WHAT IS ROLFING, structural integration?
Rolfing is a hands-on, systematic process of unwinding or releasing the tissues of the body, and consequentially the mental and emotional processes (all aspects of the psyche) from fixated holding patterns.
Humans imitate each other via mirror neurons. This is valuable, allowing for communication and acceptance. We consciously and unconsciously learn how to physically be in the world by imitating first our primary families, and later on our peers.
Moving how a parent moves, we adopt not necessarily the most efficient, effective, or authentically expressive walk. When humans holds their shoulders high, put their heads forward, round their chest, cross their arms, and many other large and subtle expressions, these are messages being communicated. When we imitate through mirror neurons, we are borrowing others' messages. If we borrow these messages for a long period of time, they become our messages. Both functional movement and physical expression shape the way we present ourselves and fixate us in behavioral patterns. Unwinding from this is part of what it means to differentiate. Through differentiation and integration we are allowed into the present and become more fully aware.
Holding patterns may be fixated through behavior, habits, beliefs, impact traumas, repetitive physical function (i.e. the way you work at your job, or the way you exercise), as well as ancestral structural patterns. Rolfers assume that many of these fixations are no longer useful or representative of you. We work with the idea that the body is uniquely intelligent and that the patterns that are still serving you well won't be lost. In this way, we believe we only add nuance, and do not subtract ability.
Integration, in a Rolfing context, is a way of adopting a manageable amount of change – each session or each week – and then experiencing yourself with this change throughout the week, allowing it to fully realize. Changes from Rolfing are often felt as freer range of movement in a specific area of the body and more overall economy.
The Ten Hours of Rolfing asks for 10 hours of work over the course of 10 or 20 weeks. The experience continues with assimilation over time.