The name “Rolfing” was derived from the founder of the therapy Dr. Ida P. Rolf (1896-1979) of New York. Dr. Rolf had a Ph.D in biological chemistry and, while still young, she became an Associate at the Rockefeller Institute, studying mathematics and atomic physics in Zurich, and homeopathic medicine in Geneva.
Fundamentally, Rolfing consists of some basic concepts about human structure:
- Most human beings are significantly out of alignment with gravity.
- People function better when they are lined up with the gravitational field of the earth.
- The human body is so plastic that its alignment can be brought into harmony with gravity at practically any time of life.
Structural Integration is the key to Rolfing as it breaks down a build up of unwanted tissue/facia that is developed by the body to compensate for posture that is out of the natural line of gravity, creating support for the resulting unnatural posture. In time, the neuromuscular system recognises this un-natural position as normal and natural. The aim of Rolfing is to re-educate the body in order for it to regain its natural/proper alignment in relation to gravity, in other words regaining its structural integration.
What Structural Integration does:
- Releases the body from lifelong patterns of tension.
- Relieves chronic strain and allows the muscles to be more efficient.
- Relieves back, neck and joint pain.
- Realigns and balances the body in gravity.
- Improves posture.
- Increasea vitality.
As a result of Rolfing, the thickened and toughened tissues become soft, re-hydrated and more pliable. This enables structural integration, changes the body’s patterns, organising the imbalances in the tissue and shifts the weight and balance of the body more evenly. This gives the muscles the ability to relax and loosen, creating a more upright and balanced posture with greater flexibility, range of motion and ease in movement.
Dr. Rolf developed many different techniques to release immobilized joints increasing mobility and stability. Rolfing works with the deep myofascial structures. These structures are loose connective strong tissue that often contain fat and covers all muscles. Rolfing use gentle hands-on techniques but often, due to the build up of different types of fascia, some people may experience some discomfort during the treatment.
The aim of Rolfing is to educate each patient about their body, making them aware of their responsibility to maintain optimal function. The key to optimal function is alignment and once the patient starts to understand the structural integrity of the human body and experience the health benefits that result it is harder to return to old habits.
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