Rolfing® Structural Integration

Imagine waking up in the morning with less stiffness and pain. Imagine sitting, standing, and walking more comfortably. Imagine being more agile and light and having more energy throughout your day. Imagine simply feeling at ease in your own body.

Rolfing treats the whole body beyond symptoms by releasing bound tissue and compensatory strains to help you recover with better posture and improved mobility. Bound tissue can be due to old physical injuries, scar tissue, surgery, and emotional stored trauma.

Your practitioner will work closely with you to help you release these body tissues and can guide you to move better and more efficiently with a renewed sense of balance, alignment, and space.

Rolfing may help you if are seeking:

  • Alternative or complement to your current methods of treatments
  • Decrease chronic pain and increase body comfort
  • Improve alignment and posture
  • Optimize athletic performance
  • Heal joint pain in the foot, knee, hip, shoulder, hand, and neck
  • Relieve TMJ pain
  • Reduce nerve pain such as Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome
  • Minimize headaches
  • Improve self-awareness
  • Increase energy
  • Decrease stress
  • Compliment yoga, pilates, and martial arts practices
  • Reduce Repetitive Motion Syndrome
  • Ease Fibromylagia pain and fatigue

Click below to learn more about Rolfing®

History of Rolfing®

Dr. Ida Pauline Rolf: New York Pioneer

The founder of Rolfing, Dr. Ida Pauline Rolf (1896-1979) was born and raised in New York City. At age 20, she earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University. Shortly thereafter, she led the Research Department in organic chemistry at the Rockefeller Institute.

Dr. Rolf’s personal experience with scoliosis and diabetes drove her to understand the inherent nature of the body. Early in her study, she received treatments in Osteopathy and Chiropractics. Dr. Rolf also practiced Hatha yoga for over 20 years and has cited Tai Chi and Taoism as influential practices in her own development of structural integration.

In receiving treatments, being pro-active with self-care, and leading research, Dr. Rolf realized a better way to sustain health and well-being was to treat the whole structure of the body beyond local symptoms.

Fundamental Discovery

Her research led to a fundamental discovery: the network of connective tissue (fascia) is a continuous, three-dimensional support system that protects and shapes the body. She found the fascia network was inherently plastic (resilient and elastic) and could be reshaped and aligned at any and every age using hands-on techniques.

 Worldwide Recognition and Practice

After 60 years of developing and refining her system of Rolfing® Structural Integration, Dr. Rolf is recognized worldwide as a pioneer and leader in soft tissue manipulation and movement education.

Today, the Rolf Institute is headquartered in Boulder, CO with branches in Germany, Japan, Australia, and Brazil.

Rolfing® Research

Smoother, More Dynamic and Energetic Movements

The effectiveness of Rolfing has been substantiated through several published studies. A controlled study at UCLA Department of Kinesiology, conducted by Dr. Valerie Hunt and Dr. Wayne Massey documents that among clients who had received Rolfing compared to a matched sample that had not, movements were smoother and less constrained; there were fewer extraneous movements; body movements were more dynamic and energetic; and carriage was more erect with less straining to maintain a balanced stance.

Fascia Contracts like Muscle

Research by Robert Schleip, PhD, Rolfer and W. Klingler  W. Klingler, F. Lehmann-Horn, Department of Applied Physiology, Ulm University , Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89069 Ulm, Germany has shown  that there is active fascial contractility, and that fascia may be able to contract in a smooth muscle-like manner and thereby influence musculoskeletal dynamics.

Further Research

Articles also have been published in the Journal of Physical Therapy summarizing the positive effects of Rolfing on the autonomic nervous system and the angle of pelvic inclination. Abstracts of these and other research are available through the Rolf Institute

The Fascia Conference

Since fascia is increasingly becoming more recognized for it’s key role in health, the Fascia Conference was created and is held annually across the globe to present worldwide research and unite science with medicine and other healing practices.

Who Benefits from Rolfing®

Who Benefits?

Dr. Rolf created her system of soft-tissue therapy to align the body so that it can heal itself.  It is non-invasive, hands-on, safe and effective at any age. Improvements vary from person to person and can be profound.

The Aging – Joints and the delicate fluid systems within our spinal discs become more compressed over time. Rolfing can help you recover and maintain better range of motion so that your bones continue to be nourished and you can remain or become more active.

Children –  Children’s soft bodies allow for easy structural changes to avoid physical limitations into their adolescence and adult years. Tam has experience helping children as young as 6 weeks with birthing trauma and growing pains  to help encourage a normal growth pattern into crawling and walking.

Expectant Mothers – Rolfing can support your body as you experience rapid hormonal and structural changes during pregnancy. You can find relief for your neck and back pain, as well as for your insomnia and headaches. Many also have reported on faster and less painful deliveries as well as calmer babies. After delivery, your practitioner can educate you on best ways to breast feed and self-care through the challenges of the first year.

Athletes –  Athletes constantly challenge their bodies and need to perform at their optimal capacity. It is vital to have a strong and aligned foundation to limit abnormal stress on joints, nerves, muscles and bones. It is recommended to receive a series of work off-season and maintain with regular tune-ups during high-season as needed.

What to Expect

What to Wear?

The general attire is underwear or sportswear. Soft cotton t-shirts and leggings are also acceptable.

How does it Feel?

The hands-on-work can be described as a cross between massage, chiropractics, and physical therapy. Your practitioner will directly work on your connective tissue and bones with his or her hands and will guide you at times with movement. Many have commented that they feel as though they are being sculpted.

At the end of a treatment, you may feel invigorated and relaxed. You may feel like your joints were lubricated and move better. You may feel that you are standing taller with less strain.

Is Rolfing Painful?

Rolfing can elicit a range of sensations that may be described similar to air bubbles releasing to pleasurable pain. Tam is attuned to your body’s signals and makes sure you are comfortable throughout the process. You are always in control.

The Basic Ten Series

The Basic Ten Series

For more recent present issues and injuries, Rolfing may be experienced in one or several sessions. It is up to you and your practitioner based on your specific needs and goals.

The Rolfing® Basic Ten Series is recommended for those who are interested in Rolfing beyond treating their present issues. The Basic Ten Series is designed to address your specific needs and history of trauma and injury. 10 sessions spaced out across time can help you titrate and fully integrate systemic changes to your body.

Sessions are ideally spaced one to two weeks apart and last about an hour. Depending on your individual integration processing, they can be spaced as far as four weeks.

Your Progression through the Ten

The first three sessions balance the big extrinsic muscles and outer connective tissue compartments of your body. Afterwards, you will find it easier to move from side to side, back and forth, and in rotation.

The next four focus on your intrinsic core and the myofascia from the center of you body, from head to toe. You will feel an internal sense of length and lightness and learn how to initiate movement from your core space.

The last three sessions work with the interface between intrinsic and extrinsic structures. They complete the series by connecting and integrating your changes and guiding them to coordinate simple and complex system-wide movements effectively with ease. By this time, you may feel a new sense of three-dimensional balance.

Post Ten Work

After you have completed The Basic Ten Series, follow-up sessions are recommended one month to 6 months apart. Having regular “tune-ups” can help maintain your changes and support new efficient patterns of movement.

There are also those who would value on-going regular treatment beyond the Basic Ten Series, such as elite athletes and performers and those with challenging chronic conditions.

In the media

Watch some Rolfing videos and see how Rolfing has been endorsed in the media »