“If you can imagine what it feels like to have a fluid, light, balanced body, free of pain, stiffness and chronic stress at ease with itself and the earths gravitational field then you will understand the goals of structural integration.”

– Ida P. Rolf

Structural Integration more commonly known as Rolfing was developed by Ida P Rolf, Ph.D.  In the 1940’s she began to develop what became known as “The Recipe” of Structural Integration. She continued to refine The Recipe and found that if the fascia of the body was lengthened in a particular order, the effects where more favorable for acquiring better order to the body with long term results. The Recipe became known as “The 10 Series.”

What is Structural Integration?

Structural Integration has one specific goal, to help the body become more symmetrical in gravity by increasing length to the connective tissue to create a more balanced body.  What does this mean?  It can help your body to be able to maintain better postural alignment with less effort from the muscular system allowing you to move with greater ease.  That in turn means less pain and the ability to do more of the things you want to!!!!

How Does Structural Integration Work?

Structural Integration focuses on lengthening the connective tissue (fascia) of your body.  Fascia is everywhere in your body, think of it like a spider web.  If one part of the web is tight the entire web changes shape.  If the web is not symmetrical it can cause dysfunction in a variety of ways throughout the body resulting in pain, loss of mobility, and decreased function of daily activities or sports performance.

Structural Integration looks at the Whole-Body System of fascia with a goal of creating as much balance to the system as possible through tissue manipulation as well as client education in proper movement patterns.

What should I expect in a Session?

Sessions generally run approximately 60 min incorporating hands on soft tissue manipulation, active movement interaction with the client and sometimes standing, sitting or walking movement reeducation techniques.

Fascial release can feel both good and uncomfortable.  A lot of people say “it feels like a good hurt”, meaning it might not always feel pleasant but you can tell it is a good thing for the body.  Sensations depend on how restricted the fascia is and each persons tolerance to bodywork.  The biggest key is communication with the practitioner.  The ultimate goal is to work together to help each person achieve their individual goals.

What are the Benefits of Structural Integration?

Every body is different but here are a few of the positive things that could come from Structural Integration:

  • Improved Posture
  • Decreased Intensity of Chronic Pain
  • Improved Flexibility
  • Increased Energy
  • Increased Ease of Movement
  • Improvement with Strength
  • Improvement with Balance
  • Increased Vital Capacity
  • Better Self Confidence
  • More Restful Sleep
  • Improved Athletic Performance
  • Reduced Injuries
  • Decreased Menstrual Cramping
  • Improvement with Digestion
  • Decreased Scar Adhesions

Types of Sessions

The 10 series is a hands-on fascial release technique that focuses on balancing connective tissue throughout the entire body.  Each session has a particular goal and each session builds on the previous session helping to organize the body in better vertical alignment in gravity.

Prior to each session the practitioner will assess the client from the front, sides, and back of the body.  This helps them to determine how they need to progress with the session.  The session begins with the practitioner using their hands, arms and elbows to lengthen the fascial tissue.  The client will be assed to participate in each session through breathing and small movement patterns.  At the end of the session there may be instruction on particular movement  exercises that will help to facilitate the fascial changes.  Throughout the series, the client will be educated on postural mechanics and proper movement patterns for daily living.

Series sessions are ideally scheduled one time a week or every other week however can be spaced out to once a month depending on the integrity of the fascial system of the client.  During the series the body will begin to undergo an “unwinding” process.  For some people they will see immediate change, for others the unwinding is slower so changes may not be noticed until a later date.

Examples of the progression of a 10 series with changes in body alignment

After completing a 10 series the body needs time to integrate the changes that have occurred to the fascial system.  General structural integration maintenance is key to help the fascial system remain healthy.  This is achieved by doing a 3 series (3 sessions) generally twice a year.  The frequency of how often to receive a tune-up varies depending on what we do to our bodies.  Some people need to be seen in 3 months others can wait 6 months to a year. If there has been an injury or if there are specific areas to address there are other options available such as single sessions or a more in-depth 5 series.

Ida Rolf was the founder of Structural Integration which has become know as “Rolfing®”. She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1920. She worked at the Rockefeller Institute for 12 years during which time she began exploring Osteopathy, Chiropractic Medicine, Tantric Yoga, the Alexander Technique and Homeopathic Medicine. She wanted to help a friend who had a disability that medical treatment was not able to improve. In the 1940’s she began to develop what became known as “The Recipe” of Structural Integration. She continued to refine The Recipe and found that if the fascia of the body was lengthened in a particular order, the effects where more favorable for acquiring better order to the body with long term results. The Recipe became known as “The 10 Series.” Dr. Rolf’s technique is taught at two schools – The Guild For Structural Integration and The Rolf Institute. Dr. Ida P. Rolf“When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through it. Then spontaneously, the body heals itself.” Ida P. Rolf Ph.D.

rolfer, rolfing, structural integration, massage, reflexology, reflexologist, craniosacral, michigan, oxford, rochester hills, foundation training, pain relief, back pain, pain management
PTA, MT, AT-Retired, Level 2 Certified Foundation Training Instructor

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