Our bodies must deal with gravity like any other material structures. When we are out of balance, gravity drags us down, just as it drags down a building that has lost its architectural integrity. Whether from poor posture, injury, illness or emotional distress, an unbalanced body is at war with gravity. We experience this war with gravity as pain, stress, and depleted energy. When the body loses its architectural integrity, fascia shortens and thickens in characteristic patterns of strain and tightness in order to shore us up against gravity’s ever present influence. To the Rolfer’s trained eyes, slouched bodies with heads too far forward or hyper erect bodies which bow backward, knock knees or bowed legs, flat feet or high arches, excessive spinal curvature, all display complicated patterns of strain, tightness, and thickening in the muscles and fascia. Through refined and intelligent pressure applied by the hands of the Rolfer, fascia is softened and lengthened, allowing the body to right itself effortlessly in gravity.
Like many other approaches, Rolfing is capable of releasing the body from its restrictions, but unlike every other manipulative system, East or West, Rolfing is unprecedented in its being the first and only system to have conceived and succeeded in organizing the whole body in gravity.
A number of different schools of bodywork have evolved directly from Rolfing. Many schools are training effective practitioners whose skills benefit many people. Yet, almost all these schools of bodywork either consciously or unconsciously have abandoned the principles and techniques essential to Rolfing’s vision of how to organize the body in gravity in favor of simple release techniques.
Few people realize that much of what goes by the name of “deep tissue therapy” and “myofascial release techniques” have their origins in Rolfing. Because of the proliferation of deep tissue therapy, people may mistakenly consider Rolfing to be a deep tissue technique. But as Dr. Rolf observed years ago, the concept of deep tissue implies the concept of surface tissue. As every Rolfer knows, in the attempt to organize and integrate the body in gravity, one certain way to unbalance the body is to manipulate the deep tissue at the expense of the surface tissue.
Over the years, Rolfing has pioneered and evolved into a sophisticated and precise technique for manipulating the myofascia. It has created an advanced Rolfing series that combines an even more refined sense of touch with powerful movement education.
Through the work of the Rolf Institute and its gifted faculty and practitioners, Rolfing continues to be the leader and pioneer in soft tissue manipulation, body integration, and movement education.
Rolfing practitioners are trained and certified only by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration.