What is Structural Integration? - The Ida P. Rolf Method

It was Dr. Rolf's theory that the cause of human discomfort, both physical and emotional may lie in our internal connective tissue and the relationship it has with the earth’s gravitational field.

The work is a physically applied practice, administered by a qualified practitioner, typically in a series of ten sessions with the objective of maximizing individual well-being of body, mind & spirit.

She believed an optimal, more natural alignment for each of us – an easier interaction between self and gravity. When through external factors this alignment is lost, it causes internal stress that can result in real discomfort. Prevent or correct the misalignment, and you may eliminate or limit the stress. This is at the heart of the work.

Linking and interweaving with all internal structures within the human frame is the fascial web. This pliable connective tissue unites the structure of the inner form and divides its individual functioning units.

Fascia is constantly changing and adapting in response to demands placed on an individual's body. It reacts to particular physical damage – to a joint for example – by producing extra material to enhance stability and support. However, it can produce more than is necessary. In time, rather than stabilizing movement it can actually reduce mobility, leading to a changed postural position and altered patterns of movement.

Rolf-in (Structural Integration) achieves remarkable results by manipulation of the myofascial system, the body’s soft connective tissue network that surrounds and penetrates the muscles and other body structures. This fascial web interconnects and communicates to sustain the whole body. 

The fascia of the body is the “wrapping” for muscle groups, individual muscles and even muscle fibers. Being a collagen, fascia can change consistency, just like gelatin, from a solid “gel” state to a liquid state under the influence of heat, pressure, and/or friction. This is accomplished through the different physical parts of the body that the practitioner uses to induce this state.

Imbalances in the body, especially old injuries, create fascial thickenings that can remain and intensify over many years. These fascial thickenings “set” the body in a pattern of uneconomical movement and habitual imbalance.  When a body is out of equilibrium, or following an injury, the fascia shortens and thickens. This causes compensating reverberations, torsion and tension throughout the body.

It is like a spider’s web in which a fly gets caught causing a tightening of the web in that area. Everything gets pulled towards the snag, especially as the fly moves around. 

Fortunately fascia is susceptible to change and reorganization. Through appropriate pressure applied by the hands, the fascia softens and elongates, thereby, creating new lengthening and opening of the structure.

Alessandra Lior, RN                  303-502-6152                  alessa44@yahoo.com