Rolfing® – Structural Integration
Rolfing® is a holistic comprehensive system of hands-on, connective tissue manipulation and movement education which releases stress patterns in the human organism. The term “Rolfing” is derived from its originator Dr. Ida Rolf Ph.D.
Rolfing results in a feeling of fitness and wholeness. People who have been rolfed stand with more stability and less strain, breathe deeper and more easily, move with more naturalness and grace and develop a wider range of self expression.
The goal of Rolfing, both in its manipulation and movement aspects, is that the client can move and function with greater freedom, and effortlessly maintain a more upright posture.
The physical changes are linked to an improved emotional state, since body an mind are one unit. Changing body related habits are often encouraging to more changes in life on other levels.
A single session is a happening, a series of sessions may be a mystery tour through your body with sudden insights.
Look at the images below. Some are collapsed in the chest, have a round back. With some the pelvis is tilted foreward, legs overstreched. One person is permanentely bent foreward, has a strong curve in the neck.
Abb.3 is the only figure, where front and back of the body is fairly the same length. A person with an integrated structure is fully supported by the ground. The body is in balance around an inner line, tissue and muscles are released. The force of gravity can flow through the system.
Of all the forces affecting the human body, gravity is among the most powerful.
It is permanentely present in each moment of life. Ida Rolf regarded this force as central for a wholistic víew on being well, not only in a physical sense, but also emotional and energetic.
A well known effect of gravity is compression. But gravity is also a source of energy, as modern physics teaches us.
Ida Rolf was interested in the question whether and how one could use this energetic potential of gravity for humans. How one could treat connective tissue in a way , that it would lead to more order in a system, which then would enable an individual to use his/her potential fully – on all levels of being.
If a body is in balance, the whole range of expressing oneself is available, be it physical, mental or energetic. Balance here describes a dynamic state, where all body parts are oriented around a vertical line (of gravity), located central through the human body.
The grafic concept of this line you’ll find in the Rolfing Logo: the little boy on the left shows a different organisation of body blocks than the right one. On the right, the force of gravity runs through the whole body smoothly, so that the person is upright, he doesn’t need to hold himself up.
Body misalignment in gravity can result in chronic strain, lowered vitality and impaired biological and psychological functioning.
Dr Rolf said:
»We want to get a person out of the place where gravity is their enemy. We want to get them into the place where gravity reinforces them and is a friend, a nourishing force.«
The image shows a man with specific problems relevant to the first session. His legs are hyper-extended, the pelvis tilted forward and the stomach is pushed forward. The chest is sunken, the head is attempting to balance the structure by being pushed forward. This causes the range of each breath to be limited.
The images of the man after 7 sessions demonstrate the changes towards an integrated structure. It is clear from the sketch, how the angles in the bigger body blocks have changed after only 7 sessions.
The connective tissue network, or fascial net, unites the body in a set of relationships that are characteristic of a particular individual. Rolfing practitioners work with the human structure through this fascial net in such a way, that the different parts move and fit together in an improved relationship to each other in the gravitational field. Areas of tension, strain of stress in the physiacl body are taken to a state of elasticity ease and flow.