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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“Every time I have had a session with Jessica Silver I felt like new person, taller, stronger, younger by 20 years…like a snake coming out from old skin! As a Cirque du Soleil performer with a lot physical demands on my body, Rolfing gives me huge benefits! I strongly recommend anyone to have it..”
Jessica has skilled hands and a keen eye. She works deeply and effectively bringing new life to the tissues of the body.
What I liked best about Jessica was her touch. She engaged with a true eye and a true heart, much like an archer drawing back her bow and releasing to the target. I felt her work was clear, focused, and skillful. I would recommend her work to anyone interested in this important healing art.
An avid tennis player, I am able to stretch more effectively since working with Jessica, which helps me feel more comfortable in my body no matter what activity I’m doing. Her warm manner and knowing hands helped unlock years of stress and I credit her work for helping me be freer and easier in my body.
For years I had chronic back pain that I thought was a result of working at a computer. After the 10 series with Jessica, I learned that pain is not something I have to live with. Her work not only resolved my back pain but lengthened my toes, helping me to feel more comfortable walking and moving in general.
I have tried many types of body work (physio, massage, shiatsu, chiropractic), and I have found Structural Integration to be the most effective. After 10 sessions, the effect had such a profound impact that after four years, I continue to come once a month, every month, as part of my commitment to maintaining the health of my spine. I find Jessica to be deeply committed to her work. The way she works reveals an immense care and concern that has made it easy to develop complete trust and to let g… Read more