more about Rolfing® Structural integration
What is Rolfing® structural integration?
Rolfing® structural integration is a system of manual therapeutic bodywork that offers a unique invitation to a better relationship with gravity. Through the strategic and sensitive use of touch and movement, fascia (the connective tissue surrounding and supporting every muscle, organ and joint in the body) is freed from the chronic tension and holding patterns which keep bodies out of balance. Alignment improves, engendering a sense of ease, reducing pain, lessening wear and tear on joints, and leaving you feeling freer, lighter, and more aware of your body.
Rolfing® SI frees up energy used fighting gravity for whatever you want your life to be about!
If your body could take a new direction, what would you want that direction to be?
How might the structural transformation you imagine affect your life?
Your ability to keep moving in the direction you want after the Rolfing® SI is enhanced through increased body awareness and resources provided during the sessions.
Why is it called "Rolfing?"
Rolfing structural integration was developed by Dr. Ida Rolf in the middle of the 20th century. According to the Rolf Institute in Boulder, "the true genius of her method is the art and science of reshaping and reorganizing human structure according to clearly defined principles in a systematic and consistent manner." Rolfing achieves this through the manipulation of fascia, the flexible connective tissue that permeates the human body as a single connected web surrounding every muscle, organ and joint in the body.
What does it feel like?
Rolfers use a broad range of touch to solicit the changes in the fascia which lead to better alignment within the gravitational field. Ideally the Rolfer works in close collaboration with the client to ensure that the amount of pressure used is experienced by the client as a welcome invitation to change.
Does it only affect my body?
"Rolfing SI is a holistic technique in that changes in structure can impact the whole person, physically, emotionally, and energetically." (courtesy of the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado) Rolfing often results in a wonderful feeling of openness and freedom as old habits and unproductive patterns (structural and otherwise) are transformed. With this new freedom may come the expression of new ideas, new movements and increased potential.
Rolfing® Structural Integration and Gravity
An unbalanced body represents a stressful relationship to gravity. If because of illness, injury, emotional trauma, occupational stress or improper workout techniques your body adopts an unbalanced posture, the fascia adjusts to contain and hold those patterns, stiffening into position. Although some of these adjustments may have originally served a useful purpose, if they are increasing your struggle with gravity then they are also decreasing the energy you have available for other pursuits.
Gravity cannot be defeated or avoided, but we can change our relationship to gravity. Your structure can become realigned to exist more effectively within the gravitational field. The goal of Rolfing, through the sensitive manipulation of the fascia, is to bring the body closer to its center line of gravity so that less effort is required for living erect, less energy used for basic standing, sitting and other movements. When your body is better aligned with gravity, you have more energy available for whatever you want your life to be about.
Rolfing® Structural Integration Basic Series Overview
What is the Basic Series?
The hallmark of Rolfing SI is a tactical series of bodywork sessions, originally designed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf, "the goal of which is to systematically balance and optimize both the structure (shape) and function (movement) of the entire body.... Each session focuses on freeing restrictions or holdings trapped in a particular region of the body" (courtesy of the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado). This specific work happens while simultaneously addressing the client's whole structure and person, in order to ensure an integrated and harmonious transformation.
What will I get out of the basic series?
People generally come to Rolfing SI because there is something going on in their body that they want to change. They are hoping for a shift toward greater health, freedom, relaxation, and relief from discomfort. The basic series of Rolfing structural integration is profound in that, although it won't solve everything or erase every issue, it will create a significant shift in direction. Beyond the relief that is typically obtained, momentum in the direction of the desired change is supported by the structural changes, improved relationship with gravity, and increased body awareness. I weave movement and resource education into the sessions, along with perceptual explorations relating your body to its environment, to further empower you to continue the process of positive transformation after the series is complete.
Why the "10-Series"?
Although the basic series designed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf is often referred to as the "Ten-Series," (i.e., ten sessions, each emphasizing a different area and level of integration of the body), I have found over the years that better results are achieved when the series is adapted to the individual structural needs of each client. Although I adapt to and optimize however many sessions a client chooses to undergo, in my experience 10 to 15 sessions are required, depending on the context and history of the individual client, to optimally achieve the series' structural and functional goals.
How do the series' goals apply to me?
Contact me if you would like to learn more specifically about what these structural and functional goals are, how the series approaches them, and how they would apply to your particular body's issues and experience.
What happens after it's over? Will the changes last?
The Rolfing structural integration series will continue to produce changes after its completion. Many people choose to return for more Rolfing SI, typically in the form of 1 to 5 sessions anywhere from 6 months to several years after the original series. Depending on the context, this post-series advanced work may be approached as maintenance, or its objective may be to further the transformational process begun with the basic series.
Potential Benefits of Rolfing® Structural Integration
Reduced Pain and Stiffness
Improved Breath Capacity
Greater Ease/Grace in Movement
Greater Body Awareness
A Body that Feels More Open
Improved Athletic Performance
Improved Nerve Function
Improved Emotional Health
Sense of Feeling Younger
Improved Postural Alignment
Increased Flexibility/Range of Motion
Less Wear and Tear on Joints
A More Comfortable Body
Is the Rolfing® S. I. Working?
