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About Rolfing® SI

How Do I Get Out of Alignment?  
How Does Rolfing® SI Get Me Back into Alignment? 
   (What actually happens during a session?) 

Rolfing SI Resources

 How Do I Get Out of Alignment?

Connective tissue, or fascia, often becomes tight and dense due to injury, trauma, continued stress or repetitive motion. Even something as simple as using a computer mouse all day—every day—can eventually cause your forearm to "stick" in a palm down position. This is what can happen next:
  1. Your muscles don’t like to work too hard so, in response, the connective tissue becomes thick and dense to hold your forearm in that position.
  2. Because your arm is rotating inward, your shoulder starts to roll forward as well and gets stuck in the same way.
  3. Now, your shoulder pulls forward and your arm does not swing as freely.
  4. When your arm does not swing freely, your whole body has to change the way it walks to a way that is more effortful and less coordinated.
  5. This encumbered movement may lead to tightness and restrictions in your back, your hip…all the way down to your foot.
Your body unconsciously adapts this new pattern of walking, so that even if you stop using the mouse all the time, you still walk with reduced smoothness—which sets you up for more problems.

Imagine what can happen if you had broken your arm or ankle…or experienced whiplash? Ligament sprains and muscle strains—whether acute or chronic—can have just as detrimental of an effect to the body as broken bones.

Surgeries often produce scar tissue or adhesions that can restrict the natural motion of the body.

Emotional issues, such as loss of a loved one, discord in a relationship and mental issues—including stress on the job, an adjustment in home environment or worry about health—will also take a toll on your body.
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 How Does Rolfing® SI Get Me Back into Alignment?
(What actually happens during a session?)

Many Rolfers™ will help potential clients determine if Rolfing® Structural Integration is right for them by offering a complimentary consultation. The consultation is an opportunity to discuss personal goals, review body history, clarify expectations, and answer any questions. If a client decides to proceed, the Rolfer and the client will set an intention for the work. Some clients know right away that they want to systematically unclutter their bodies and clear body history, so they decide to commit to ten or more sessions while others just want to dip their toes into the pond and commit to a single session.

Once the initial consultation is complete, the Rolfing SI process—which actually began the moment the client contacted the Rolfer—advances to the actual bodywork session. Rolfing SI sessions begin with a brief check-in and assessment of a client’s structure and function. This usually involves breathing, lifting arms, doing knee bends, walking or other movements. This assessment clarifies goals, marks progress and helps to plan subsequent sessions. The client then lies on a padded table or sits on an adjustable bench while the Rolfer uses her hands, arms and bodyweight to put slow, sustained pressure in certain directions on the tissue of the client’s arms, legs, front and back. Directional pressure helps to reposition fascia, take slack out of an area, or release restriction.

Throughout a Rolfing SI session, the client is very much an active participant in the process. For instance, while working on the shoulder, the Rolfer may encourage the client to breathe into the sides of the body or to stretch the arm overhead. A Rolfer may also use slow guided-awareness work to facilitate more efficient and aligned movement or focus on better breathing. A client is strongly encouraged to be ‘present’ at all times during a session while at no time is this client asked to go beyond his or her level of comfort. A Rolfer who feels that her client is ‘checking out’ or bracing against a particular stroke speed or depth of pressure will adjust her approach to meet the needs of the client. Slowly and systematically, the Rolfer works with the client’s nervous system to allow the body to repattern itself at a pace that is effective and comfortable. This coordinated effort encourages reeducation and reprogramming of the body's movement patterns.

After the session, the client is asked to be present and aware of his or her body and to respond to any needs as they arise. Drinking plenty of water, going for a walk, or taking a warm bath is recommended. To promote and anchor new changes from the session, the client is often given ‘homework’ in the form of movement explorations or encouraged to journal about any new awareness or realizations that may have surfaced. The client then leaves the session integrated and prepared to explore a world of new possibilities in moving, standing and being!

Ideas and inspiration for this page courtesy of Chris Hayden, Certified Rolfer™ at
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 Rolfing SI Resources

•   Rolfing SI Articles by Victoria L. (Huss) Fuller - Nature’s Pathways
•   Rolfing SI – What to Expect 10 Series 
•   Fact Sheet – Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration 
•   Rolfing SI - General Demonstrations and Information
•   Rolfing SI in the Workplace
•   Rolfing SI and Injury Recovery (Minnesota Vikings)
•   Rolfing SI and Leon Fleischer

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