Rolfing Structural Integration


Looking at the very big picture of theory: Rolfing is the art of integrating physical structure with the field of the earth. In practice: Rolfing is help for problems left over from accident, injury, illness, and surgery.

Structural Integration aligns and balances the body by lengthening and repositioning the fascia, also known as connective tissue. The fascia surrounds the muscles, bones, organs, and nerves in the body. The fascia gives muscles their shape and the body its structure.

The response of the fascia to damage and misalignment is called remodeling. The fascia grows around the misalignment. This produces patterns of compensation evident in the fascia as thickened, lumpy, stringy, stuck tissue throughout the whole body. Functionally, misalignment creates inefficiency and imbalance resulting in stiffness, discomfort and loss of energy.

The process of Structural Integration is a cooperative effort between the practitioner and client. The practitioner will apply pressure to the body, working the entire fascial system in a systematic way. The appropriate amount of pressure is determined by the clients needs and feedback. During most sessions, clients help to release the fascia by breathing into the area and with directional movements. When restricted fascia is released and lengthened the body can return to its structurally optimal position. When a body is aligned and balanced it moves with greater ease. It requires less energy to function and moves more efficiently. Good posture is effortless and breathing is easier. The body becomes more flexible, more coordinated and athletic performance improves.

The first series of Structural Integration is performed in ten sessions. Each session has functional goals. What is done to accomplish these goals is different for each person. The ten sessions are administered progressively, each session builds upon the last until complete integration of the body is achieved. The process of Structural Integration includes balancing the body in segments and achieving vertical alignment from balancing the body from front to back, side to side, top to bottom and inside to outside

After the basic ten series is complete a client usually allows a period of time for the body to adapt and fully integrate before scheduling additional work. The waiting period can be anywhere from one month to one year based on the client’s unique experience. After the waiting period the client can return for tune-up sessions or advanced sessions to further the process of integration. In some instances practitioners will work with clients in ongoing sessions to achieve specific goals

Structural Integration is a very personal process. It is important to remember that because no two people are alike, their experience and the benefits will never be exactly the same. As a result of the process people often appear taller and slimmer. Some actually gain anywhere from 1/4” to over 1 inch in height. Feelings of discomfort or pain are often alleviated. Other often experienced benefits are greater flexibility, a feeling of lightness and fluidity, better balance, increased breathing capacity, increased energy and greater self-confidence.

While Structural Integration is primarily concerned with physical changes in the body, it affects the whole person. We are made up of emotions, attitudes, belief systems and behavior patterns as well as the physical being. All are related. Align the physical structure and it will open up the individual’s potential.