What is Rolfing?

Posted on 21 Jun 2009 01:18

Rolfing, otherwise known as Structural Integration, is named after Dr. Ida P. Rolf. Structural Integration is the outcome of her work from the 1920's all the way up to her death in 1979 although most sources say it was "created" in the 1960's.

This method of manipulation, instead of focusing on the muscles, is aimed at the fascia, which is the protective layer of connective tissue which surrounds the muscles, bones, and organs.

It is based on the theory that the fascia hold and maintain tensions in the body from the stress of daily activity, injury, as well as the pull of gravity. The video below does an excellent job of explaining, in some, detail, how it is supposed to work.

The practioners of Rolfing are known as Rolfers® or Rolf Movement Practitioners ® and it has divided into two main schools of thought: The Guild for Structural Integration and The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration.

There are several offshoots of Rolfing developed by her early followers and students:

  • Hellerwork® - developed by Joseph Heller, it is somewhat less forceful in it's manipulations.
  • Zentherapy® - developed by William "Dub" Leigh. Leigh used some movement therapies from Feldenkrais with structural integration (Rolfing). He also added Zen meditation and Triggerpoint Anatomy Therapy.
  • Soma -SOMA Neuromuscular Integration® - developed by Bill Williams Ph.D. and Ellen Gregory-Williams Ph.D. in 1979.
  • Aston Patterning® - Judith Aston created this in 1971 on the request of Ida Rolf, but she later when her own way to trademark it as her own separate technique.
  • Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI) -Created by Tom Myers, who is probably the most well known, in the strength and conditioning world, of Rolf's students owing to Myers's book Anatomy Trains. Myers was on of Ida's early students and Anatomy Trains is the result of the system he created for studying the lines of fascia. This work led him to a system of structural integration called Kineses Myofascial Integration (KMI). Before you get too caught up in the big words, though, realize that much of his work is nothing more than far-reaching conclusions based on scad evidence, or no evidence at all.


This page is provided by Ground Up Strength for information purposes only and should not take the place of professional medical advice. Although we have done our utmost to provide accurate and safe information, we are not medical professionals and the information on this page should not be taken as professional medical advice, or any other kind of medical advice. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Ground Up Strength and its administrators.

This page created 21 Jun 2009 01:18
Last updated 18 Jul 2016 18:45

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