Balancing the Body with the Gravitational Field of the Earth
Structural and Movement Integration
Structural and Movement Integration (Rolfing®) is a comprehensive system of hands-on, fascia (or connective tissue) manipulation and movement education which releases stress patterns in the body. Fascia is the whole-body membrane that envelops and supports every structure in the body, allowing for the coordination of muscles, tendons and bones during movement.
The method was developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf, an American biochemist who dedicated her life to studying the human capacity for healing. Dr. Rolf understood that our bodies are seamless networks of tissue, rather than a collection of parts. There is an inherent intelligent order or potential for organization that remains available, even in the presence of chronic tension, bad posture, stress, trauma, etc. This organization - how the parts fit in as a whole - is essential for our wellbeing. Rolfing optimizes our structural order, enhancing our balance and wellbeing.
Dr. Rolf’s paradigm-shifting insights allowed for a greater capacity to see and understand the human organism. Her approach paid particular attention to the body’s relationship with gravity. She observed that, when properly aligned, the body rests with ease in the field of gravity. This led to her assessment that, “Gravity is the therapist.” The technique developed over many decades of study, teaching and practice in the U.S. and in Europe.
Dr. Rolf was a pioneer in the field of mind-body health and her insights were decades ahead of her time. Increasingly medical models are evolving to incorporate a more comprehensive understanding of chronic health conditions, echoing Dr. Rolf’s insights about the relationship between physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
We come home to our bodies with Gravity's support
We come to a life of interconnectedness. From the moment of conception until our last breath, we are connected - to a family, a social group, culture, natural environment, etc.
These early experiences of relating (e.g. how we are held and touched) teach us how to be and live in the world. They offer a structure that supports us and at the same time shapes and deeply conditions us.
All of this takes place in our bodies, and in the gravity field.
The physical and psychological patterns that we develop in response to our conditionings (including genetic factors, accidents, illnesses, trauma) are reflected in the fascia and in our response to the gravitational force of the Earth. How we breathe, stand, move, how we orient and relate in space, carry the stamp of all we have learned.
We are given practical tools to investigate the possibilities that open when attention is given to how we engage with/in the gravity field, through exercises that engage our natural capacity to connect, stabilize and orient ourselves from a place of curiosity and creativity instead of repeating the same old patterns.
This restores flexibility to the nervous system and rewires the bodymind.
As we begin to unveil this process and start to understand in our own bodies how to find new ways to relate to the ground and the space, we discover a sense of dynamic stability and flow. Gravity becomes an invitation to relax and surrender, rather than to resist or collapse. Coming step by step to a more harmonious relationship with gravity, our connection with ourselves and our whole environment reconfigures.
More about Rolfing:
"What is Rolfing – and can it fix my running injuries?” in The Guardian
“7 Things to Know About Rolfing If You Have Chronic Pain” in Healthline
“Det här är Rolfing: Slipp värk och bli mer rörlig” in Hälsa
Recent Developments in Rolfing Research: