Extracted from The Back Pain Sourcebook by Stephanie Levin-Gervasi
Dr. Ida Rolf, a pioneer in body work, was a former organic chemist.
She perfected the technique structural integration called Rolfing.
According to Dr. Rolf, the traditional idea of standing up straight,
shoulders back, stomach in and head high, actually misaligns the spine
and deforms the skeleton.
Rolf's theory postulates that when the body's structure is corrected,
basic chemical changes take place within the body that improve over
Rolfing straightens the body by correcting the relationship between
major body segments, such as the head, shoulders, thorax, pelvis
and legs, toward vertical alignment. I've been rolfed once, and
it was no pleasure trip. It was, however, very effective.
Rolfers perform deep manipulation of the connective tissue called
collagen. The collagen changes from hands on energy applied, and
becomes more pliable.
In a sequence of hands-on manipulation, the Rolfers move the tissue
back toward symmetry and balance that the body demands. Sufficient
force is used to stretch and move the tissue. Pain may be momentarily
Rolfers speculate that pain frequently masks an emotional release.
Rolfing is not as subtle as other types of body work with its movements.
Sometimes people being rolfed recalls a traumatic episode associated
with the body.
Often emotion is released after or during a rolfing session. Rolfing
takes place in a series of ten weekly sessions. Sessions last approximately