What is Rolfing?

Rolfing Structural Integration is a unique approach to understanding how a body can best be aligned and freed to move with ease. Since each person’s bone structure is different, there is no single idea of what a perfect body should look like. Optimal alignment is unique for each individual.


Rolfing focuses on the connective tissue that holds the musculoskeletal system together. Muscles and bones respond to changes in the connective tissue. Connective tissue is made up mostly of collagen and includes the fascia, a web beginning just below the skin that wraps around every muscle and organ in the body. When we are injured, have surgeries, or live with poor postural habits, the fascia contracts and thickens, limiting the motion of muscles, bones, nerves, and organs and pulling the body out of line.


As a Rolfer, I use slow, carefully directed pressure to lengthen fascia and release restrictions. The pressure used depends on the depth and density of the tissue. Sometimes the work feels like pleasant stretching, and at other times there is a warm sensation. Many clients experience elimination of pain and greater freedom of movement after the first session. Some conditions require fewer sessions and others more. I often address the whole body structure in ten carefully sequenced sessions. The goal of Rolfing is to make lasting, helpful changes to the body in a period of weeks or months. After completing a Rolfing series, clients may choose to return periodically to address new issues or to keep in optimal alignment.


Rolfing is different from other manual therapies because a Rolfer pays careful attention to the way that each part of the body relates to the whole. If a pattern of chronic pain has developed, usually it can be seen throughout the body. When a person comes to me with foot pain for instance, I look at the person’s gait to track down both the causes and the effects of the problem. This means considering the way that weight is transferred from the hip joint, through the knee, and into the ankle and each joint of the foot. If the pain is addressed in isolation, the problem will probably return. Also, the injury or restriction can throw other parts of the body out of line, causing problems elsewhere. This happens because the body attempts to compensate for injuries to maintain balance and continue functioning. I work to eliminate these compensatory patterns and restore order and harmony to the overall structure.