Awareness Heals the Mind, Body & Spirit

What Is Rolfing® SI

what-is-rolfingNamed after its founder, Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing Structural Integration is a form of bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissues, called fascia, that permeate the entire body.



image-3More than fifty years ago, Dr. Rolf recognized that the body is inherently a system of seamless networks of tissues rather than a collection of separate parts. These connective tissues surround, support and penetrate all of the muscles, bones, nerves and organs. Rolfing Structural Integration works on this web-like complex of connective tissues to release, realign and balance the whole body, thus potentially resolving discomfort, reducing compensations and alleviating pain. Rolfing SI aims to restore flexibility, revitalize your energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body.

Essentially, the Rolfing process enables the body to regain the natural integrity of its form, thus enhancing postural efficiency and your freedom of movement.

“Fascia is the web of thin elastic tissue which exists in continuous layers throughout the body. Muscles and bones are organized and supported in this web, as are all the elements that make up a human body. Fascia is what makes the shape we recognize as an individual. The position, tone, and condition of fascia make John’s legs recognizable as John’s, or Elaine’s neck and head easy to identify even at a distance.

It is usual in anatomical description to separate the body into its elements, into bones, muscles, organs, glands, nerves, etc. In this type of description, fascial tissue does not seem sufficiently complex to warrant extensive attention. But if we view the body in terms of its functional development, a different picture emerges.

A human body develops from three types of tissue: the ectoderm, which becomes nerves, skin, sense organs, etc.; the endoderm, which becomes internal organs, lymph, etc.; and the mesoderm which becomes supportive tissue such as bones, tendons, muscles, fascia, etc. Bones, tendons, muscles, fascia are then recognized as chemically one basic tissue with varying degrees of elasticity, stability, mutability according to its chemical composition.

All these derivatives of the mesoderm together comprise what Dr Rolf calls the organ of structure, and this composite is capable of change, of reorganization. This is true of the most elastic of these tissues—fascia—but it is true as well of the hardest—bone. The difference is one of time; fascia changes immediately and extensively; bone changes over a longer time span and is conservative in its degree of change. Superficial fascia is one type of fascia which lies close to the skin in a thin elastic sheet. Strain in this outermost fascial layer is usually an indication of stress at a deeper level.” -Rosemary Feitis 1978

image-1Theory and Principles of Rolfing Structural Integration The Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration has continued Dr. Rolf’s profound inquiry into how to enhance the whole person by organizing the body in gravity. Some of the more important developments of the work since Dr. Rolf’s passing are also what now distinguishes Rolfing Structural Integration from all other forms of structural integration.

Some of these developments include:

Principles of Intervention Rolfing SI training begins with a thorough presentation of the Ten-Series developed by Dr. Rolf. Over the years, The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration faculty have further articulated the principles on which the original series was based. By understanding these principles, it is now possible for practitioners to develop strategies of intervention that recognize the unique needs of the individual client and to work outside of the Ten-Series when appropriate.

Gentle Techniques

Over the past 40+ years The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration faculty have developed a wide range of techniques for working within the client’s level of comfort while producing even more profound results. Rolfers are taught to empower clients through communication and to respond appropriately to client feedback, establishing a safe pace and comfortable depth of work for each client.

Joint Mobilization Techniques

The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration faculty has developed a range of soft tissue techniques to release articular motion restrictions that impede whole body organization. These skills and techniques increase the Rolfer’s effectiveness in working with many common structural problems.

The Personal Experience

Because Rolfing SI is a holistic technique, it recognizes that changes in structure will impact the whole person, physically, emotionally, and energetically. The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration recognizes that, ultimately, it is the person’s own experience of the work that is of primary importance. This plays a central role in the transformational aspects and potential of Rolfing Structural Integration.

The Integration of Structure and Function through Rolf Movement® Integration

While in Rolfing Structural Integration, the Rolfer works with the client to release structural conflicts and allow free, fluid movement, Rolf Movement Integration, helps clients become aware of their inhibiting and limiting movement patterns and offers more efficient ways to perform daily activities. Rolfing SI is equally concerned with how people actually experience and use their bodies every day as with their structural organization in gravity. This unique blend of both, the functional and structural aspects of Rolfing SI, is a distinctive feature of the training at RISI.

Benefits of Rolfing
History of Rolfing
Rolf Movement Education