Originally developed by Ida P. Rolf, PhD.,Rolfing® is a system of connective tissue manipulation and body education, which is focused on structural alignment and balanced movement. In 1971, Dr. Rolf founded the Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration, creating a tradition of quality instruction and ethical practice that is continued throughout the world.
Fundamentally, Rolfing is based on some simple ideas about human structure:(1) most human beings are significantly out of alignment with gravity; (2) we function better when we are lined up with the gravitational field of the earth; and (3) the human body is so plastic that its alignment can be brought into harmony with gravity at practically any time of life.
What, Exactly, Is Rolfing?
Rolfing is typically taught or applied in a series of ten sessions, known as the Basic 10 series. Each session of the process is both a continuation of the previous one and an introduction to the next. The body is systemically and physically manipulated during this initial series of ten sessions, each of which lasts about 90 minutes and may be scheduled as often as twice a week, others once a month. Rolfing is designed to uncover a structural ease and kinetic balance that is unique to each client. It is a process of education in which a Rolfer seeks to help a client discover the most efficient way of using his or her own body, given the limitations, liabilities and virtues of that body. In effect, the plan of each series of ten sessions is created anew for the needs of the individual person seeking help. However, there are certain guidelines and landmarks which every Rolfer follows in each series of sessions.
Manipulation of the fascia
– Ida Rolf earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1916. During her scientific research, she made a fundamental discovery about the body: the same network of connective tissue which contains and links the muscle system when it`s healthy can be used to reshape it when it`s been pulled out of proper order. Every muscle and organ in the body is enveloped in connective tissue called fascia. This interconnected system creates a vast three-dimensional web, which provides critical support and protection for the entire body.
The fascia is like a sweater in the picture on the left. When the fascia is pulled from one direction, the pull affects the whole structure of the fascia. Therefore, it is important for us to look at and work on the entire body to balance the body.
– The human body is like a house. It`s structured so that each part has its proper place, and each piece interlocks to balance the load of the others. As in the well structured home with every post and beam in place, the well structured body is also balanced securely. Because gravity acts on everything, parts of the body that are not in alignment are like beams unsupported by a post; they are pulled into painfully unnatural positions. What the Rolfer seeks is a return of the construction to its original blueprint specifications. Putting one piece back into place is usually not enough. Every part of the structure needs to be fully integrated before a house can stand or a body can work efficiently. This kind of arrangement, in turn, produces what Dr. Rolf called “The gospel of Rolfing: when the body is working properly, the force of gravity can flow through it. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.”
(Originally created by Jason Mixter, Certified Advanced Rolfer™)
Before and After 10 series
(Before) (After) (Before) (After)
“Courtesy of The Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration”