Structural Integration

The Rolf Method of Structural Integration offers a series of bodywork sessions to relieve chronic pain, injury, and stress. This essential healing work is achieved by manipulating the body's connective tissue, called fascia. All of the major systems in the body (such as digestive, nervous, and musculoskeletal) are sheathed in fascia.

Over time, our body endures illness, injury, and everyday stress, causing an imbalance in the connective tissue. When imbalance occurs, the healthy characteristics of our many systems are negatively impacted.

Our bones are held in place by muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. The muscular-skeletal system is an amazing synergy of muscle and bone - the muscles provide the pull, the bones the push. Out of balance muscles create imbalance throughout the structure.

Over time, illness, injury, and everyday stress create an imbalance in the connective tissue that negatively impacts our otherwise healthy systems. The result is a shortening, thickening, and dehydration of the tissue that impairs joint mobility and muscle function. We experience this as chronic pain, discomfort, stiffness, decreased flexibility, and impaired movement.

Structural Integration can change and support the function of movement throughout the entire structure of the body.

The Basic Ten Series
This is the "magic" of Ida Rolf's work—sometimes referred to as "The Recipe"—and consists of ten sessions. Each lasts approximately 1½ hours and focuses attention (and 'intention') on a specific goal or area. Pressure is applied by using the hands, arms, and sometimes the elbow to systematically lengthen, soften, and hydrate the connective tissues area-by-area. We carefully address holding patterns as we create balance, length, and new life in the body.

Rolf History
Ida P. Rolf was born in New York in 1896. She graduated from Barnard College in 1916 and in 1920 received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.

In 1927 Dr. Rolf went to Zurich to study mathematics and atomic physics at the Swiss Technical University as well as homeopathic medicine. During the 1930's Ida explored osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, yoga, various movement work, and Korzybski's work on the states of consciousness. Compelled by her son’s need for specific medical attention and healing, Ida began a thorough study of the body’s balance with gravity. Her understanding of the dynamic of healthy tensegrity through the fascial sheaths deepened. The result was her understanding of the "plastic" body, the body that can be changed.

This was the beginning of her work and the development of the Rolf Method of Structural Integration. It was also her recognition that “human beings are dynamic units. They are energy units, they are movement units, they are summations of energy units."

The “human potential movement” of the 1960's in northern California gave Rolf a stimulating environment in which to develop her work. At the Esalen Institute, she found educated, creative people committed to exploring the interrelationship of mind/body/spirit. While Fritz Pearls (the father of Gestalt Therapy), Wilhelm Reich, and Stanislov Grof explored transpersonal psychology, Ida approached change through the physical body. As her reputation spread, she became known as the "little, old lady" doing wonders to change people’s bodies through structural integration. This is when Rolfing® began to gain national and international recognition.