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   Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment. Those over forty may call it old age. And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity. 

                                   Dr. Ida P. Rolf

     Rolfing is a method of manual therapy and movement education that addresses an individual's relationship with gravity.  Dr. Ida P. Rolf Ph.D., who developed the work more than 50 years ago, had the insight that a person's body is more at ease and functions more effectively when its structure is balanced in gravity. Rolf's method of structural integration addresses imbalances in the body that create discomfort, pain, compensatory patterns, and loss of flexibility.  

     Dr. Rolf taught her techniques in the framework of the Rolfing Ten Series.  This system ensures that the whole-body compensatory patterns of the individual are addressed, not just the current symptom manifesting in the moment.  Though the pain might be felt most in the shoulder, that shoulder lives in constant relationship to the arms, ribcage, spine, pelvis, legs, and feet.  The concept of tensegrity elegantly explains this interconnected nature of the fascial matrix.  By addressing the whole body, a Rolfer helps the individual explore and possibly change, for the long term, these whole-body patterns.  In this way, not only is the shoulder pain addressed, but also the relationship of all the parts so that the individual can find greater ease of movement, balance, flexibility, and grace. 

     Rolfers work with the connective tissue system, also called fascia.  Fascia, rather like the membranes of an orange, wraps the muscles and gives them their shape.  Fascia is meant to be fluid and flexible so that our bodies can adapt to the different demands placed on it throughout a lifetime.  However, fascia can shorten, thicken, and form adhesions between layers in response to repetitive stresses placed on the tissue.  This can happen when we get "stuck" in poor posture, when demands on our body are too repetitive, when our bodies undergo physical or emotional trauma, or even when we get stuck in belief systems and attitudes that hold are bodies in certain relatively fixed patterns.  As we get older, too, the proportion of collagen fibers in our fascia increases more and more.  We lose our flexibility, our fluidity, our adaptability.  Rolfing, in its manual form, works to bring fascia back to its natural flexibility and resilience.  Rolfing movement work helps introduce new movement patterns into a person's repertoire.  The individual then has more choices about how to function in daily life.