Rolfing For Body Care
What is Rolfing Structural Integration?
Named for its founder, Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing Structural Integration is an effective way to relieve pain from chronic holding patterns and poor posture.
In the 1950’s, Dr. Ida P. Rolf discovered that she could profoundly affect posture and body structure by manipulating the myofascial system. By aligning the body with the forces of gravity, she could reduce pain and improve how you move and how you feel in your body. Dr. Rolf called her technique Structural Integration.
Fascia, or connective tissue, weaves an intricate web around and throughout the body. It supports, encloses, connects and relates one body part to another. Fascia that is contracted or “stuck”, say in your ankle, can be related to the pain you are experiencing in your neck via trains of connected fascia.
In 1971, Dr. Rolf established the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (RISI) in Boulder, Colorado. Today, Rolfers are trained around the world, with offices in Japan, Brazil, Germany, Canada and Australia. Offshoots of Structural Integration have also been developed by students of Dr. Rolf.
The Benefits of Rolfing? Ask Dr. Oz!
Rolfing was featured on television on the Oprah Winfrey show. A certified Rolfer performed Structural Integration techniques on Dr. Oz to demonstrate the health benefits of this therapy. Dr. Oz’s recommendation? People suffering from chronic muscle pain can benefit from this therapy. Rolfing frees up muscles and joints. It allows your body to stand taller and function as it should.
Research shows that Structural Integration relieves pain and discomfort, reduces chronic stress levels and improve lordosis (sway back). It improves neurological functioning, increase flexibility and creates more economical movement with less effort.
Our sedentary life style and the force of gravity take a toll on our posture and bearing over time. We sit too long in one position. We perform repetitive motions that cause stress and pain. Sometimes we just do things that cause structural alignment problems like opening the garage door with one hand.
This is where Rolfing can help. Rolfing realigns and rebalances your body. It releases painful holding patterns and restores normal posture.
Does This Sound Like You?
People of all ages and walks of life benefit from Structural Integration. Here are some examples. Do any of these people sound like you?
- People who perform repetitive tasks that cause pain like texting or using a mouse, gardening and factory work. Dental hygienists, chiropractors, construction workers and many other professions fit in this category.
- People who sit in the same position for hours causing neck, shoulder and back pain as well as headaches. Office workers, truck drivers.
- Middle aged and better people who find their posture and structure has changed significantly over the years and who want to regain a more functional and youthful bearing.
- Dancers and athletes who want enhanced performance and flexibility
Rolfing is Different From Massage
How is Structural Integration different from Massage Therapy? First of all, Rolfers focus on the fascia meridians (connective tissue) rather than isolated muscles or joints.
Rolfers systematically rebalance and realign body structure over a series of sessions. The end result often makes you feel more comfortable in your body. Aches and pain resolve when your posture is aligned to function with gravity instead of working against it. Since Rolfing treats the cause, not just the symptoms, longer lasting relief is often possible.
Instead of undressing, you are usually Rolfed in your underwear or shorts. Rolfers need to see what is going on with your body structure. Normally, they don’t use oil because it is too slippery on your skin for this work. Also, you may be asked to get up and move around and actively participate in your treatment.
What is a Rolfing Session Like?
Structural Integration is usually done in a series of ten sessions, each lasting 70-90 minutes. Each session has a purpose and the sessions build on one another. Although people often think of Structural Integration as being deep tissue work, it actually works all levels of fascia from the more superficial to the deeper fascia.
Good Rolfing should not be overly painful or intrusive. Skillful practitioners are able to work within your tolerance. Structural Integration used to have a reputation for being painful, but I think that is more true of earlier practitioners.
Discuss this with your practitioner to make sure you are comfortable with their approach before committing to a 10-Series. Some practitioners offer a free consult for just that reason.
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Have you received Rolfing? I’d love it if you would leave me a comment below or come over to my Facebook page and share your experience!