Introduction to Rolfing
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What is Rolfing/ Structural Integration?
Rolfing, also known as Structural Integration, is a process of tissue, joint and bone manipulation, as well as movement education, aimed at improving the structure and physical functioning of the individual as a whole. Through addressing muscle and connective tissue we can allow the innate expression of compromised muscle groups and the efficient functioning of the nervous system. When going through a Rolfing series, we build support for changes we plan to make in the future, always considering the body as a whole organism, and each session as a part of a larger process. We begin by “ungluing” muscles at have become stuck together, decompressing joints that have become compressed, and asking for movement in planes of motion that have been previously restricted. In this way we help not only to remove obstructions to graceful movement, we increase body awareness.
After spending the necessary amount of time differentiating structures that need some degree of independence from one another, we then focus on getting muscle groups to work together and cooperate over larger areas of the body. This is the “integration” aspect of Structural Integration. By giving the individual the proper input they require, while continually building support for changes to be made next, the body is able to adapt and adjust accordingly, to face daily challenges in the best way possible. Generally people will have achieved an even higher degree of functioning and organization a year after they have finished a Rolfing series than the day after they have finished it. The body can repair and adjust itself, all it usually needs is a little help getting back on track.
A Rolfing series is ideally done in about 10 sessions and after that the basic process is done, no need to keep coming in fequently, the effects should be long lasting with occasional visits to address minor issues. The first three sessions, known as “sleeve” sessions target freeing up the larger more exterior muscles of action. Even exploring this first cycle can be quite beneficial and helpful in restoring a general feeling of balance, but the effects of finishing an entire 10 series will be more sophisticated and long lasting. The first Rolfing session, aimed at freeing up the breath, can be a very good stand alone session in addressing the shoulders, hips and the torso in general, something nearly everyone should benefit from. Rolfing is not a “style”, a “service”, or a “modality” it is a process of transformation, not into what one would like to be, but into a fuller expression of what one innately is or what one could potentially be.