Rolfing structural integration is a process that continues to produce changes after the actual session or series is completed. How do you know if the Rolfing SI has worked or is still working? Look for any or all of the following indicators:
Comfortableness & Posture
Are you experiencing your body as more comfortable to live in?
Does better alignment feel more natural and easy to access?
Are you able to relax and center yourself more easily under difficult circumstances?
Pain & Symptoms
Are any structural symptoms or conditions you brought into the process less severe or less frequent?
Do you experience quicker recovery from any recurring symptoms or conditions?
Do any chronic symptoms or conditions seem less critical or dangerous?
Do you feel more in control of chronic symptoms or conditions?
Do you find yourself less dependent on medications?
Body Image & Awareness
Are you worrying less about your body?
Do you feel positive changes in your body?
Do you visually observe yourself being straighter?
Do you find your appreciation of your body has increased?
Are you able to experience your body as a source of comfort?
Energy & Attitude
Do you feel stronger?
Do you feel more efficient or have more energy?
Do you find yourself making healthier choices for yourself over time?
Have you noticed your attitude toward life in general becoming more optimistic?
Do you feel as though a mental, emotional or physical weight has been removed from you?
Have you noticed a fuller experience of movement?
Does movement feel more fluid and connected throughout your body?
Is movement more easily available to you?
Have you noticed yourself making a number of positive new relationships?
Do you find it easier to change habitual unhealthy thoughts or actions?
Do you feel more in control of your life?
If you feel that changes such as these have tapered off or ceased, or if you would like to continue to expand upon these changes, contact me to discuss whether it would be appropriate for you to schedule further sessions as part of a strategy for optimizing your continued positive transformation.
Does Rolfing® Structural Integration Last?
Often people invest in a Rolfing SI series because they sense that their body is evolving in a direction they don't like. The Rolfing SI process helps them to turn the corner and begin heading in a new, more comfortable and functional direction.
A key emphasis in my work with clients is empowering them to confidently continue in the new direction which the Rolfing SI has opened up for their bodies. Some of this is inherent in the increased body awareness which often accompanies Rolfing SI, leading to insight and motivation about options that will contribute to continued long-term change in a positive direction. In addition, I invite my clients to re-examine their lifestyles. The effects of the Rolfing SI can be life-changing; the degree to which you keep or expand on them is in large part up to you.
Following are some general ideas which will help you to get the most out of your Rolfing SI experience, both during and afterwards.
General Health & Nutrition
Healthy connective tissue responds better to Rolfing SI and has greater adaptability for responding appropriately to what life presents. A good diet, adequate exercise and rest, and attention to your general state of health will all contribute to the health of your tissues and your body's ability to optimally use the Rolfing SI experience.
Physical and Movement Practices
The Rolfing SI series should have increased your body's potential for movement expression and exploration. This new-found space, openness and flow can be maintained and enhanced through a number of physical practices, including aerobic and breathing exercises, stretching, core strengthening, and dance or other pleasurable or creative movement activities. Ask me for suggestions regarding what would be particularly appropriate for you!
A Conscious Relationship with Your Environment
How you relate to your environment will make a huge difference in your ability to keep moving in the new direction. Take a fresh look at how you work, play, drive, use the computer, connect to the ground, sleep. Is it time for some better shoes, a new work chair, or a different pillow? Listen to what your body is telling you, and take some measures (perhaps literally!) to be sure you're treating your body right.
Healthy, rewarding relationships help to reduce stress and to create an environment where we are freer to explore, to open up physically and emotionally, and to become who we want to be. Are you deeply satisfied with your current relationships, or is this an area where additional support could enhance your experience of life?
A Positive Work Environment
Does your work enhance or detract from what you feel you gained from the basic series? How could your work life be altered so that it taps into and contributes to the transformation that you have experienced or would like to experience?
Enjoyable Leisure Time
What do you do for fun? Do you make enough time for simple pleasures? Do you have hobbies which solicit your creative impulses, which connect you with others or with nature, or which are deeply relaxing or energizing? Each of us must find our own unique way to recharge and refresh our body-beings in a way that fulfills us on many levels.
Perceptual and Psychological Exploration
Patterns of physical tension may be related to past experiences of stress or trauma, or to anxiety about current or future circumstances or events. There are many ways to give yourself new options in how you perceive, move through, and experience psychological challenges in your body. These include psychological discovery as well as movement and pattern explorations. You can use the momentum from the series to continue to open up new vistas, not just for your structure but for the whole you!
A Balanced Life
Your Rolfing SI experience has left your body more balanced. Take the time to invite greater balance into the rest of your life as well. What is your plan for enhancing the transformation you've experienced? Feel free to contact me for questions or specific resources relating to all of these suggestions.
Future Rolfing SI and Other Options
More Rolfing SI can also be useful in maintaining or moving forward in the positive direction begun with the basic series, whether through tune-ups, or as part of a strategy for instigating further transformation through an advanced series. I also collaborate with clients to invite creative change through other modalities, including movement and perception explorations, and psychological work, including trauma transformation and personal growth counseling.