What is Rolfing? – the short answer is a form of body therapy born in the US in the late 40’s. The founder of Rolfing Structural Integration, Dr Ida P Rolf, a very curious and intelligent Bio-Chemist from Colombia University, discovered that when the human posture is improved the physiology, co-ordination and psychology of that person also benefits.
Conversely, Dr Rolf found out that “bad”, misaligned posture affects the way we move, digest and breathe, and our mood is affected too. Moreover, throughout the years of her research Dr Rolf discovered that to achieve lasting postural alignment it is best to undertake a course of 10 sessions of Structural Integration, later called the Rolfing 10 series.
As Dr Rolf said:
In Structural Integration, we expect to give a cycle of ten sessions. There is a reason for this. We are not dealing with local problems. We are not dealing with the kind of thing that you can say “Well, I fixed that; that’s all.” We are dealing with an attempt to make a body a sturdier human being, to make it more secure, more adequate within the field of gravity.
Each Rolfing session has its own distinctive theme, anatomical territory and objective. Each session also builds on the result of the previous session and opens the space for the next one. The Rolfer works with the client through touch and verbal feedback to elicit lasting change on the level of the body structure (how we look), coordination (how we move) and perception (how we use our senses).
This is perhaps why Rolfing should be thought of more as an embodied educational process that the person goes through rather than a technique designed to fix localised ailments. The effectiveness of Rolfing lies precisely in its educational, holistic approach to the body. Rolfing technique thus carries an understanding of the human body not as a mechanism, but rather as a interlinked, highly intelligent self-regulating system. This understanding allows Rolfers to focus not on quick fixes but on creating optimal conditions for client’s healing and optimal functioning over the initial 10-session period. Many people choose to continue their Rolfing Journey after the foundation of the Ten Series at their own pace.
How can Rolfing help me?
When people ask “What is Rolfing?” they really mean “What can Rolfing do for me?” Rolfing has many physical and psychological benefits, both for people who feel something is amiss in their body, as well as for improving already good health.
Improve poor posture and resulting pains
If you suffer from chronically bad posture, and your life habits are sedentary, then working with a Rolfer is great in helping you to come back into shape. Each session will slowly but surely release the age-old restrictions around your neck, chest, upper back, pelvis and lumbars and your posture will begin to evolve towards better alignment and gradually pains will ease off. Already after the first session you may discover that your breath feels easier and that your hips are bit more mobile; this will allow you move with more ease and tackle this New Year’s gym challenge with more confidence.
Performance and coordination improvement
If you are a sports person, a performing artist, a runner, a swimmer, or a dancer Rolfing is great for improving your co-ordination and economy of movement. After and even during your 10 Rolfing process you may expect your techniques and results to improve. All of my running & swimming clients reported improvement of their technique, coordination and increased performance results.
Body Confidence, self awareness, stress reduction
The educational approach that Rolfers use is a tool for developing a greater sense of self awareness and embodied well being. This benefit is perhaps the most difficult one to explain. but if you find yourself lacking in body confidence in challenging situations, and your body seems “like a stranger” when you need to be seen in public then Rolfing may be a good direction to take. See the Ginger public speaking training website for more info on Body Confidence.
To learn more about how the Rolfing Bodywork Programme can help you revolutionise, click here to read about the Rolfing 10 Series.
Or read more about how I can help specifically with:
- Chronic back pain relief
- Improving poor posture
- Relieving neck pain and shoulder tension
- Release jaw & face tension