How does Rolfing® SI work?

Rolfing SI makes use of the plasticity of body tissues in order to improve physical shape and structural balance. More specifically, Rolfers address the connective tissue web which holds, surrounds and supports all the bones, muscles and organs of the body. Dr. Rolf called the connective tissue web “the organ of form.

The connective tissue web comprises fascia (the skin-like wrappings around muscle-fibers and muscles), tendons, ligaments, periostea (the “skin” of the bones), and the suspensory envelopes around all the internal organs, nerves, and blood vessels. The connective tissue web is three-dimensional and continuous throughout the body. It connects body parts and at the same time separates them neatly into compartments. In this way, the web establishes the relative positions of bones and muscles. It also determines how easily neighboring muscles can glide over each other. The web defines both physcial shape and mobility.

In this picture (right), you can see how I use my hands to release adhesions and strains, slowly stretch shortened fasciae and restore normal elasticity to the soft tissues. By applying just the right amount of pressure where the fascia is restricted, I evoke responses in the body that allow it to release and reposition itself. You could also think of it as sculpting in sync with respiratory and other rhythms of the body.

I often ask clients to visualize certain images or to make specific small movements to help re-inform patterns of perception and coordination. I may give ‘homework’ – simple stretching exercises as well as exploring a different way of sitting, standing, or walking – to enhance your awareness of the changes in your body.