What Is Rolfing?
Rolfing or Structural Integration was developed by Dr Ida Rolf through a half century of study and practice. It is a hands on process of manual manipulation of the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia) using precise, deliberate and penetrating strokes to rehydrate tissue and dissolve adhesions that cause restriction of movement, impede function and cause pain. Rolfing’s aim is to modify the structure of the body and in so doing, improve the capacity to function as it was designed to do – efficiently, easily and without pain
What Is Your Body Really Telling You
IS IT A SHARP PAIN in the low back when you bend over to tie your shoes? Or a persistent neck ache that is aggravated by long periods of sitting? If tension, constriction and pain have become chronic in your life, it is an important signal – a signal that your body is struggling with a structural imbalance. Often years in the making, such imbalances can arise from poor postural habits and accumulated stress. Or they may occur suddenly as the result of a physical injury or traumatic incident in which tissues are stretched beyond their limits. Whatever the cause, treating symptoms rarely brings lasting results. While massage or medication may give you some temporary relief, the tension, inflammation and pain inevitably return.
How Does Rolfing Realign The Body
Rolfing structurally organises and realigns the body’s soft connective tissue network. This strong and flexible tissue network is known as the fascial system. Fascia surrounds every joint, muscle, bone and organ. It supports the skeleton, positions of bone, and gives the body its shape. Through constant strain and movement patterns the fascial system can experience shortening and tightening. The job of the rolfing practitioner is to facilitate lengthening of this shortened fascia allowing the muscles and bones to return to a balanced relationship and for the body to release and realign itself. It does this through a series of sessions designed to systematically approach all the different segments of the body, integrating them back into the whole. Each session of the process is both a continuation of the previous one and an introduction to the next.
Rolfing & Deep Tissue Massage
What Is The Difference
The first form of therapy a person may look for when seeking relief from muscular aches and pains could be deep tissue massage or what I like to call “fix it” work. Here the therapist focuses on the area of pain and discomfort. While this no doubt brings relief to the person, the symptoms of the pain often return within a week or two. The reason for this is that the space that has just been opened up and released needs room to hold that lengthening of the tissue. It cannot hold the gained length if other segments of the body have not also been given the required space to lengthen. There is a limit to how much release you can get in one area if other parts of the body are not in their right place. Imagine the process of making a bed. You can’t get the wrinkle out where the wrinkle is but instead have to go around the bed and make many adjustments of the sheet before you can get the sheet straight!
Techniques that look similar to deep tissue massage are utilised in rolfing, however our approach and intention is very different. Rolfing is beginning the process to bring space to all of the structure, enabling the body contents to relate to one another more freely and easily as it was designed to do. This whole body approach is why rolfing is more effective and longer lasting than other physical therapy treatments.
Do The Changes Last
When we unwind these holding patterns we set new neurological pathways creating new possibilities for the body to hold itself. As the spaces are opened up and the joints realigned the segments of the body are able to re position themselves more appropriately. We start to be able to move around in our daily lives using less energy and gaining ease of motion. This is why through rolfing the changes last longer than other therapies.