What are the benefits?
Rolfing Structural Integration has the ability to dramatically alter a person's posture and structure. Rolfing SI can potentially resolve discomfort, release tension and alleviate pain. Rolfing SI aims to restore flexibility, revitalize your energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body. The genius of the work rests on Dr. Rolf's insight that the body is more at ease and functions most effectively when its structure is balanced in gravity.
Athletes, dancers, children, business professionals, and people from all walks of life have benefited from Rolfing SI. People seek Rolfing SI as a way to ease pain and chronic stress, and improve performance in their professional and daily activities. It's estimated that more than 1 million people have received Rolfing work.
Research has demonstrated that Rolfing SI creates a more efficient use of the muscles, allows the body to conserve energy, and creates more economical and refined patterns of movement. Research also shows that Rolfing SI significantly reduces chronic stress and changes in the body structure. For example, a study showed that Rolfing SI significantly reduced the spinal curvature of subjects with lordosis (sway back); it also showed that Rolfing SI enhances neurological functioning.
Some of the many benefits people have experienced with Rolfing Structural Integration are:
- Reduced pain
- Increased flexibility
- Improved posture
- An enhanced sense of body awareness
- Less stress and a greater sense of ease
The term "Rolfing" is the nickname that many clients and practitioners give this work. It is now a registered service mark in 38 countries.
How Does it Work?
Rolfing SI works with your body’s internal system of flexible support, otherwise known as fascia. These connective tissues surround every muscle fiber, encase all joints and even have a role in the nervous system. It is helpful to think of the fascial system as an intricate internal guide-wire network for the body. If one set of support wires becomes tight or out of place, the excess tension may appear as nagging joint pain, muscle soreness, or a postural shift.
To correct internal misalignments, a Rolfer uses mild, direct pressure to melt or release facial holdings. This allows the body to find health through the re-establishment of balance. It is currently believed that the slow, deep strokes of Rolfing SI stimulate intra-fascial mechanoreceptors (sensory neurons of the muscle nerve), which in turn trigger the nervous system to reduce the tension of the related muscles and fascia.
Put another way, Rolfing SI allows the brain and nervous system to “re-boot” areas of the body that are receiving too much electrical stimulation. This can often be felt as chronically tight or sore muscles. Once a healthy level of muscle contraction is established, the person’s entire structure is free to express a pain-free form.
Is Rolfing® Structural Integration for you?
According to Dr. Rolf, all bodies have some degree of disorder and compensation in their structure; therefore, she believed that everyone, children and adults, should receive Rolfing Structural Integration. In fact, in her global vision, she imagined a more evolved and structurally efficient human species as a result of Rolfing SI. However, we realize that most potential clients need more compelling reasons to undergo this powerful transformative sequence of sessions.
Those who have a history of injury or trauma and notice that the effects of their often minor injuries are beginning to interfere with their everyday lives should consider Rolfing SI. In many cases these individuals have tried traditional medical treatments or exercise to reduce or counteract the long-term effects of old injuries with varying degrees of success. This group might include former and current athletes, musicians, performers or those engaged in physically demanding jobs, and those who choose not to accept the notion that the quality of their lives must suffer simply because they are aging. In fact, all adults of any age who suffer from any limiting physical discomfort can absolutely benefit from Rolfing SI, as long as there are no signs of a nervous disorder or a deeper pathology. For most of us, Rolfing SI, combined with appropriate movement therapy, such as Rolf Movement® Integration offers a long-lasting solution for connective tissue problems.
Even if someone has not experienced injury and/or trauma, Rolfing SI may offer benefits to enhance overall body conditioning and functionality. Whether you are athletic, perform tasks with repetitive-motion in daily activity, or are just looking to feel more “at home” in your body, Rolfing sessions may restore flexibility, increase balance, revitalize energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body.
Rolfing SI could also be helpful for more than just the physical, including those who find that their physical limitations prevent them from attaining a higher level of spiritual or emotional well-being. Frequently, many on this path assume that the body is something to be transcended rather than something to be honored and loved. For these individuals, Rolfing SI can serve as an educational resource that allows them a more intimate and comfortable relationship with their physical body, which in turn, allows a greater ability to experience heightened awareness. Interestingly enough, as the body transforms physically, it often transforms on other planes as well, so that, while Rolfing SI’s primary focus is the connective tissue system, it frequently has an even more dramatic effect in seemingly unrelated areas such as the cognitive, emotional or spiritual. Exactly how this happens is still a matter of much debate and speculation. However, the results of the work were of much greater importance than the how or why for Dr. Rolf. The genius of Rolfing SI is that it can affect so many people in so many ways and continue to reveal new possibilities.
Balance your body and find your natural line
"The stronger you are the more confident you become. The injuries (from the accident) left me off balance until I discovered the benefits of Rolfing bodywork, and I've been winning ever since."
"Rolfing [SI] gave me the elasticity to make my first day of skiing look like I was in mid-season form. When people asked me what I'd been doing, I said you won't believe it, but it was Rolfing bodywork. The first time I tried Rolfing bodywork the rejuvenating effects were incredible. Since then I have been recommending Rolfing [SI] to others."
Other pro-athletes who have benefited from Rolfing SI include Michelle Kwan and Elvis Stojko, '98 Olympic Silver Medal figure skaters; Phil Jackson, former Chicago Bulls' coach; Charles Barkley of the Houston Rockets; Rob Moore of the Phoenix Cardinals, Tim Salmon, CA Angel baseball star; the Phoenix Suns basketball team; Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburg Penguins; Bob Tewksbury, pitcher for the Minnesota Twins; Edwin Moses, Olympic track athlete; Joe Greene, '96 U.S. Olympic Bronze Medal long jumper; and Ivan Lendl, former tennis champion.
