Occasionally you hear someone speak about Rolfing. It's quite possible that you or someone you know has experienced it. What is Rolfing-Structural Integration? It is an inquiry into the optimal functioning of the human being, to be nothing short of the whole truth. It is a system of body re-education and manipulation originally known as structural integration and the product of 50 years of study and practice by creator, Dr. Ida P. Rolf. Originally an organic chemist with the Rockefeller Institute, Dr. Rolf perfected the technique of Rolfing Structural Integration over many years before establishing a training program and a professional organization of around 1300 practitioners worldwide.
What separates Rolfing from other somatic practices is the Rolfers' premise about a person's relationship to themselves and to their environment: (1) most human beings are out of alignment with gravity (2) We function better when we are lined up with the gravitational field (3) The human body is so plastic that its alignment can be brought into harmony at anytime in a person's life. Research has shown that there is a more powerful sense of self, grace, ease, efficiency of movement and often the relief of stress caused by gravity resistant movement patterns.
The body is inherently a continuous matrix of connective tissue called fascia that surrounds, supports, and permeates every muscle, bone, nerve and organ of the body. Rolfing manipulates and re-educates set holding patterns in the tissue and nervous system to release, realign, and balance the whole body, thus resolving discomfort, reducing compensations, and enabling a more authentic expression.
Fascia is the white body stocking under the skin that envelops every part of the body giving you the shape or form of your body. The problem begins when injury, out-of-balance movement and asymmetries are adopted by the body manifesting as inhibition, pain and dysfunction. The body will actually change shape to reflect how it is being used, thus structure and function are two sides of the same coin.
Research on Rolfing has begun to provide qualitative and quantitative data about its results. Dr. Valerie Hunt, Director of the Movement Behavior Laboratory at UCLA and DR. Julian Silverman, Research specialist of the California Department of Mental Hygiene, conducted experiments at Agnews State Hospital where subjects were tested before and after Rolfing for changes in neurological control of the muscles, for variations in results from stimuli and for biochemical changes. The results indicated that after Rolfing there is more efficient use of muscles, conserved energy, increased refinement of response, and a tendency for motor control to shift toward the more reflexive spinal centers.
In other words, Rolfing reveals resource and health that was always available; more potential. other research is ongoing within & without The Rolf Institute. Dr. Rolf's theory of body geometry led to the discovery that when an elbow, knee, or any other joint is properly balanced, the individual experiences an internal sense of rightness. The body senses that when its natural alignment in a single plane is no longer compromised there is a self-organizing order that is inherent in the nervous system and in gravity. So in a new geometry, there is a new orientation in space, which feels much more secure than a body off it's centerline of gravity. Each persons ideal geometry depends on navigating a set of contributing factors like a person's history, injuries, and asymmetries, to formulate a sequence of sessions customized for each client.
Dr. Rolf was famous for offering free clinics for children, whom can receive benefits as well. Sessions are around an hour and twenty minutes, and there are usually at least 10-20 sessions with each as a continuation of the previous one and a platform for the next, with more work at later times if needed. Sessions can cost from $120.00 per session and can be received weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Remember that your body is the most valuable possession ever so maintenance is priceless. The proper nutrition, exercise, and bodywork are extremely important.
Rolfing is considered the premier bodywork offered by somatic therapists. It is not massage therapy and it cannot accurately be described as therapy. It is a process of fe-education in which a Rolfer seeks to help a client discover the most efficient way of using the body and disseminating impressions given the dis-ease, asymmetries, and virtue of that body.
There is a certain order of events and a client intake evaluation that a Rolfer considers in each program of sessions that will be discussed in subsequent articles. We will also discuss Rolf Movement, which has been defined as evoking an open and responsive body given all of the tenants of the Tonic Function model in which change in structure can be affected by change in perception, expression, and coordination. The premise of the Tonic Function model is that all pre-movement is unconscious movement and anyone of the four elements(structure-coordination-expression-impression) can be effected by any one of the others.
Therefore Structural manipulation works on the hardware and Rolf Movement fittingly should be equated to working on the software. The potential for more balanced movement and breath while standing, sitting, or moving is invaluable. So who is Rolfing for? Athletes, yogi's, martial artist, Grandmas, sisters, friends, neighbors, weight lifters, boxers, runners, artist, cyclist, poets, sedentary people and you. Get Rolfed.