What is Rolfing aka Structural Integration?

Rolfing is a type of bodywork therapy designed to combat structural imbalances in the body for a holistic treatment of aches and pains. It gets its unusual and somewhat unappetizing name from its creator, Dr. Rolf, who invented the system in the 1920s. Though she named this bodywork “structural integration” her followers coined it Rolfing.

The premise behind Rolfing is simple. As we become stressed, we build up tension in various parts of our body. This tightening of muscles requires effort on behalf of other parts of the body in order to counteract the imbalances. Over time, this leads to damaging of the body and long-term discomfort. By treating the body as a whole, rather than in parts (as is common in other forms of massage therapy), we can restore balance to the body.

The process of Rolfing involves a set of sessions – called the Ten Series – each of them being at least an hour long. During these sessions, the “Rolfer” will restore alignment by lengthening the tightened soft tissue that reaches all over the body.

One of the challenges with modern medical practices, the body as a whole is not always taken into consideration during treatments. However, since the body works to maintain itself in a more holistic way, this isolated care can be insufficient. Focusing on only one aspect of a wider problem may lead to the worsening of other areas of the body. The chronic pains associated with the body’s attempt to realign itself will not vanish if only the most obvious problem areas are treated – their counteracting muscles will remain stressed. By contrast, structural integration works with the body as a whole and offers a more promising solution.

In the Ten Series, each session is intended to do something different. Some sessions will focus on loosening and balancing the connective tissue while others will focus on the core – the head and pelvis. Finally, natural coordination of the body is encouraged with a holistic massage.

For people with chronic pain, Rolfing can provide long-lasting and natural relief. Even patients who have previously had to use prescription pain-killers have found that Rolfing reduces or even eliminates the need for medication. This is great news for people who suffer from chronic pain but worry about the negative effects of medication, such as drug-induced liver damage.

So who should consider Rolfing aka structural integration?

The short answer is: everyone.

Athletes have been long-time fans of Rolfing because it helps not only in relieving the pain associated with vigorous physical activity, but because it improves athletic performance by rebalancing and restoring the alignment of the body. Many athletes find that Rolfing helps them to break plateaus in performance by breaking down scar tissue and holding patterns.

For those of us who work in an office rather than a gym, Rolfing can be a great solution for stress-related pains. The pressure of working in an office can lead to insomnia and high levels of stress – both of which cause physical pains. Fortunately, Rolfing provides relief and can even improve your job performance! Just because you don’t work with your body does not mean you should neglect it – office workers can benefit greatly from bodywork therapies, such as the highly-recommended technique of Rolfing.

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About Valerie Springfield

Marketing is my profession. Health and wellness is my passion.