"Those dissatisfied with other back pain treatments often consult a Rolfer™, whose unique premises and methods are often effective in reducing pain and dysfunction when other approaches have failed."
Low back dysfunction is a common cause of pain and disability. Though its mechanism is often unclear, evidence suggests several factors as possible contributors, including unhealed soft tissue injury, pressure on nerves, chronic muscle tension or insufficient muscle tone, insufficient circulation and fluid movement, and even emotional stress and hostility. And, outcomes of treatment — be it medication, physical therapy, exercise, chiropractic or massage — are often unsatisfactory.
Those dissatisfied with other back pain treatments often consult a Rolfer™, whose unique premises and methods are often effective in reducing pain and dysfunction when other approaches have failed. A Rolfer believes that many musculoskeletal problems can be mitigated or resolved by balancing the length and tone of soft tissues throughout the entire body. This view is crystallized in Dr. Rolf's admonition, "Where you think it is — it ain't"; in other words, the place where it hurts is not necessarily the source of the problem.
A Rolfer evaluates the client's entire body structure, considering not only the low back as the locus of the symptoms, but also the quality of support available to the low back from the pelvis, hips, legs and feet, as well as the mobility of the body segments above. Do the middle and upper back, shoulders, neck and head engage each other with well-coordinated grace? A Rolfer works with the connective tissue, which not only surrounds every muscle, joint and organ, but also functions as the body's organ of support, to balance the span and tone of the connective tissue network as a whole.
Though recipients of Rolfing Structural Integration often report mitigation of low back pain and dysfunction, scientific research concerning its effects is just beginning. Several promising hypotheses of how the Rolfer's methods might alleviate chronic musculoskeletal pain merit investigation, including:
- Balanced length and tone throughout the body, including improved support from the pelvis, hips, legs and feet, and improved coordination in the mid and upper back, shoulders, neck and head, might lessen the strain the low back bears in daily activities. Perhaps reduced strain allows injured tissues to heal and reduces the odds of re-injury, which would mitigate chronic pain.
- Increased pliability of the connective tissues might enhance circulation and fluid flow in regions where nociceptive amplifiers — substances that heighten and/or accelerate the brain's perception of pain — have previously accumulated.
- More balanced span and tone throughout the connective tissue network might relieve nerve compression and irritation through improved alignment of joints and/or increased pliability of scar tissues that have entrapped nerves.
- Greater mobility and reduced tension in the soft tissues of the low back and sacrum might facilitate relaxation, as well as reduce the intensity of negative emotions that can exacerbate the symptoms.
At this point in time, these are only theories. Good scientific research needs to be done before we know which of these effects, if any, actually do contribute to the alleviation of chronic pain. Any of these hypotheses might also account in part for the therapeutic effects of chiropractic, osteopathy, massage or acupuncture. What sets Rolfing Structural Integration apart from these other disciplines is:
- its emphasis on balancing span, tone and mobility throughout the entire body,
- its method of working extensively and deeply within the connective tissues to produce long-lasting improvements, and
- its design as a limited intervention.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Overall cost savings to the company in such areas as turnover, unemployment costs, health insurance, training, and productivity are estimated to be about $2,500/employee/year. Certified Advanced Rolfer™ Working On-Site Helps to Reduce Problems Related to RSI
According to Larry Miller, Director of Human Resources at Starkey Laboratories, workers' compensation costs were "going through the roof" when he introduced a new element into Starkey's employee wellness program in 1992. The cost increases were due in large part to the growing number of repetitive stress injuries (RSI), including carpal tunnel syndrome.
That year he brought in Siana Goodwin, Certified Advanced Rolfer, to provide Rolfing SI on-site for employees with RSI symptoms. For the last six years, Sandra L. Jones, Certified Rolfer, has been the on-site Rolfer at Minnesota-based Starkey Laboratories (one of the world's largest custom hearing aid manufacturers), with dramatic results:
- The year before the program began, 7 employees had carpal tunnel surgery.
- There have been no carpal tunnel surgeries at the Eden Prairie plant in the last 6 years. After receiving Rolfing SI, one employee who'd had surgery and was recommended for another never needed the second surgery. The cost of the Rolfing work was about $600; the cost of surgery would have been about $35,000!
- Starkey's modification factor (a measure of risk that determines insurance premiums) dropped from .92 to .61, an incredibly low rate. The average national MOD factor is .95, with .85 considered highly desirable, especially in the injury-prone manufacturing sector.
- Starkey's workers' compensation costs decreased 92% in seven years.
Starkey has benefited in many other ways from their on-site Rolfing program, including reduced absenteeism and increased productivity. Furthermore, Starkey's cost savings in areas such as turnover, unemployment costs, health insurance, training and productivity are estimated at about $2,500/employee/year.
Starkey recently purchased two other hearing aid companies and in 2005 built a new facility in Eden Prairie, increasing to 1300 the number of employees there with access to Rolfing SI. In 2005, Erin Herdina, Certified Rolfer, began to bring Rolfing SI to the 228 employees at the plant in Glencoe, MN. Also in 2005, Jon Martine, Certified Advanced Rolfer, brought Rolfing to Starkey's plant in Colorado Springs, CO, where 27 employees receive Rolfing on a volunteer basis.
This program was recognized as one of the "best practices" by the Minnesota Quality Awards in 1996.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you interested in experiencing the process of Rolfing Structural Integration but need more information? To discover more, please click below for the answers to frequently asked questions, or call us and we will be happy to chat to you.