Rolfing® Structural Integration
Rolfing® Movement Integration
What is it? Why do it? How is it done? And...will it help me?
It’s all to do with gravity.
Gravity profoundly influences us every moment of our existence.
Yet, like air, we almost forget it exists.
For proper functioning, our bodies are designed to be in a state of equilibrium with gravity. Because gravity exerts its force evenly, it tends to create strain in an unbalanced body and support in a balanced body.
A woman ahead of her time …
Ida Rolf was a woman ahead of her time. She had completed a Doctorate in Biochemistry in 1926 from prestigious Columbia University, New York. Becoming disillusioned with the available medical response of the time to her son’s spinal problems, she began to research the subject herself and came to realise that the ‘plastic’ nature of the body allowed lasting change to be facilitated.
Dedicated to Ida Rolf’s 1930’s insight, Rolf Institute (1972) members have provided the Ten Session Series to more than 1 million people in over 30 countries
Newton got it and changed the world!
Ida Rolf got it too, and changed the world for over one million people.
When Ida Rolf observed that, over time, the field of gravity actually accentuates the body’s imbalances and diminishes its flexibility, she developed her original method of hands-on manipulation to reduce gravity’s adverse effects on the body.
Ida Rolf initially called her work “Structural Integration” but over time it has more popularly become known as “Rolfing”
Why is Rolfing® good for me?
"The chief aim is to better organise the whole person. This isn’t done just so the person will feel better, although that almost always occurs.
The anatomical blueprint of the body suggests that a return to peace and order in the myofascial system is compellingly appropriate.
The goal is to offer the individual what is considered to be every person’s human birthright – a body that uses gravity efficiently, effectively and appropriately."
Extract from “Understanding Rolfing” Physical Therapy Forum.
Date December 5, 1988.
What has been happening to my body?
Posture - Presentation - Potential
Every day of our lives we are influenced by gravity.
Most people only notice gravity when an object is dropped or rolls, but we humans live within the gravity pull of the earth. When we fight gravity, we lose every time. We must make peace with this field and use it to our best advantage.
The body’s gravity potential
The Ten Session Series is an education about gravity’s interaction with our bodies and how improvement can happen.
A foundation for good health is a well-organised structure.
Good structure allows good posture which yields many important benefits.
We all want bodies that are attractive, function well, feel good and give us a sense of emotional well-being.
Helps us look good. Our clothes hang better
Improves musculo-skeletal efficiency
Lets us move with grave and freedom accomplishing more with less effort.
Corrects the causes of posture-related pain.
Helps us feel good by promoting better vital functions.
Indicates you feel good about life.
Rolfing Integration changes strain patterns within the myo-fascial system, which in turn allows the body to realign itself with gravity.
Our bodies are designed to be in a state of equilibrium with gravity for proper functioning.
Structure Determines Function
Structure: the way your bones, corrective tissue, muscles, nervous system and endocrine system interact with gravity, giving you your familiar shape.
When human structure develops out of balance, compromise happens.
Stress occurs. Muscular tension and extra energy is needed to stabilise the (80% water) body against gravity’s vertical pull.
Movement becomes awkward as tense stabilising muscles try to stretch at the same time. Compression & bracing result.
After receiving Rolfing® Integration each body finds its own optimum alignment.
The change lasts because alignment with gravity supports the new structure.
Increasingly visual environments make physical appearance important.
Unbalanced structure is a demoralizing veneer for any person.
Function determines Structure
Function: the way you
respond to your environment (body language)
you move eg. walking, sitting, standing
your physiology works eg. fluid movement - circulation, your lymphatic system, organ function - compressed or restricted, your breath, oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange for all your cells.
Our bodies alter as we grow. A young child’s head is one third its body weight - an adult’s head is one seventh of its body weight, so as we get older, our centre of gravity gets lower.
We are constantly exploring new options in movement.
Family likenesses may be copied at an early age.
Recovery after accident demands a temporary adaption which sometimes becomes habitual.
Peer pressure, a threatening environment, role models and recreational activities all contribute further adaptive features.
This child has learned to adapt her centre of gravity by leaning backward with her upper body, and bracing with her legs at her knees when she lifts her arm.
Western life often interferes with exploratory changes and many compressive behaviours persist through habit instead of being replaced by more constructive options.
The 10 session series has helped this child find centre of gravity adaptions from her ankles.
Even though leaning backward looks awkward, it indicates balance without compression, giving an efficient foundation to explore more choices of behaviour.
Rolfing® Structural Integration
‘A more human use of human beings.’
Gravity Like all material structures, the human body is subject to the basic laws of physics. The purpose of Rolfing Integration is to better balance the body around a vertical line in the field of gravity so that gravity begins to support the body, rather than tear it down.
