What is Rolfing® Structural Integration?
by Greg Bishop, M.M., Certified Rolfer ~ 208-991-8024
One of my main jobs as a Certified Rolfer is educator. Rolfing brings a new understanding of how the body functions in gravity and how to best embody the changes in a positive way. During Rolfing sessions I do my best to impart the Rolfing approach to structure and movement.
But the education process also extends into the community.
In my experience, the vast majority of people have never heard of Rolfing Structural Integration. Unfortunately, the ones who have, are often misinformed by others who have never had direct experience with RSI. A bit like getting your sex education from the kid down the block, who has never had formal education or experience!
Many compare Rolfing with deep tissue massage, chiropractic and/or Physical therapy. And there are similarities. But Rolfing is a unique approach to body structure and function.
Rolfers see fascia as an important support element in the body. That, combined with a Rolfers understanding of how the body functions within the gravitational field puts Rolfing in it’s own category.
Ida Rolf, the creator of Rolfing Structural Integration, called fascia “the organ of form”.
Fascia gives shape and direction to muscle. It surrounds almost every part of the human body. There is a layer of fascia that runs beneath the skin giving shape to the whole as well.
Fascia is tough and flexible. In the past it was believed to be an inert substance that moved only because of muscle tissue. But fascia has its own contracting spindles. Fascia doesn’t just go along for the ride. It helps make the ride happen!
Fascia can become chronically shortened for various reasons. Lack of use, overuse, and injury are common causes.
A prevalent issue is shortening in the front of our bodies. Humans are flexor prone and we sit too much. When the anterior tissue shortens it can feel like you tucked your shirt in too tight in front. Your head is pulled forward and down. This makes sitting, standing and moving difficult: A battle with ourselves and gravity.
RSI addresses these imbalances, resulting in more fluid, energy effecient and graceful movement. Gravity becomes an ally. A Rolfers understanding of fascia’s role in the body and how to have a healthy relationship with gravity is what sets Rolfing apart from other approaches.