let go of holding patterns and habitual stress.

Structural Integration considers gravity , physical structure, and individual habits (such as work-related posture and physical activities) to bring a person into his/her vertical alignment .

Each session is designed to release areas of the body under strain and re-educate the body to stand and move freely and easily. The various goals and teachings of each session are unique to each body.

At the completion of 10 sessions, the body is better balanced in gravity and more at ease with itself and its environment. Chronic pain and discomfort are often alleviated and replaced with a feeling of fluidity and lightness.

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Structural Integration and Connective Tissue

Connective tissue (fascia) holds the shape of our bodies and affects the body’s balance, strength, and flexibility.

The first layer of fascia lies under the surface of the skin. As the fascia gets deeper and changes in density it wraps muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. Fascia’s elasticity, plasticity and resiliency (its ability to hold shape and yet still be pliable) is partly why when it is moved, the shape of your body changes, and the relationship between different parts of your body changes.

The quality and organization of connective tissue changes in accordance to overall lifestyle, physiological responses to stress, physical exercise, inherited patterns of posture and movement, and accidents. When the matrix of fascia is twisted or shortened, it pulls on surrounding structures thereby causing imbalance in the body. This imbalance can be experienced as pain, tightness, or “stress”.

Structural Integration uses pressure to lengthen and direct the connective tissue to a more efficient place along the body’s line of verticality.

Once the body is freed from fascial restriction, it feels light and balanced and can move freely and easily.

About Dr. Ida P. Rolf

Dr. Rolf was a biochemist who studied connective tissue as a medium of energy. Her premise was that if gravity could flow effectively through the body, the body could heal itself. Through her study of chemistry, physics, and Tantric yoga, she developed a theory stating that it was possible to change the structure of the body that would improve the body’s function.

Her continued work with chronically physically challenged people led her to develop a method of creating length in the body so that it could find its balance in gravity.

The legacy of her work continues as practitioners worldwide are devoted to her work in the integration of human structure.

“This is the gospel of Rolfing: When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.”

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