Rolf Method of Structural Integration (SI), is a holistic system of bodywork and movement education that organizes your whole body in gravity. Structural Integration works with connective tissue, also known as fascia. Due to physical injury, emotional trauma, or inefficient, chronic patterns of movement, adhesions can form in the body’s fascia which can result in pain and limit our range of motion. Rolfing aligns and balances the body by lengthening and repositioning the fascia. As fascia is lengthened, it allows the muscles to move more efficiently and with less pain. The practitioner will apply pressure to the body, working the entire fascial system in a systematic way. When restricted fascia is released, the body can return to its structurally optimal position in gravity.
Instead of feeling weighed down by gravity, there is a sense of lift and organization that many people experience. People seek Rolfing as a way to improve their posture, reduce or eliminate pain and relieve chronic stress. SI can literally change the shape of your body, and is used by many professional athletes and dancers to improve performance. Results include a more relaxed and supported structure, balanced tone throughout the tissues, ease and fluidity of movement, greater breathing capacity, better balance, less effort in activity and increased energy overall. Structural Integration changes lives!
Why is fascia so important?
Fascia surrounds every cell in the body. Fascia enwraps, supports and separates the muscle fibers, bones and organs throughout your body in continuous web of layers. This fascial web is the body’s internal support system which gives strength and shape to our bodies. When the fascia responds to injury, chronic tension and habitual movements it secretes a fluid that protects at first but then dry’s and creates a glue like substance therefore sticking one layer of fascia to another. As the fascia thickens and shortens it limits our range of motion and refers pain either locally or through out other areas of the body. These adhesions can pull the body out of alignment with gravity and enhance the body’s pain response over time. Fascia is continuous like a web so as we apply pressure or stretch the tissue in one area it affects the entire web over the whole body.
How are Massage and Rolfing Different?
Unlike Massage, Structural Integration focuses on the fascia not on the individual muscles. SI looks at the whole body. It addresses chronic patterns in our movement and posture that contribute to the pain felt in our bodies. SI is interested in resolving long term pain responses. It is the process of integrating the body’s segments as it frees up the adhesions in the fascia that have caused restrictions and pain. Structural Integration helps to provide support and efficient movements as we carry ourselves in life. Massage is a broad term that refers to many styles of bodywork. In general, massage promotes relaxation, detoxifies the body, increases circulation and loosens tight tissue. A deep relaxing Swedish massage helps to melt away the stresses of the day. Deep Tissue massage works to release the pain response in certain areas such as the neck or low back. SI works to release those same areas but is also concerned with how the pain got there in the first place. SI addresses what is going on in the other parts of the body that have played a part in promoting the restrictions or painful symptoms. Chronic stresses, strains and discomforts typically disappear as clients transform themselves through the Structural Integration process. Structural Integration achieves results that are visible.