Rolfing® is the original form of Structural Integration and was devised by Dr Ida Rolf an American biochemist who founded the Rolf Institute for Structural Integration in 1971 (RISI). The Rolf Institute is a member of the International Association for Structural Integration (IASA).
Rolfing® is an holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education based on the connective tissue network of the body. Connective tissue or fascia is the body’s true structural element. It enfolds every cell in the body and is in effect the organ of shape.
Ideally fascia is elastic and fluid but in response to long term strain through childhood imitation, work, sport, injury or ageing fascia warps and distorts and stiffens resulting in postural misalignment and consequent pain and dysfunction.
Rolfing® attempts to realign the body through manual manipulation of the tissue and perceptual education. Rolfing® is not a form of massage - pressure is applied slowly with only minimal sliding and little if any lubrication is used allowed the therapists to ‘hook’”into the tissue. The pressure used can vary from very light to strong depending on the requirements of the tissue.
As well as manipulating the fascial tissue Rolfing® also attempts to change the body’s movement pattern through perceptual education. The fascial network contains 90% of the body’s sensory receptors. Becoming aware of sensation received into the body and giving the body direction in space influences the nervous system to allow tight tissue to let go and lengthen. Simple perceptual exercises encourage improvements in posture to become integrated into the body’s overall movement pattern.
A full Rolfing course involves 10 sessions of 60 to 90 minutes each, however this can vary depending on what the client is after.