Dr. Ida P. Rolf
Dr. Rolf (1896-1979) is the founder of Rolfing. She was one of the first women to receive a PhD in Biochemistry from Columbia in the 1920s. Ida then became an Associate Professor at the Rockefeller Institute for medical research, specializing in Organic chemistry and Chemotherapy. In 1927 she studied Mathematics and Atomic Physics at the Swiss Technical University in Zurich as well as homeopathy in Geneva. Rolfing was developed as a means for Ida to heal herself as well as find alternative therapy for her family. Ida practiced Hatha yoga, which is said to be somewhat of a foundation for her alternative thought to healing the body.
"This is the gospel of Rolfing:
When the body gets working appropriately,
the force of gravity can flow through.
Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself." ~ Ida P. Rolf
Ida combined her scientific knowledge of the body with yoga, osteopathy, chiropractic medicine and general semantics to develop the 10 series.
The 10 Series
For a person who has never experienced Structural Integration (SI) this is the introduction. The 10 series is 10 sessions, all with different goals and focus, in which specific areas of the body are addressed. The rate at which a 10 series is performed varies greatly and depends on the client. The beauty of the 10 series is that once this work is complete, the client typically may not receive further bodywork for months. The body can go through such great changes through a 10 series, that its ideal to take some time off from bodywork and just "feel."
Structural Integration is a reeducation of the nervous system. It changes how we move and feel in our body! We work with perception, movement and physical touch to help a client gain further understanding of body mechanics, injury and proprioception. The beauty of SI is that we look at the body as a whole, rather than individual parts. The method behind this ideology is fascia.
"An effective human being is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts." -Dr. Ida P. Rolf
Why we treat the body as a whole is because of fascia. If you can imagine the typical anatomy text book and how it represents the human body, you see the person covered in musculature. What this image does not show is fascia. Fascia is a connective tissue that completely encases our entire body, some people refer to it as the 'fascial net'. Not only does fascia encase our entire body, but it also encases every individual muscle and organ! This network holds our body together, but it also houses our nerve endings. Fascia is home to so many nerves that it is actually our richest sensory organ; we sense more from our fascia than our eyes! So this connective tissue plays a big role in how we perceive/feel and move our body (sensorimotor control and proprioception).
For this reason so much of the work affects a client's nervous system. We work with movement and the perception of one's own body to create a new dynamic or homeostasis. The physical touch during the session is only a fragment of what can be achieved, because "the session" keeps working, keeps assimilating into the client's structure, hours and days after. It is really through sensory perception (the nervous system), movement and application to everyday body mechanics that the structural work actually integrates into someone's life.
"Rolfing is the removal of preferences... Your preferences are barriers to growth." -Dr. Rolf