You are much more than a collection of parts--legs, arms, head joined helter- skelter. There is a pattern, an order, in human bodies. That pattern, how parts fit and work together as a whole, is a factor in your well-being. RolfingŪ promotes well-being by enhancing your body's pattern of organization; balancing it in gravity; and enabling it to function at successively higher levels with efficiency and ease.
Gravity is among the most powerful forces affecting the human body. Misalignment in gravity results in chronic tension and pain, lowered vitality and impaired body/mind functioning. This misalignment may be due to injuries, tension, trauma or postural habits. As your body reacts to these influences, the fascia (connective tissue) attempts to maintain balance by shortening and thickening to adapt to the new stresses. The result is that your body molds into patterns of posture and movement that are less than efficient.
Dr. Ida P. Rolf created Rolfing over a 50-year period of study and refinement. She developed this system of body restructuring and movement education while working with her own children to improve their body structure and health. Rolfing releases your body's segments from life-long patterns of tension and bracing and allows gravity to do the work of realigning your body. As your body becomes balanced, you expend less of your vital energy in every day tasks. This change toward more efficiency is often experienced as greater alertness and vitality. Many clients speak of an improvement in overall personal function, indicating that their movements are freer and easier. ("I can reach higher.")
To align the body segments, Rolfing systematically organizes the body's soft, connective tissue (fascia) network. This network, know as the myofascial system, supports the skeleton and organs, position the bones, determines the direction of muscle pulls and movement, and gives the body its shape.
Your body holds itself erect with pairs of muscle groups functioning within a network of fascial sheaths. These pairs normally function in an antagonist relationship with one another. That is, when one pair contracts, the other extends to maintain proper balance. If that relationship is impaired through injury or chronic tension in one of the groups, the fascia conforms to the shortening and the rest of your body compensates to maintain balance.
Rolfing frees the shortened fascia, allowing your muscles to return to their natural length and to assist your body in releasing compensatory patterns. As this happens, your body returns to a more vertical alignment.
The basic Rolfing series consists of 10 sessions, 60 to 90 minutes in length. Each session builds upon the results of the previous one. The first seven sessions remove strain from specific areas of the body, such as the lower back, neck, knees, etc. The remaining sessions organize and integrate the body as a whole, resulting in better balance, enhanced freedom of movement, and a higher energy level.
Rolfers sensitively apply pressure where the fascia is restricted. You may be asked to breathe into an area and/or to make synchronized movements. The combination of applied pressure and synchronized response frees and repositions the fascia, which, in turn, realigns the body's segments.
Sensations in the area being worked may range from pleasurable warmth to momentary discomfort. At times there may be very little sensation. You may experience a "hurts-so-good" feeling that is sometimes associated with a deep shoulder/neck massage. Your Rolfer will communicate with you to maintain the applied pressure at an appropriate comfort level.
Many clients choose to schedule regular appointments (every 3 to 6 months) as a preventive maintenance routine. As well, you may lose your alignment as a result of injury, illness, surgery or other circumstances and require additional work to restore your previous balance.
If you wish to explore a deeper level of body/mind integration, you may choose to continue with Rolfing Movement Integration. Either during or after the basic 10 series, you work with a Movement Teacher to evoke awareness of habitual response patterns, to release restrictions and tension and introduce options for moving easily through daily activities. This type of movement education ensures that the structural changes that occurred through Rolfing will be quickly integrated.