Rolfing therapy was developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf. The goals for Rolfing are that the body will come into balance with its center of gravity. The body should be able to move fluidly without any pain or discomfort. The head, neck and body should be free of tension, and you should be able to feel at home in your own body.
Very often we get out of balance for one reason or another. Automobile accidents are a common cause and effect of the body being injured, and thus pain and discomfort with limited mobility may be a constant companion. A case in point might be that a driver in a car was in a slight fender bender and suffered whiplash as a result. The driver might in turn seek out pain relief through structural manipulation with Rolfing therapy. The connective tissue in the neck and shoulders may need to be manipulated to relieve the pain of whiplash.
Another person may have difficulty in breathing due to structural changes in the connective tissue around the ribs. The Rolf professional may take pictures of this persons chest and back area. He/she may also evaluate the movement of each side of the chest when the person breathes in and out. Once the problem area has been identified Rolfing therapy can begin. After the treatment the client will be reassessed for improvements. The client should be able to breathe easier. The client should not have to labor to breathe. Over time the connective tissue that becomes stiff and constricts the ribs should break down enough to be more elastic.
The terms structural integration and Rolfing therapy are synonymous. The connective tissue of the body is restructured through touch, manipulation of soft tissue, and education of how to maintain elasticity and movement through posture and exercise. The process may be fairly slow; more than one series of 10 treatments may be necessary to achieve the wished changes in fascia structure.
Rolfing therapy can hurt, but most say it hurts in a good way. If the pain gets to be too intense, the client only needs to say it hurts. One only needs ask the Rolfer to lighten his/her touch if it becomes painful. If the client wants a deeper rub, the practitioner may not comply, because the Rolf professional is trying to target specific areas and thicknesses of connective tissue.
Often when people undergo 10 weeks of Rolfing therapy on areas such as the neck, trunk, pelvis and legs, they appear slimmer and even a bit taller due to the restructuring of the connective tissue. When the fascia becomes thick and stiff the connective tissue that connects muscles to skeletal attachments shorten, causing contractures. Once Rolfing treatment has begun the goal is to bring the body back into balance with its center of gravity.