What is Rolfing?

When I am asked what I do for a living, and I tell them I am a Certified Rolfer™, I am usually met with a very inquisitive look, and once they find out I am not a roofer (ha!), I am asked the question, “What is a Rolfer?!” or “What is Rolfing®?” Then I go on to explain the amazing benefits of Rolfing, some of its history, and this usually opens up great conversation to what people are battling in their bodies in order to feel good and move well.

While I know I will continue to explain what Rolfing® Structural Integration is, I figure this is one more medium where I can share to the masses more about Rolfing, so this is going to be getting back to the basics.

Rolfing® Structural Integration is a form of body work focused on the improvement of posture, movement, and overall sense of well-being in the body.  This is accomplished through working with the soft tissues of the body, with primary focus on the connective tissue, also known as fascia.

This pervasive network of tissue is involved down to the cellular level, encases muscle fibers, and connects everything, to well, everything!  There are many things that impact fascia, from stress to injuries to poor posture habits.  When there are imbalances in our structure, it causes the soft tissues of the body to come under stress and get shorter, and this is usually accompanied by pain and dysfunction in the body.

Rolfing works to unwind these restrictions, leaving clients standing taller, feeling more connected in their bodies, moving effortlessly, feeling lighter in their bodies, performing better in their daily activities, and so much more.

The practice of Rolfing originated with Dr. Ida P. Rolf as she explored holistic solutions to her and her children’s health issues.  With roots in osteopathy, homeopathy, chiropractic, and yoga–all practices based in proper alignment–Dr. Rolf created the work of Rolfing, with the belief that the body works more effectively and efficiently when it is aligned in relationship to gravity.

As Rolfers, we ask the question, “how can greater ease be found for this body.”  When that ease is found, the structures are aligned and balanced in relationship to each other, the body is starting to get back to the natural integrity of its structure, and it wants to stay there.  And don’t we all desire feeling greater ease in our bodies, and experience more sustained results over time?  I know I do!

I will finish with a great quote from Dr. Rolf, that really resonated with me the first time I read it.

Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment. Those over forty may call it old age. And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity.- Dr. Ida P. Rolf

I hope this was helpful in understanding a little more about what Rolfing is and what Rolfers do. To answer the question that arises with many people I talk with, “Do I want to be Rolfed?”–yes, the answer is always yes!

Stay tuned for my next article discussing in more detail how Rolfing is different from other bodywork practices like chiropractic and massage therapy.