Are you interested in experiencing the process of Rolfing Structural Integration but need more information? To discover more, please click below for the answers to frequently asked questions, or call us and we will be happy to chat to you.
Who should consider Rolfing Structural Integration?
According to Dr. Rolf, all bodies have some degree of disorder and compensation in their structure; therefore she believed that everyone – children and adults – should receive Rolfing Structural Integration. In fact, in her global vision, she imagined a more evolved and structurally efficient human species as a result of Rolfing SI. However, we realize that most potential clients need more compelling reasons to undergo this powerful transformative sequence of sessions.
People with a history of injury or trauma who notice that the effects of their often minor injuries are beginning to interfere with their everyday lives should consider Rolfing SI. In many cases, these individuals have tried traditional medical treatments or exercise to reduce or counteract the long-term effects of old injuries with varying degrees of success.
This group might include former and current athletes, musicians, performers or those engaged in physically demanding jobs, as well as those who choose not to accept the notion that the quality of their lives must suffer simply because they are aging. In fact, adults of any age who suffer from any limiting physical discomfort can absolutely benefit from Rolfing SI, as long as there are no signs of a nervous disorder or a deeper pathology. For most people, Rolfing SI, combined with appropriate movement therapy, such as Rolf Movement® Integration offers a long-lasting solution for connective tissue problems.
Even if someone has not experienced injury and/or trauma, Rolfing SI may offer benefits to enhance overall body conditioning and functionality. Whether you are athletic, perform tasks with repetitive-motion in daily activities, or are just looking to feel more “at home” in your body, Rolfing sessions can be extremely impactful. People have reported restored flexibility, increased balance, revitalized energy levels and feeling more comfortable in their body.
Rolfing SI is also helpful for those who find that their physical limitations prevent them from attaining a higher level of spiritual or emotional well-being. Frequently, many on this path assume that the body is something to be transcended rather than something to be honored and loved. For these individuals, Rolfing SI can serve as an educational resource that allows them a more intimate and comfortable relationship with their physical body. This allows for greater ability to experience heightened awareness. Interestingly enough, as the body transforms physically, it often transforms on other planes as well. This means that while Rolfing SI’s primary focus is the connective tissue system, it frequently has an even more dramatic effect in seemingly unrelated areas, creating greater wholeness cognitively, emotionally and spiritual.
Exactly how this happens is still a matter of much debate and speculation. However, the results of the work were of much greater importance than the how or why for Dr. Rolf. The genius of Rolfing SI is that it can affect so many people in so many positive ways and continue to reveal new possibilities for each individual.
How many sessions of Rolfing® Structural Integration do I need?
Does Rolfing SI hurt?
Several factors determine the level of comfort or discomfort a person may experience during a Rolfing session. One is the degree of trauma in the system; another is how long fascial distortions have been in the client’s body. Long-term distortions can create more widespread and more tenacious compensatory patterns, which may require more sustained pressure to release.
Another factor is the degree of emotional charge associated with an area of injury or strain. Dr. Rolf believed that during the therapeutic process, emotional pain is often experienced when deeply held emotional traumas and memories are brought to the surface and processed. Similarly, she reasoned, deep touch can result in a transitory experience of pain that is ultimately healing and transformative. However, there is actually a fair amount of variation in the level of intensity. Practitioners vary in the amount of pressure they feel is appropriate to affect the necessary level of change. It is recommended that the potential Rolfing client speak to several Rolfers about the issue, and in some cases to experience the work of various practitioners, in order to evaluate both the level of intensity and the quality of the results.
A general guideline for the vast majority of Rolfing clients is that the intensity experienced is transitory, moving quickly from brief intensity to a decrease in sensation and finally to an easing of long-standing holdings which can prove both profound and transformative. To paraphrase Peter Schwind, a Certified Advanced Rolfer from Munich, Germany, “The art of Rolfing [SI] is to master a wide range of styles of touch and know when a lighter [or] more intense touch is required.”
Continuous communication with the client and pacing the level of intensity are essential. This will profoundly affect the client’s reaction to transitory discomfort when seriously restricted tissue is softened, differentiated and reintegrated.
What is the difference between massage and Rolfing SI?
Ray McCall, a Certified Advanced Rolfer in Boulder, once said that what Rolfers do can be summed up in three words: palpation, discrimination and integration. We palpate, or touch the tissue, and feel for imbalances in tissue texture, quality and temperature to determine where we need to work. We discriminate, or separate fascial layers that adhere and muscles that have been pulled out of position by strain or injury. Finally, we integrate the body, relating its segments in an improved relationship, bringing physical balance in the gravitational field.
Other soft-tissue manipulation methods, including massage, are quite good at the first two, but do not balance the body in gravity. As Dr. Rolf used to say, “It is easy to take a body apart, but it takes skill and understanding to put it back together.” 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 for lon- term results.
In addition to our skill as structural integrators, we are also educators, a point Dr. Rolf stressed frequently in her training classes. The teaching role is something every Rolfer takes seriously. In each session, Rolfers seek to impart insights to clients to increase their awareness and understanding, and help make the work we do their own. Our job is to make ourselves obsolete, by empowering our clients to take charge of their own physical and emotional health. Influencing the structural evolution of people on a global level was Dr. Rolf’s fondest dream.
How does Rolfing SI work?
These wonderful transformations are possible because Rolfing SI addresses the body’s internal system of flexible support, otherwise known as fascia. These connective tissues surround ever muscle fiber, encase all joints and even have a role in the nervous system. It is helpful to think of the fascial system as an intricate internal guide wire network for the body. If one set of support wires becomes tight or out of place, the excess tension may appear as nagging joint pain, muscle soreness, or a postural shift.
To correct internal misalignments, a Rolfer uses mild, direct pressure to melt or release fascial holdings and allow the body to find health through the re-establishment of balance. It is currently believed that the slow, deep strokes of Rolfing SI stimulate intra-fascial mechanoreceptors (sensory neurons of the muscle nerve), which in turn trigger the nervous system to reduce the tension of the related muscles and fascia.
Put another way, Rolfing SI allows the brain and nervous system to “re-boot” areas of the body that are receiving too much electrical stimulation (experienced as chronically tight or sore muscles). Once a healthy level of muscle contraction is established, the person’s entire structure is free to express a pain-free form.
What is the Rolfing Ten Series?
See The Ten Series for a detailed explanation of each of the sessions.
Is Rolfing SI suitable for infants and children?
Also, when children are injured from falls or minor accidents, they may seem to be fine on the outside once the cut or bruise has healed. However, as Dr. Rolf pointed out, they are not really the same as before the injury occurred. Minor changes have taken place in the connective tissue, in their joints and in the muscles that were injured. Small tears or pulls cause the tissue to thicken. Soon, muscles begin to adhere to each other and are less able to function as discrete entities. These changes may express themselves as a slight limp, lower energy, a decrease in range of motion or a decrease in range of motion or strength.
Early intervention by a Rolfer aware of the unique needs of infants and children can make a profound difference in a child’s awareness, comfort level and self-esteem. The importance of receiving loving supportive touch in and of itself is of immeasurable value to a developing child. Rolfing SI, however, can accomplish so much more, creating palpable change in the child’s connective tissue matrix. We have also found that adolescents who receive Rolfing SI during and after puberty, a time of great insecurity and emotional turmoil for most of us, frequently experience, in addition to the obvious structural benefits, a profound effect on their awareness and level of comfort in their rapidly changing body and mind.
Does Rolfing SI relieve stress?
They may also seek a myofascial (neuromuscular) solution and start receiving regular massages or some other similar soft tissue therapy. In many cases, these therapies are good at providing transitory relief of the physical causes of chronic stress. However, those seeking a more permanent solution to the problem are more likely to have success with Rolfing Structural Integration.
Rolfing SI creates a higher level of integration in the body, balancing and educating the physique and psyche. A common progression for clients during the Rolfing SI process is that as the body approaches balance, it becomes more comfortable in the gravitational field. This then encourages, physical and emotional stress to diminish.
What about the emotional and psychological effects of Rolfing SI?
For most Rolfers, emotional catharsis is not the main intention of the work. Rather, the person is approached with reverence and compassion. When emotionally charged areas of the body have been identified by the client, or intuited by the practitioner, they are normally accessed slowly and with constant communication between the Rolfer and the client.
On occassion repressed memories or experiences may arise for which the client and the Rolfer may not have any advanced warning. In this situation, the goal of the Rolfer is to provide a safe container for their release, taking the requisite time to integrate the experience into the physical and emotional body. This is done in a way that promotes maximum resolution and minimal trauma to the system.
It’s important to note that while Rolfers are trained to ease a client through such an experience they are not trained as therapists. The nature and quality of accessing and resolution of emotionally charged material may be the most profound portion of a client’s Rolfing experience. However, the client should not enter the Rolfing process with anticipation of such a major release. Instead, keep in mind but should remember that the Rolfer’s area of expertise is integrating and balancing connective tissue.
What is functional integration?
Since Dr. Rolf’s death in 1979, many others have elevated this less familiar style of Rolfing SI to a level of high art with tremendous transformative value. Currently, approximately 25% of all Rolfers have been certified in Rolf Movement Integration and employ their training as a way of enriching their work. The purpose of Rolf Movement Integration is to work with clients to help identify movement patterns that promote strain and asymmetry in their system. Once patterns are identified, the Rolf Movement practitioner does not seek to change those patterns, which have served the client well, but rather to offer more economical solutions which promote greater balance and efficiency in the gravitational field.
Typically, Rolf Movement Integration exercises are folded into structural sessions. Rolf Movement Integration can, however, also be taught as a sequence of sessions devoted to specific structural and movement themes. In a classic movement series, the first session is devoted to exploring breathing patterns and using the breath to promote ease and release holdings in the ribs, lungs and respiratory diaphragm. Subsequent sessions address movement patterns in the foot, ankle and knee joints, the hip joint, the arms and head and neck. These sessions are normally repeated to access deeper holding patterns and achieve higher levels of order just as structural Rolfers return to the extremities and upper and lower girdles (the shoulder and pelvis) in the latter sessions to more fully integrate structure and function. Rolf Movement Integration can be explored by clients who have completed a structural series and can serve equally well as an autonomous tool for achieving higher levels of self-awareness and coherence.
Is Rolfing SI helpful for Surfers?
Many surfers, especially avid ones, have noticeable imbalances in their feet, knees, and standing posture from maintaining either a goofy or regular stance. This limits mobility in the hips, which is crucial for the sport. This imbalance, if not addressed, can potentially translate into that person’s daily life and contribute to seemingly unrelated aches and pains.
Releasing tightness and restriction in the hips is a key part of the Rolfing 10 Series, in which every muscle and bone is addressed. Many conditions and challenges, such as frozen shoulder, feet problems, and knee, neck, back and hip pain, all commonly subside with this work.
Pro Surfer Nathan Hedge (aka Hog) says, “I found that after a series of Rolfing sessions my body felt more in tune energy-wise and more aligned, which is paramount for good surfing technique. The more you can position your hips to be aligned with your shoulders centered over your surfboard, then ultimately your maneuvers will be bigger, more explosive and will throw more spray.”
Is Rolfing SI helpful for equine athletes and other animals?
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