ROLFING® Structural Integration
Achieving balance and freedom of movement through integration of the body.
What is Rolfing Structural Integration?
Rolfing® Structural Integration (R.S.I.) is a trademarked body mind therapy. Rolfers™ are trained at the Rolf Institute® in Boulder, Colorado. (www.rolf.org)
Structural integration is a form of holistic education for the body–it re-balances and frees the body. It releases stresses, strains and tensions that we hold in our physical structure over the years. It improves flexibility and freedom in the ways we move. The re-balancing and integration of the body’s structure also releases energy that has been bound within it. This freedom leads to a sense of increased physical and emotional vitality, improved health and physical appearance. Many people notice psychological gain, as the emotional history that is stored in their bodies is released.
How does structural integration work?
Structural integration works systematically on the body’s whole network of connective tissue. The work is slow and gentle, using one-and-one-half-hour sessions to reshape the connective tissues or fascia that inform the body about its shape and determine the limits of its movement. As the body learns in each session to move in more natural ways, the work is integrated into one’s daily life. The fascia is a mechanism for restoring
the body’s sensory and motor mapping. The body’s maps of itself are the basis for its motor patterns. Structural integration is a way of selectively shifting patterns of automatic movement.
It is a two way process: the Rolfer uses physical pressure to mobilize restrictions in the connective tissue. The client works with the Rolfer, using breath and movement as tools to facilitate restoration of normalized motor patterns.
Each session builds on the one before. The structural changes of early sessions form the basis of the integrative work of the later sessions. As the client’s awareness of his or her body is enhanced the work becomes more understandable and efficient.
What does a session of RSI feel like? Warmth, pressure, a lengthening or stretching of tissue… the work evokes a wide spectrum of sensations. Some parts of the RSI process may feel intense, the feeling of pains being released from the body. The client is in charge of how intense the session becomes. A session is a gift to yourself, something to look forward to.
People benefiting from RSI include those who:
• Wish to reduce stress and tension
• Work in physically demanding jobs.
• Suffer chronic pain.
• Desire improved posture.
• Work long hours at desks or computer terminals.
• Wish to improve performance and reduce risk of injury in athletics, dance, etc.
• Seek to integrate physical and psychological well being
The effectiveness of Rolfing Structural Integration has been substantiated through several
published studies. A controlled study at UCLA Department of Kinesiology, conducted by
Drs. Valerie Hunt and Wayne Massey documents that Rolfing structural integration achieves its goal: “to create and maintain a more balanced energy system which conserves energy rather than expends it.” The researchers found that among clients who had received the work compared to a matched sample that had not , movements were smoother and less constrained; there were fewer extraneous movements; body movements were more dynamic and energetic, carriage was more erect with less straining to maintain a balanced stance.
Articles also have been published in the Journal of Physical Therapy and Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, summarizing the effects of Rolfing Structural Integration on the autonomic nervous system and the angle of pelvic inclination.
Some of the benefits of Rolfing Structural Integration:
Ease of Movement
Release of outgrown physical and emotional patterns
Reduced pain and tension
Confidence and improved capacity to meet social and physical challenges