Rolfing® Structural Integration

02/12/2019, Rolfing®

Rolfing® Structural Integration is a specialized form of holistic bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissues, or ‘fascia’, to release, realign and balance the body.

Named after its founder, Dr. Ida Rolf, Rolfing® can greatly improve a person’s posture and balance. It can also help release tension, trauma, alleviate chronic pain and restore energy. Certified Rolfers™ are the only professionals who can provide Rolfing® Structural Integration to the public.

Who Would Benefit from Rolfing

Highly trained, Rolfers™ are uniquely equipped to help with a wide range of health complaints: from postural problems related to ageing, injury and lifestyle such as ‘tech neck’, to chronic back pain, sciatica, scoliosis, and plantar fasciitis. Rolfing® can also help with postpartum recovery, trauma release and is popular amongst professional athletes and ballet dancers for helping to alleviate injury, build resilience and enhance performance.

The Creation of Rolfing

In her pioneering work, Dr Rolf recognized the body as more than a collection of separate parts, and instead as an integrated network of tissues; that connective tissue surrounds and supports, and also permeates all muscles, bones, nerves and organs. Fascia even has a role in our nervous system.

Chronic joint pain, muscle soreness, and adverse postural changes can arise when the connective tissue, or body’s internal flexible ‘wiring’, becomes over-extended, compressed or out of place causing tension. Short-term ‘compensatory’ shifts away from the natural body structure can develop into habitual and restrictive movement and postural patterns.

Postural problems often present in chronic respiratory and digestive complaints. Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr observed how his internal cleansing method resulted in improved posture and physical and mental balance in his patients. Mayr Spa guests will be familiar with the ‘ limp’, ‘drummer, ‘runner’, ‘duck’ and ‘sailor’ postures Dr Mayr associated with poor digestion. Equally, working to improve the architecture of the body - realigning and rebalancing the structure - also influences the physiological, and this is how Rolfing® can help. Appropriate breathing helps promote peristalsis, the wave-like muscle contractions that move food along the digestive tract, can improve blood circulation, increase oxygen and nutrient uptake, and reduce stress. Improved hydration helps the body stay more flexible and resilient. Rolfing® is holistic and can also positively enhance self-esteem, increase energy efficiency and output, and expand one’s horizons, both physically and mentally.

“The Rolfers™ were the first ones to focus on fascia rather than having it as a side product of the nervous system, of the circulatory system, of the muscular system. Yes, there has been connective tissue massage, but they used fascia in order to change the visceral organs”, says Dr Robert Schleip, Ph.D (Germany), Certified Advanced Rolfer™, International Rolfing® Instructor, Director of the Fascia Research Project at Ulm University and International Fascial Anatomy Teacher.

Why Rolfing is Different from other Methods of Massage

Dr Rolf believed “the body is most at ease and functions best when its structure is balanced in gravity”. Using fascia as the tool, Rolfing® aims to restore the body to its most efficient form – while working in the field of gravity - to enable full ease and freedom of movement. This is how Rolfing® greatly differs from other forms of bodywork and fascia massage. The exchange between the Rolfer™ and the client is also correspondingly dynamic and integrates aspects of specialized touch, movement, visualization, mindfulness and the exploration of breathing patterns.

Rolfing® treatment takes place over a course of ten sessions – known as The Ten Series. For many clients it can be transformative with many reporting that the therapeutic effect of Rolfing® carries on working long after the course of treatment has ended.


About The European Rolfing® Association 

The European Rolfing® Association (ERA) is the non-profit organizational body for Rolfing® Structural Integration, responsible for the qualification of new practitioners and their continuing education. ERA also provides a central information resource for anyone looking to find a certified Rolfer™ or to train in Rolfing®.

For more information or to find a Certified Rolfer™ near you, visit www.rolfing.org.


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