What is Structural Integration

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What is Rolfing – Structural Integration

Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., developed Rolfing, previously knows as Structural Integration over 50 years ago. Dr. Rolf’s brilliant insight found that the body is more at ease and functions most effectively when its structure is balanced in gravity. Gravity accentuates the body’s imbalance and diminishes its flexibility. Based on these observations, she developed her original method of hands-on manipulation of the fascia, which later became known as Rolfing Structural Integration. Rolfing reduce gravity’s adverse effects on the body.

The body is a system of seamless networks of fascia tissues rather than a collection of separate parts.  The connective tissue/fascia, surround, support and penetrate all of the muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments and organs. Rolfing works on this sticky gooey weblike and very complex connective tissue to release, realign and balance the whole body.  It will resolve discomfort, reduce compensations and alleviate pain. It restores the body’s flexibility and holding patterns that were caused by overuse or straining during exercise, accidents, surgery, injuries, ill fitting tack on your horse’s back, a kick from another horse, rider imbalance, poll damage etc.

When fascia dries up due to an injury or lack of movement, over time, the body naturally builds up holding patterns as the horse or person will compensate and shift their weight to release pain and ease of movement. The free natural movement becomes restricted as the fascia sheet, that wraps around the muscle to assist the smooth gliding effect of the muscle over and in-between one another, dries up and fuzz builds up. When the fascia dries it holds the muscle back, therefore not extending to its full natural capacity leading to a shorter, choppy stride, inability to bend freely both ways and not be able to fully use its hind-end. The muscle will start pulling on the vertebrae and bones causing more and more mis-alignment. Naturally this is when most people will call a chiropractor or massage therapist. Massage works on the muscle and tissue, whereas rolfing works in-between the spaces. When the fascia sheet is tight and pulling the muscle away from the vertebrae/bone, it will keep pulling the bone/vertebrae out of place.  It is therefore, important to release the holding patterns and have the fascia stretched out to its original form to enable the muscle to sit and stay in its natural position so it doesn’t pull on the bone/vertebrae. Over time, the holdings will zig zag through the body and gravity will pull the body out of alignment. By putting the horse  through a 5 session series it will soon have his free, natural, more powerful, graceful range of motion back.  Once the horse’s body is back in its natural aligned state, it is important for the rider to be equally balanced and aligned as well.  If the rider is off balance, leaning more to one side, the horse will have  to compensate to carry the weight of the rider to even it out and therefore developing holding patterns all over again. If you are interested in finding out more about Rolfing on the human body, visit my Reference & Research page   My amazing Certified Advanced Rolfer, Jason Brhelle, can be contacted at  www.touch-work.com in Langley, BC.

Rider leaning to the right