What is Structural Integration?
The Rolfing Ten Series
The Rolfing Ten Series is a set of ten, separate Rolfing Structural Integration sessions that systematically (in a particular sequence, segment, and depth) balance and optimize both the physical structure (alignment) and function (movement) of the entire body. Each session focuses on a different section of the body, at various layers, to improve the body's relationship to gravity and in relationship to the other segments of the body.
Rolfing is a holistic system of bodywork using connective tissue manipulation and movement education to change deeply set, inefficient postural and movement patterns. The goal is to restore normal human function and structure by reestablishing the body's relationship to it's central vertical axis (left to right and front to back).
Rolfers believe that pain and tension are a result of an overall pattern of imbalance in the body - one that is held together by the connective tissue or fascial system. Fascia is a fibrous material, a seamless network of tissue, that weaves in and around the muscles, envelopes bones and organs, connecting the entire contents of the body in one big, fluid, fascial web. Therefore, it is the support structure that ultimately determines the shape and individual movement patterns of a person.
With physical or emotional trauma, lack of movement, faulty body-use habits of sitting, standing, or walking etc., fascia shortens, thickens and loses it's elasticity. Much of the stiffness and pain that one feels as "muscular" is actually the connective tissue hardening the area &/or developing adhesions resulting in limited or imbalanced movement. Compensations patterns result.
- effortless posture
- relief from chronic pain
- moving with ease and less effort
- improved flexibility / ranges of motion
- improved posture and balance
- less prone to injury
- better breathing and circulation
- enhanced sports performance
Does Rolfing Hurt?
From a pain-scale perspective, expected sensations range from light to deep and from pleasurable to intensely mind-body altering. Most clients experience a slow, steady pressure followed by a feeling of release and lightness. Pain is subjective! What one may experience as a therapeutic, beneficial sensation of discomfort, others may distinguish in their brains simply as pain. Knowing that the work is beneficial, has a remarkable way of retraining our brains to become more tolerant to bodywork. The relationship between the Rolfer and client determines the depth and speed the tissue requires to stay at ease and present for change. Also, it is important to be in communication with your Rolfer regarding how you are experiencing pain, so that the work continues to stay within a tolerable range for you.
Will Rolfing Changes Last Beyond Immediate?
Yes! The changes will not only last, but they often continue to improve after the sessions are over. In the same way that an imbalanced movement will eventually distort or wear down the alignment of the body, balanced and efficient movement will build up the body.
Will Bad Habits pull my Body back out of Alignment?
Rolfing increases the body awareness and makes people more sensitive to the effect of "bad habits" or imbalanced movement patterns. It naturally feels better to be efficient and balanced so the body instinctively will move in a more balanced way.
In my own experience, I used to get chronic upper back pain around my shoulder blades, a result of the combination of an imbalanced front-to-back alignment and slouching, especially when seated. After receiving my 10-Series, I only felt back pain when overusing the body (when working out). Now, I get back pain if I sit in a slouched position - where before I would get back pain if I sat up straight for too long!
What types of Issues will Rolfing address?
Rolfing addresses many issues: posture, limited mobility, chronic pain, migraines/headaches, vertigo, whiplash, tendonitis, knee and hip problems, shoulder issues such as rotator cuff injuries and frozen shoulder, TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome), carpal tunnel syndrome, temporal mandibular joint dysfunction, chronic sinus infections, breathing issues, & plantar fasciitis among many other things.
What does a Rolfing Session Look Like?
I time all Rolf Sessions as 90-minute sessions. The work required may not always take 90-minutes, a few of the 10 sessions take closer to 60minutes. For those, I use the remaining time to do deep work on any areas where you want deep tissue work done. (I also have some client who schedule 2-hour appointments to do a Rolfing session along with additional deep tissue work.)
All Rolf Sessions are done in your underwear. I have a heated table. If the room is not warm enough for you, or if you prefer more modesty, I'm happy to provide additional draping.
At the beginning and end of each session, you'll be observed in a static position (standing) as well as in movement (e.g. walking, knee bends, scapular movement), etc. to observe what works well in your body and how to address the body to come into alignment (aligning front-to-back and left-to-right).
In the sessions, you are generally lying face up or side-lying on the table. Bolstering (pillows) are used to ensure that you are in alignment before any soft-tissue work is done. Small movements are often requested, isolating movement in one, or possible two, joints. Breathing is required (not optional)!!! :)
All 10 Sessions end with Neck work and Sacral work on the table, and back work (in a seated position).
Can I try Rolfing rather than Committing to the 10-Series?
Yes, I recommend committing to the first 3 sessions, that will give you an overall feeling of the work and give you an opportunity to experience how you might benefit. You could try even just the first session if you like. Once you've completed the first three sessions, I will ask you to commit to the remainder of the sessions, as we will dive deeper into the body in Session 4 - beginning to address the core layers. These are designed, systematically, to address the entire body as a whole organism, rather than treating symptoms. Addressing only parts of the core and not others, will leave a person feeling incomplete, and out of alignment.