Monday, August 21, 2017

The Dr. Ida P. Rolf Method Structural Integration

What You Should Know

Dr. Ida P. Rolf originated a peerless and definitive approach to human health and well being. She named it Structural Integration. The nickname Rolfing® took hold. You may know it by that name.

Besides her original school there are now several others certified teaching according to Dr. Rolf's core thesis.

So, what is the point of it?

Structural Integration is an individualized training to learn to live with a healthy relationship in respect to the demands of Gravity on our bodies. In plain architectural terms, which any designer or trade worker understands, that would be: a) the segments of the body stacked on top of one another, b) everything even (symmetrical), and c) level. This is in fact what we in the profession call correct ... normal. And, this is basic Anatomy, basic Physics. 

Like this: (That would be the figure on the right.)

But, the usual mostly looks like the figure to the left. 

If Dr. Rolf's Structural Integration has an enduring legacy beyond the individualized training process she taught, it is this: 

The human body by design functions optimally when it works with the force of Gravity. Children from an early age can be properly educated for this. And, people of all ages, varying backgrounds and levels of physical ability can be easily trained to enjoy a higher order of balance in the makeup of their bodies. 

It doesn't need much convincing. It's plain common sense. Very many athletes and dancers cultivate this potential as an integral part of their training. Less inner friction, more creative options.

So what? What's in it for you?

Think unstressed, effortlessly upright, vital, graceful, present.

For the average person, this is probably still news. Because being out of balance and disorganized in the makeup of our bodies is so commonplace — as Dr. Rolf observed — it goes unnoticed. As such. We are "... at war with Gravity"; perceiving a threatening world, acting out defensively and aggressively.

For most of us, it's "Just the way I am". Born that way. Fine. Be any way you want. That's an option. Just maybe the first step is to become aware that there are options in this matter. 

How it goes ...

We do grow bigger and stronger as we mature. How the parts actually come to fit together, there's a whole lot of learning built into that. Just notice, for example, how we walk. We all have the same parts. But, each has a rather characteristic individually recognizable pattern. That is in the details of how we've learned to use our bodies, and consequently how they've become moulded by repeated use. Our experience shapes us. Literally. 

What happened? Problem is that we are all mostly self taught in terms of using our bodies correctly, efficiently. We model our patterns after those significant others who may not present true balance in the makeup of their own bodies. 

Add in repeated inefficient patterns and bad habits ... some accidents and traumas. That's that guy on the left shown before in the drawing. That's most folks. Functioning. But short of our innate potential. Healthy mostly, if free of symptoms is your definition of healthy. But, over time these imbalances get set into the fabric of our bodies. It takes energy to keep this up. Late in life it all falls apart. 

Bodily balance is a learned facility. Much like we learn to stand, to walk and run, to skate. It's just that architectural balance in our bodies develops slowly, imperceptibly over time. We don't take it into account.

The good news is that the human body is plastic. It takes shape according to use. It can be trained to its natural efficient healthy pattern. 

It does take doing.

Now, just to do it! 


Rolfing® and Rolfer® are trademarks of the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration.