Rolfing® Structural Integration is a unique approach to soft tissue manipulation and movement
education designed to improve posture, alignment, and quality of movement. It achieves its remarkable effects by working with the fascial system. Fascia is the tissue which gives the body its structure and shape. It is somewhat like a three-dimensional spider web in which all the other components of the body (nerve tissue, muscle tissue, liver tissue, etc.) are suspended.

Under strain or injury, this normally elastic tissue tends to become shorter, harder, and denser, effectively limiting relaxed easy movement and pulling us into the type of stooped, tight shouldered, tense-backed, painful posture that plagues so many.

Through a series of sessions, Rolfing systematically releases this tension and holding in order to allow the major
segments of the body to be brought into an easier and more balanced relationship with each other and with the field of gravity. Many techniques are used to achieve the desired result, these can range from firm, direct pressure into the fascia which has become constricted to gentle instructions for movement designed
to help you feel how to lengthen and open that part of the body for yourself.

People come to Rolfing for many reasons: seeking relief from chronic pain and tension, to improve athletic performance, or as a means to personal growth through exploring the connection of mind and body . It is the focus on how the body relates to gravity which is one of the major elements distinguishing Rolfing from other manipulative approaches such as chiropracic, osteopathy, or massage therapy. It is impossible to relax muscles which are actively holding you up against the pull of gravity (otherwise you’d fall on your face!). This constant struggle creates extra strain on the body. Rather than chasing symptoms, Rolfing aims to work with reducing this underlying strain, creating a more balanced, resilient structure, one which is better able to heal itself.

“One individual may experience his losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in the back, another as the unflattering contour of their body, another as constant fatigue, and yet another as an unrelenting threatening environment. Those over forty may call it old age; yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their structures and the structures of others that it has been ignored: they are off balance; they are at war with gravity.”

-Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D

Introduction to Rolfing
video from European Rolfers
Dr. Rolf on YouTube:

Gravity is the Therapist
Ida Rolf in an educational film from the ‘70s (English w/Portuguese subtitiles)

Part 2