Even though it first became popular in the late 60’s, it still remains enigmatic and often misunderstood. Most people think it’s a deep massage that hurts a lot. Not true. That would be like reducing yoga, a complex system of health that’s been around for several thousand years, to a type of painful stretching that turns people into pretzels. While it may look that way to the uninitiated, it’s not an accurate or complete picture at all.
Rolfing has been a massive blip on the counterculture’s radar. In the 60’s and 70’s, most people involved in anything related to Human Potential, Self Awareness, Personal Transformation, Gestalt, EST, Esalen, Birkenstocks, granola, etc. knew about Rolfing. Many of them did it and reported powerful changes. This is where its reputation began as an intense and life-changing process. It was the 60’s…people wanted change, often cathartic, in their bodies, minds, even society. They found that Rolfing expedited personal change like nothing else.
Today things move much more rapidly through the culture and, although more people than ever are experiencing the work and incorporating into their lives, Rolfing® still remains less than a household word. Yet it has been featured on Oprah (see videos page).
Rolfing® Structural Integration is an entire field of inquiry. By definition it is a therapeutic process of manual therapy and directed movement developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf which systematically balances and reorganizes the body within the field of gravity. Nobody emphasized, to this extent, the role of gravity on human structure until Dr. Rolf. She was a true genius and pioneer.
Rolfing isn’t a set of manual techniques alone. It’s also not merely “deep tissue work”. Do we address the deep fascial layers? Of course, but that term implies that the deep tissues take precedence or hold more importance than the superficial layers. That’s too simplistic in our approach.
We are a seamless, unified whole….a miraculous self-regulating bodymind. The folds and layers of the most beautiful and intricate Japanese origami pale in comparison to the amazing complexity of our own tissues.
So, in Rolfing, we do not bulldoze our way anywhere in the body. Instead, it is an elegant and thorough process that meets the person at many levels….a somatic exploration that traverses myofascial, osseous, visceral, fluid and energetic/biodynamic ranges of our bodily experience. It’s not about using an elbow or a knuckle.
There is a huge difference between the short-order cook and a chef. The chef works using detailed principles and skilled techniques with whatever ingredients are available….the short-order cook delivers a numbered item over and over in a routine fashion. Rolfers are trained to be the former. In fact, our eyes, inasmuch as we recognize and track various patterns of organization in bodies, are just as important as our hands.
Our culture believes that as people we “have” bodies to be worked “on”, as if they are things separate and apart from us. I believe that we “are” bodies to be worked “with”, which is a different and much more numinous reality. This distinction opens us up to a more deepened and empowered sense of embodiment.
The bottom line is that feeling comfortable in your own skin is really the ultimate destination. Rolfing offers that opportunity. It’s like a giant “reset” button that allows the recalibration of musculoskeletal tension levels and the resolution of trauma. It can re-frame your entire experience and be a profound process of transformation on many levels.
Most noticeably, Rolfing changes posture. That is the hallmark of our work. It also can improve movement and mobility and increase your overall sense of well-being and wholeness.
Why Do I Need Rolfing?
Gravity is a powerful force that constantly affects the body. If you walk on two legs you can benefit from Rolfing®. Poor posture, injury, emotional trauma and inefficient movement patterns cause the body to compensate in more disorganized, random ways that create energy-draining patterns. Generally, people seek out Rolfing due to chronic pain in certain areas of the body. Rolfing releases the body’s patterns of “holding” and offers awareness, release, balance and fluid movement.
- Relief from debilitating chronic pain
- Increased energy, flexibility and balance
- Better posture and easier breathing
- Recovery from repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Resolution of trauma
- Increased self-awareness
- A feeling of wholeness
- Enhanced performance, appearance and personal growth
- Improved outlook and ability to handle changes in life.