Rolfing® works with the tensional network, or structural system of the body called fascia.
Fascia involves the alignment and movement of the body. When fascia is free, your alignment is better and you can move more freely. It is a tensional network, called tensegrity (Tensional Integrity), which exists in, around and through every tissue of the body. Rolfing works to balance these tensions.
Ideally, when balanced, the body feels resilient, elastic, fluid, vibrant and condusive to graceful movement. Forces can be absorbed and released without longstanding impact because the structure is spatially stable, yet flexible. Bones have space between them and muscles, tendons and ligaments are elastic. As force is applied to a tensegrally balanced body, it can absorb the force equally throughout. When it is released, the body can spring back to it’s original form.
But what happens when that is not the case, and the body feels restricted and strained?
Adhesions in the tensional fabric build up to create stability where there is none. This helps to hold a person up, but unnecessarily restricts their mobility. Learned patterns due to injuries, strains and emotional upsets put the body in positions that are not in alignment, and the the structural tissue has to create reinforcement, ever increasing over time. We adopt certain learned responses to how we have chosen to function and feel based on based on something that happened a long time before, as we try to maintain what felt safe in that startling or upsetting moment.
Rolfing-Structural Integration restores resiliency. This is what it can feel like:
When the hands apply pressure with a firm and organizing touch to sensing through the layer of skin to the fascia, that fascia softens and becomes malleable. A trained practitioner can gently move your body toward greater alignment or “harmony”.
Once structural restrictions in the tissue are released, and you stay attuned to the body’s awareness, you feel harmony. You begin to understand how to receive energy and pressure in a way that keeps muscles soft, balanced, adaptable and resilient.
You can learn a lot about functional movement during a Rolfing session. Guided, fundamental movements are designed to allow you to experience supportive alignment while releasing fascial adhesion at the same time. The body is reeducated toward greater freedom in movement. Go to the Rolf Movement page to learn more.