The Human Body The ‘organ’ of response to gravitational law is the myofascial system, the myofascial system encapsulates, envelops, attaches, supports and relates all body components. It is a highly adaptive and plastic system.
Physical and emotional trauma and the compensations resulting therefrom, infection and disease processes, rigidly held attitudes, poor habits of posture and movement, stress, emotional distortions, cultural and social pressures and the biomechanical wear and tear of everyday living, create disorder in the myofascial system. It reacts to injury, habit and the strain of gravity by shortening, thickening, twisting, binding and gluing down the sheets, planes and membranous layers of connective tissue. Physiological changes occur as the body modifies its myofascial environment to cope with new strain patterns.
The myofascial system is a multi-causal/multi/final system, i.e., local distortion causes a complex of changes in the whole system. Whole system distortion calls forth local and regional conformity to the overall pattern. Without skilled intervention the myofascial system is certain to become less, rather than more integrated over time.
Problems in the myofascial system manifest themselves as an inefficient and unflattering posture, rigid and awkward patterns of movement, a sense of effort, heaviness, strain and fatigue, chronic aches and pains, psychological and emotional dysfunction, a qualitative deterioration of the appropriate tonal balance of the myofascial system as a whole, and many of the abnormal debilitating conditions in the body which are usually attributed to ageing.
Our Physical Reality From both a structural and functional point of view, one must consider the human being to be the most highly developed, most complex and most adaptive creation in nature. Our structures are a result of the history of our evolution as a cultural being, and are a specific biological response to the field effect of gravity. Therefore, the structure of the body is a gravitationally derived creation. The central dilemma is not whether we relate to gravity, because we must, but how we deal with its constant effects on our structure.
The field of gravity is not inherently inimical to humanity. On the contrary, the human body being born, so to speak, out of its relationship to gravity and by necessity obliged to deal with its constraints, is a highly refined, incredibly adaptive gravity transforming organism.
Extract from “Understanding Rolfing” Physical Therapy Forum. Date December 5, 1988.
Awareness As myofascial restrictions are released, movement becomes more coordinated and refined. the body feels light, roomy and at ease. Flexibility, range of motion and joint stability are all favourably advanced. The feeling state is more relaxed, open and responsive. the system is able to handle stress of all kinds and much more easily, effectively and creatively. Reactive mechanical patterns of behaviour are reduced or eliminated entirely. In short, there is a distinct improvement in the operational soundness and efficiency in many, if not all, systems in the body.
The myofascial system is constantly sending proprioceptive information to the brain. But, because the erosion of myofascial balance is so insidious, the information is regarded as redundant and therefore disregarded. Things seem basically okay up to the point of imminent failure. and any system, when it is overwhelmed with imbalance or prone to distortion, is subject to failure. Forestalling such unfortunate occurrences and assisting other professionals in restoring and upgrading the well-being of the average person is our primary goal.
In just Ten Sessions...
This diagram (developed from photographs of a woman during her ten hours of
Structural integration) show the progressive change of body planes from beginning, after 4 hours and after 10 hours.
The transformation from oblique planes through major joints to horizontals is clear.
The Ten Session System has an original approach to issues arising at all levels of health and fitness, so you can
... stop fighting the inevitable and start using it instead ...
The overall goal of the Ten Session Series is to organize the body around “The Line”.
The actual work is performed with the client “dressed for Rolfing” which for men means underpants, running pants or bathing suit; for women, bra and panties, running shorts and tube top or 2-piece bathing suit. The majority of the work is performed with the client lying on a padded table. The Rolfer applies skillful and intelligent pressure with fingers, hands or elbows to release strains and distortions in fascial structures and restore the body to balance. Some sessions may end with a brief period of movement education. Movement homework may be assigned to help the client integrate the new structural pattern into his or her functional pattern.
Movement education also allows the client to take increased responsibility for his/her results.
The sessions follow a general pattern but are always adapted to meet the needs of a particular client’s unique physical structure.
Will you change today?
Mary Anne Gabriel - Certified Rolfing® Practitioner
1976 Massage Training
1990 Rolfing® Practitioner
1994 Rolfing® Movement Teacher
2000 Structural Movement Teacher
“Your body is unique. It is important to me to listen carefully to your knowledge of yourself so I can effectively add my knowledge and experience to help you achieve your goals.”
Science, spirit and X factor.
70’s massage training, 80’s spiritual healing and computer programming, with Rolfing® Integration by 1990.
Personal growth always ran parallel with my career, and my interests in health have been life-long.
Whether you have lost your spark, are recovering from injury, concerned about growing older and staying active or a teenager growing all out of shape – talking to me about your options could make all the difference.
Athletes, stage performers, couch potatoes and rugby players have all resolved their problems effectively.
Book your complementary, obligation free consultation today:
Phone:0508 ROLFING 0508 765 346