Rolfing is named after its founder, Dr. Ida P. Rolf. The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration describes it as “a form of bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissues, called fascia, that permeate the entire body.”
Image courtesy of: Alex Shevtsov
Rolfing’s primary aim is to change your fascia in order to reduce structural restrictions and to better balance and align your body in gravity.
Fascia is the connective tissue holding everything – vessels, bones, organs, nerves, muscles — in place. It can be likened to the slimy tissue connecting the skin to the flesh on a raw piece of chicken, or the white fibrous material beneath an orange rind that covers the fruit’s flesh.
Fascia is malleable, changing its shape to adapt to whatever happens to the body, including trauma, body posture, repeated activities, and the changes created by gravity.
Rolfing works to reset the organization of fascia to its best and most balanced and healthful state, undoing fascial damage from one’s past. Health benefits include:
- Improved posture and structure
- Alleviation of pain
- Reduced chronic stress
- Restored flexibility
- Revitalized energy
- Increased muscular efficiency
Clients take part in a ten-session treatment called “The Rolfing 10-Series” which is “a holistic process that progressively addresses all parts of your body. The goal of these 10 sessions is to balance and align your structure in gravity. In an integrated structure, such as the body, everything is connected. To balance your body, the whole must be addressed.”
Cara McDonald, a yoga practitioner, shared on her website, “I rested on the massage table with a sheet — much like a typical massage — and she (Rolf practitioner) began to work one area at a time. Rolfing, to me, seems similar to massage except that it’s a little more firm and there are no oils. But I didn’t find it painful at all. A couple of times it was that “hurt-so-good” sensation — similar to using therapy balls or even foam rolling when you’re super sore — but overall it felt good to me.”
Check out the video from The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration.