Q: How does Structural Integration "ROLFING" work?
A: By lengthening and opening the patterns in FASCIA. As a result the thickened, toughened tissue becomes soft, FLUID and more pliable, thus allowing movement and flexibility. Structural Integration changes the body’s compensations because it organizes the imbalances in the tissue. The systematic approach to relating gravity through thE fascial layers aligns the body and improves posture. The body lengthens allowing muscles the space to work and joints the freedom to function.
Q: What are the benefits?
A: Structural Integration "ROLFING" is a very personal process. It is important to remember that because no two people are alike, their experience and the benefits will never be exactly the same. As a result of the process people often appear taller and slimmer. Some actually gain anywhere from 1/4” to over one inch in height. Feelings of discomfort or pain are often alleviated. Other often experienceD benefits are greater flexibility AND MOBILITY, BETTER ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE, GREATER FEELINGS OF YOUTHFULNESS, feelingS of lightness and fluidity, better balance, increased breathing capacity, increased energy, GREATER OVERALL EASE, MORE SYMMETRY, greater self-confidence AND GREATER AWARENESS.
Q: What is Fascia?
A: Fascia is the "Matrix" of the body. It is a very tough, strong tissue, otherwise known as the myofascial system. fascia is the support system of our body. All of the major systems in the body— circulatory, digestive, nervous, musculo-skeletal, and organs— are ensheathed in fascia. A healthy and balanced fascia system’s characteristics are flexibility, elasticity, length and resilience. fascia absorbs and responds to gravitational force, illness, injury, emotional trauma, physical trauma and plain everyday stress. Any of these factors will immediately, or over a period of time, cause an imbalance in the fascial system. When imbalance exists, the system’s healthy characteristics are affected. The imbalance is identified as a shortening, thickening, immobility AND LACK OF FLUIDITY of the FASCIA which impairs joint mobility and muscle function. This is usually felt in the body as chronic pain, discomfort, stiffness, or decreased flexibility and impaired movement.
Q: Does FASCIA have memory?
A: Any imbalance in the body— no matter what the cause— is imprinted as change in the internal structure and has a long-range and cumulative effect. The body may attempt to return to its original state but without assistance it remains misaligned. For example, when someone sprains an ankle it is only natural to protect it by keeping as much weight as possible off the injured ankle by shifting as much weight as possible to the uninjured side of the body. This natural response to the injury changes the entire body’s relationship to the gravitational field, and the neuromuscular system is repatterned as part of this process.
Repatterning means that the patterns of neural activity, blood and lymph flow, and muscular contraction are altered. When the ankle heals and pain subsides, the person assumes that they are returning to normal movement and function; however, this is not the case. The new pattern created from the shift of weight has been recorded in the internal structure and remains there as part of that person’s movement and holding pattern. Remnants of the injury will be maintained in the structure and function indefinitely.
The body can also be repatterned not only from injury, but also from every day habits like carrying a heavy bag on the same shoulder or sitting out of alignment in front of a computer or staring at a phone with the head slumped forward while texting. In order to remain upright the entire body has to compensate and some muscles are forced to shorten. When a muscle is chronically shortened it loses its ability to relax which then results in constant state of tension. When these changes and patterns occur, the fascia needs assistance in order to return to its normal, healthy state. Structural Integration is of particularly great benefit at this point.
Q: How does Structural Integration feel? “I’ve heard Rolfing hurts. Does Structural Integration “Rolfing” hurt?”
A: Much of the reputation that Structural Integration hurts and is painful came from the early days when Structural Integration was first gaining public recognition. Since that time, the process has greatly evolved. As far as the actual experience is concerned, the area being worked will vary in sensation and feeling depending ON injuries, INFLAMMATION to an area, or holding of chronic stress-- as well as other factors. Feeling can range from pleasurable release to momentary discomfort. The goal is to make each client’s experience one of self-empowerment. This process is the client’s— not the practitioner’s. The practitioner will work at your level and pace.
“Rolfing” is known to be painful and I believe this “rumor” exists for a few reasons:
There was an old school belief that the more things hurt, the more effective they are. (I, personally, don’t agree with this, nor was I educated to believe this— there is a way to approach the body, get the work done, and not have a client in severe pain the whole time).
Some practitioners work “on” their clients instead of “with” their clients. (My personal goal is to work “with” my clients— it’s their body not mine and I try to listen on all levels: literally and intuitively).
Sometimes old gunk/holding patterns/scar tissue/INFLAMED AREAS do feel uncomfortable when worked on. (Old injuries/gunk/“our own shit”/holding patterns usually dOn’t get there overnight or gently. So sometimes, undoing these things in the body can be intense/uncomfortable).
Sometimes a client has a lot of inflammation— from overuse, diet, lifestyle, etc. (I try to discuss these things with my clients).
If you’ve been told Rolfing hurts, please discuss this with me— it really doesn’t have to be that way!
Q: What does gravity have to do with Structural Integration "ROLFING"?
A: Webster’s New World Dictionary defines gravity as, “the pull on all bodies in the Earth’s sphere towards the Earth’s center.” The Earth’s gravitational field is the most potent physical force that the human body has to deal with. Although most people realize this tremendous force exists, they somehow believe they are immune to it! Gravity’s constant effect on any soft, pliable mass is to make it a formless, chaotic and spherical unit. Since the body has a great deal of plasticity and is much broader at the top than at the base, it is greatly affected by gravity.
Most bodies in gravity are in a state of imbalance. As we grow older, we often “shrink” in height and slowly lose flexibility. Our bones stay the same length and our muscles can still function, but the connective tissue is what changes the most.
Q: Are there psychological benefits?
A: While Structural Integration "ROLFING" is primarily concerned with physical changes in the body, it affects the whole person. We are made up of emotions, attitudes, belief systems, and behavior patterns as well as the physical being. All are related. THE FASCIA IS A DYNAMIC MATRIX. Align the phySICAL STRUCTURE AND LIBERATE THE FASCIA and it will open up the individual’s potential.
Q: Does Structural Integration "ROLFING" last?
A: YES! Photographs taken of clients years after the Basic Ten Series show that changes were still present and structure often improved. Keep in mind however, as life changes, bodies change in response. All injuries, accidents, lengthy illnesses and emotional stress may necessitate additional work.