On Rolf Structural Integration
Rolfing or Structural integration is a soft tissue approach to re-establishing natural alignment. Dr. Ida Rolf was the innovator of this process and held that when a body is aligned in gravity it works properly. Integration of the body in a gravity field reveals the fluid and natural movement and offers an ease of being.
Rolf Structural Integration boils down the following premise; Bodies are organized around a central vertical axis or the line. Studies in anatomy do not reveal a physical line running down the middle of a body. The line is a meditation or a reference point for movement. A place that you can explore when standing or sitting, and offers a guide to alignment.
For every action there is a re-action. A body at rest in gravity feels weightless, supported by the very thing that pulls it down. It’s something of a paradox, but a puzzle worth solving. From a practitioner standpoint, the goal of making a less complicated body. A front and back, side to side and up and down all working together. This integrated body feels fluid, capable and in a way fearless.
We want to be known. Patterns, emotions, and injury can be held in tissue. Imprinted by trauma or repetition these things tell the story of our lives. Rolf Structural Integration brings together the physical body with this feeling body. Integration not just in space, but within ourselves.
Rolf Structural Integration is myofascial approach meaning your practitioners uses muscle and connective tissue as their medium of change. Fascia is the glue that holds everything together. Going further fascia provides shape, support and reinforcement to muscle bone and movement.
Sometimes clients seek this work when they have pain or discomfort in their body, and occasionally report about the process being painful. Pain may be a misnomer here as it implies causing harm or injury. Pain is never the goal or purpose of this work, and the experience can be a pleasurable one. However, contrasted with a massage where the purpose is to feel good during the experience, a Rolf Structural Integration session can be dramatic. Uncomfortable places may lurk undetected in the body until a mirror is held to them. Clients may repost they had no idea an area would be so sore. Bodies have an extraordinary, system wide compensatory system. Acute pain or discomfort in an area may not be the culprit, just the loudest victim.
The process is classically done in 10 sessions. The first 7 focusing on the structural phase and the final three being integrative sessions. The work itself is a hands on, soft tissue approach and clients can expect to participate in a way that is different from a massage. A practitioner may call for movement or conduct parts of the session seated or standing. Bodies are for living and often times a rolfing session will be moved off the table.
Each person may have a different experience during the sessions but the outcome is often similar. A Rolfed body feels fully inhabited, capable, fluid and comfortable. What the body does the mind will follow (that works both ways), and fluid movement and thinking are hallmarks of Rolf Structural Integration. While the process may be transformative, it is more akin to a re-emergence. Discovering something wonderful thats been there all along.