"It's not how deep you go. It's how you go deep."
- Ida P. Rolf, Ph. D.
What's Rolfing: Structural Integration?
Rolfing is a form of bodywork which utilizes a variety of hands-on and perceptual interventions directed towards improving an individual's posture and relationship to gravity. In involves a systematically direct and indirect application of pressure to fascia surrounding muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments as well as movement education intended to help someone further break out of patterns of restriction in his or her daily activities. Due to its holistic approach Rolf sessions cover a lot of territory in order to get to the issues in the tissues and many sessions are organized into a series of ten separate sessions, commonly referred to as "The Ten Series" or "Ida's Recipe". This approach helps reorganize, realign, and reintegrate the body so that it will be able to move with minimal pain and optimal efficiency.
What should I wear?
Most of the work is done with you laying down on the table or sitting upright. In Rolfing, females typically wear a sports bra and form-fitting shorts. Male clients normally wear form fitting shorts. Clients may also be fully clothed in material that's easy for movement.
What's a session/series like?
Each session begins with structural and functional assessments of
the person's body. I gather objective information from observing
your posture and qualities of movement while getting feedback
from your own experience. We will develop a strategy based on
the goals for the session in relation to the goals for your series and
then decide where to begin.
Within your 10 Series framework the first three sessions are normally
grouped together as superficial sessions since they are focused
more on balancing you within your three-dimensional space;
unwrapping structural elements so as to make it easier to go deeper
into the territory with following sessions. The next four sessions are
referred to as "core sessions" since they are focused more on
clearing up the deeper elements comprising a your structure. The
last three sessions are intended to begin the process of closing off
a series by reintegrating you with structural changes made during
the previous sessions. Though there's always more to do getting to the end of a series leaves you feeling new levels of embodiment with which you can take into improving the quality of your motion, thus the quality of your life.
Noel prior to and after 10 sessions of Rolfing: SI, 2016.
What are the benefits to Rolfing?
Rolfing is reported to have had the following benefits:
Improved movement efficiency
Increased kinesthetic (body) awareness
Increased energy due to less work fighting chronic pain and stress
Improved performance in athletic endeavors
Improved ability to focus
Relief from a number of areas of chronic pain and tightness
Relief from migraines and other head pain disorders
Improved balance and coordination
Increased span of joints and ligaments
Improved recovery from injuries and surgeries
Decreased scar tissue restriction and formation
Improved elasticity of skin, fat, and muscle tissue
Improved awareness of mind/body connection
Improved relationship with physically tied emotions
Improved quality of life
How often should I get Rolfed?
The frequency of visits varies from person to person depending on how one responds to the work and his or her readiness for the next session. Once a week or twice a month is normal for a 10 Series yet clients have received sessions as close to each other as twice a week and as far apart as once a month. Clients who sign up for a 10 Series should consider keeping their sessions consistent throughout the entire course of the series so as to best optimize the effects of the work. After finishing a series clients may find need to continue with the work and an additional series of 3-5 sessions may help in addressing some larger projects. Other clients come in as they need work and get "tune-ups" from normal stresses related to their work or social life. They may also see the need to get reset from unexpected injuries and life events.
How much is it?
Rolfing: Structural Integration sessions are $120 per 60-75 minute session. (Discounts available for active students, active military, and seniors of 65+ years).
Helpful Links and Articles
Fascial Plasticity: A Neurobiological Explanation by Robert Schleip, 2003
Variations in Ida Rolf's Recipe by Thomas Myers, 2004
Grounding Structural Concepts in Physical Reality by Hans Flury, 2004
Structural Integration: The Journal of the Rolf Institute Vol 45 No. 1, 2017 (Features Noel Poff's article "Closure")
Rolfing Structural Integration 10 Series Overview by Matt Hsu, Upright Health, 2016
Rolfing: Structural Integration by Noel Poff, Oblique Magazine, May 2018