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What is Structural Integration?

Rolf Structural Integration: Movement in Gravity

Have you looked in the mirror lately? Gravity is the single most prevalent force in our lives: it either supports us or pulls us down. Poor posture is a result of gravity interacting with injuries, stress, work, play, and habits. Good posture often improves sports performance, relieves chronic pain, facilitates stress reduction, and supports long term health.

What is Rolf Structural Integration?

Rolf Structural Integration is a process of re-education of the body through movement and touch. It systematically releases patterns of stress and impaired function. The primary focus of Structural Integration is facilitating the relationship between gravity and the human body.

Structural Integration is a safe effective method of connective tissue manipulation and movement education. It can provide relief from impaired mobility and/or chronic pain due to injuries, repetitive occupational and exercise postures, automobile accidents and the accumulated stress of daily living. Rolf Structural Integration systematically balances your body's structure and function both internally and in relation to your living, working and recreational environments. Structural Integration is achieved through skillful lengthening and loosening of the whole body's myo-facial network, which holds our bones, muscles and internal organs in their respective positions and gives the body its distinctive contours and posture. Your posture is a lifelong accumulation of the ways in which you have lived in your body, including limping or favoring a body area - such as a foot, your lower back or shoulder - to avoid the pain of injury, restricting your breath when you feel "stressed out" or are experiencing strong emotions such as grief or anger, the fatigue of overwork or heavy responsibility and repetitive work or exercise patterns such as computer use, weightlifting or many miles of bicycling or running. As your body becomes better aligned through a series of Structural Integration sessions you will experience greater flexibility and ease of movement, a more relaxed posture, and a profound new awareness of living and being in your body. These changes are of fundamental importance in achieving lasting health, personal growth and wellbeing.

Benefits of Rolf Structural Integration:

Rolf Structural Integration attracts people with diverse backgrounds and interests. Many are seeking relief from chronic tension and pain or as an alternative to prolonged medication or surgery. Others notice increasingly poor posture and want to improve their appearance. Those who are athletically and musically inclined seek Structural Integration to improve their flexibility and performance. Some people seek out the Rolf Structural Integration process for self-discovery and personal growth, as a means of further realization of their potential. Following sessions people commonly report a remarkably heightened sense of body awareness, insight into the ways in which life's stresses affect their posture and movement, relief from chronic tension and pain, and greater flexibility and ease of movement.

Photographic records show that changes achieved during the Rolf Structural Integration 10-session series are still present years after the series is complete. As our bodies continue to change after Structural Integration due to injuries, accidents, and stressful times, additional work may be useful as part of your ongoing health maintenance program.

How does Rolf Structural Integration feel?

(Or in other words, does it hurt?!!) Interestingly enough most people who have opinions about Structural Integration being painful have never experienced the process. Much of this reputation for pain came from the early days when Structural Integration was first gaining public recognition. Since that time the process has greatly evolved. As far as the actual experience is concerned, the area being worked will vary in sensation and feeling depending upon injuries to an area or holding of chronic stress as well as other factors. Feelings can range from pleasurable release to momentary discomfort.

About the Founder:

Dr. Ida P. Rolf was the founder of Rolf Structural Integration. In 1920 she earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. For twelve years she worked at the Rockefeller Institute in Chemotherapy and Organic Chemistry departments. In the 1930's, challenged by a friend's disabilities and dissatisfied with the available medical treatment, Dr. Rolf explored Osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, Tantric Yoga, the Alexander Technique, Homeopathic medicine and Korzybski's work on consciousness. By the 1940's she had developed and experienced many breakthroughs with the work she did on chronically disabled persons unable to find help elsewhere. During her scientific research, she made a fundamental discovery about the body: the same network of connective tissue which contains and links the muscle system when it is healthy can be used to reshape it when it has been pulled out of proper order. Dr. Rolf further refined her technique and developed a training program to ensure that this important work would continue. Graduates are required to have extensive knowledge in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, body awareness and a mature sensitivity to psychological mediation.