Rolfing® is a system of postural restructuring and movement education which is performed through treatments of soft tissue manipulation. Named after the renowned biochemist, Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., this technology offers a person of any age the ability to start fresh and reclaim their inherent vitality.
Dr. Rolf earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Colombia University in 1916. She made a fundamental discovery about the body; the same network of connective tissue which contains and links the muscle system when it’s healthy can be used to reshape it when it has been pulled out of proper order. When we are out of balance, gravity drags us down, just as it drags down a building that has lost it’s architectural integrity.
When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself. There is an ongoing psychological change as well toward balance, toward serenity, toward a more whole person. The whole person evinces a more apparent, more potent psychic development.
~ Ida P Rolf, Ph.D.
Every muscle and organ in the body is enveloped in connective tissue called fascia. This interconnected system creates a vast three dimensional web, which provides critical support and protection for the whole body. Just as the fascial system can aid balanced posture and movement patterns, it can also support whatever patterns develop due to strain, injury and trauma. As we move through life and are forced to compensate, our soft tissue loses elasticity and what is at first a way to protect the body results in loss of fluidity throughout the entire body.
Dr. Rolf recognized the fundamental influence of gravity on the body. When joints are properly balanced and integrated into the whole, the individual experiences an internal sense of equilibrium. If natural balance is disturbed, the body compensates in order to stay (somewhat) upright in gravity. The goal of Rolfing™ is to bring the body closer to its center line of gravity in order to decrease the energy used for basic movements such as sitting, standing and walking. By doing this, gravity becomes less of a force to struggle with and instead a factor with which one finds relationship.
The musculoskeletal system is the largest energy user in the body and when we misuse it and waste energy we are also loading a burden of strain onto areas (whether feet, knees, pelvic joints, spine or neck) that will ultimately demonstrate disapproval of being misused by becoming tired, painful, and dysfunctional. The geometry of tension in the joints must be perfectly balanced between compressive and tensile forces of the Fascial web, so that standing and walking require minimal energy expenditure. Body usage has a direct impact on how our inner world of communications (nervoussystem), circulation, digestion, and other functions work (or don’t work), and is also a representation of mood, feelings and personality.
Posture is a dynamic activity; it is not only how you hold your body when you are still, but how you carry it while you are moving. Posture emerges from our interactions with the world around us and how we perceive and orient ourselves in these events. Over time, our responses program the way we stand and move. Gravity is one of the earliest influences on our posture. In order to negotiate the pull of gravity, we all learned to stabilize ourselves in order to avoid falling down. And because our bodies are designed for mobility, they are inherently unstable. How we stabilize also determines our posture and the freedom and efficiency with which we move. The essence of posture is the unique way we negotiate between moving and stabilizing in relationship to gravity and other.