The Rolf Method of Structural Integration (also known as ‘rolfing’) is particularly well suited to long term structural issues such as back pain, joint pain or reduced mobility. In addition it is often used by athletes, dancers and yoga practitioners to enhance performance and reduce the likelihood of injury. It might be described as a cross between hands on bodywork and movement re-education.
It is sometimes used in a single session or 3-series format but the classic approach is a 10-session series that involves a full tour through the systems of the body. It is this holistic view of how the body works and the need to integrate the whole in order to deal with issues expressed in a particular joint, limb or part of the spine, that distinguishes Structural Integration from other forms of bodywork. To help with time and budget restrictions the 10 series may be broken up into three blocks of 3, 4 and 3 sessions.
What is a session like?
Each session typically begins with a short discussion and physical evaluation. A session normally lasts an hour. Most of the session is conducted on a massage type table. Although the process can be very relaxing, unlike most massage you will be encouraged to remain very much involved – actively releasing in response to the practitioner’s contact and making small, precise movements to help undo old patterns and begin to form new ones. Most sessions end with some seated ‘back work’ and sometimes some standing or moving orientation exercises. Male clients wear appropriate underwear or bathing trunks (not boxer shorts). Similarly female clients wear appropriate underwear (please avoid sports bras if possible) or a two piece swimsuit. Generally after the initial evaluation it is possible to use a blanket or sheet to protect your modesty and comfort during the session.
What conditions is it useful for?
Long term joint or postural pain (very commonly low back or sciatica) often responds well to Structural Integration as we help unravel / release the structural issues that underlie the condition rather than simply relieving the symptoms.
The approach however is not limited to those suffering from chronic pain. Athletes, dancers and yoga practitioners often find that a 10 series opens up new options and movement possibilities for them enhancing their physical practice and maximising their abilities, while reducing the likelihood of injury. Clients with psycho-emotional issues such as depression or anxiety have also found new freedom through often profound physical and psychological change.
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