Rolfing Structural Integration: Facilitating Whole-Body Release, Realignment and Balance
May 31, 2012 08:43PM
● By Susan Aimes
Although lesser known than massage, Rolfing’s ability to restore lasting balance in the body accounts for its rising popularity among individuals in search of relief from imbalances resulting from physical injury, illness and the relentless pull of gravity. Unlike massage, Rolfing wholly focuses on the body’s protective layer of muscle and various connective tissues, known as fascia.
This hands-on technique for deep tissue manipulation of the myofascial system can restore the body’s natural alignment and sense of integration. Generally, over a period of 10 sessions, the body is released from old patterns and postures. As a result, the range and freedom of physical and emotional expression increases. Rolfing can help ease pain and chronic stress, enhance neurological functioning, improve posture, overcome movement restrictions, restore flexibility and improve sports performance.
Rolfing’s progressive series of sessions is what sets it apart from other healing modalities. Each session builds upon the last and balances the body in segments. Sessions one through three begin with a focus on the upper body and diaphragm, move on to the foot and lower leg, and then to the lateral sides.
During sessions four through six, the Rolfing practitioner works on the inside of the leg, next focusing on the stomach and the relationship between the muscles, rectus abdominis (or “six-pack” abdominal muscles) and psoas (a large, thick muscle attached to the vertebrae of the lower back and the head of the thigh bone).
The practitioner then moves on to the back of the body and the head and neck, followed by the upper and lower areas of the pelvic girdle. The final session covers the whole body.
A Rolfer’s education and certification may come from one of several schools. However, the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration and the Guild for Structural Integration have been in existence for several decades and are the best known. Both are headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, where teaching facilities have been greatly influenced by the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf [1896-1979], founder of this holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organizes the whole body in gravity.
For more information, visit the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration at Rolf.org or call 800-530-8875. Also visit the Guild for Structural Integration at RolfGuild.org or call 303-447-0122.
Local Rolfing Resources
Laura Barnes, 851 Fifth Ave. N., Ste. 301, Naples. 239-825-8555.
George Behan, Rolfing Naples. 239-919-4413. NaplesRolfing.com.
Cindi Curci-Lee, Rolfed in Paradise, Inc., 5600 Trail Blvd., Ste. 15, Naples; and 8660 College Pkwy., Ste. 230, Ft. Myers. 239-777-4070. RolfedInParadise.com.
Stuart Wright, Naturopathic Wellness Consulting. 239-272-6443.