Rolfing®/Body Systems Integration/Massage/Active Release Technique
Rolfing® Structural Integration ("Rolfing" or "SI") is a unique body therapy that utilizes hands-on connective tissue manipulation and movement education to balance the whole body in gravity. Rolfing was developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf over fifty years ago and continues to offer clients an unparalleled opportunity to improve their posture and movement patterns, and often reduce their pain symptoms.
Unlike other types of bodywork (such as massage), Rolfing is primarily concerned with integrating and balancing the body in gravity. The standing, sitting, and moving body are constantly assessed and reassessed during a session, making the changes Rolfing evokes particularly applicable to daily life where you need them most.
About Body Systems Integration
Body Systems Integration (BSI) is the name specific to the work of KimLien LaFitte at InsideOut Body Therapies. BSI utilizes the following modalities in order to help you find the right combination of intervention to heal from injury or chronic pain.
- Fascial Release: This manual technique helps to free the connective tissue for more optimal function of the musculoskeletal system.
- Movement Re-education: This movement technique uses the fundamental theories and exercises of Pilates with support of the Pilates equipment, mat, standing or walking to retrain your body how to move with more ease and less strain.
- Neural Mobilization: This technique frees nerves that can get stuck in the fascia to release neural tension so information from the nervous system can flow more organically.
- Structural Integration: A series of bodywork sessions in the Rolf method using mostly manual techniques with a focus on opening up the fascia, aligning the bones, and integrating the structure to create more ease in the body.
- Pilates: A system of therapeutic exercises designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the whole body with an emphasis on the breath, mindfulness, alignment, and coordinated, flowing movement.
Rolfing and BSI Benefits
Rolfing and BSI can benefit clients of all ages and all health levels, with goals ranging from improved athletic performance to pain reduction and prevention. Some of the major benefits include:
- Improved posture
- Better athletic performance
- Chronic stress reduction
- Scoliosis treatment
- Management of chronic low back pain
- Reduction of the frequency and severity of stress and migraine headaches
- Reduction and prevention of repetitive motion injuries and other trauma
- Reduction and prevention of fibromyalgia symptoms, myofascial pain, and other pain patterns throughout the body
- Improvement of pain caused by TMJ dysfunction
- Management of pain due to carpal tunnel syndrome
- Emotional and spiritual growth
- Improved energy levels and stamina
- Correction of injurious movement patterns
- Prevention of problematic movement patterns, especially in children
- Improved freedom of movement and overall body awareness
In addition to these many benefits, Rolfing is also an excellent foundation for and complement to Yoga, Pilates, GYROTONIC®, and other personal wellness practices.
About Active Release Technique
ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system developed by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. ART is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements. This extremely effective treatment works on athletes and non-athletes alike.
ART can help with:
- back pain
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- shin splints
- shoulder pain
- plantar fasciitis
- knee pain
- tennis elbow
- and other overuse injuries
Schedule an Appointment
Please call the studio (919.361.0104) or send us an email to schedule an appointment or a complimentary, 30-minute consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who are the practitioners at IOBT?
- What's the deal with the name?
- I'm not sure Rolfing or BSI is right for me. Do you offer consultations?
- What is a Series?
- I've heard that Rolfing is painful. Is that true?
- What about emotional release?
- What scientific evidence supports Rolfing as a body therapy?
- What should I expect in a Rolfing session?
- What should I expect in a BSI session?
- What should I wear to my session?
- What should I bring to my session?
- How much does a session cost?
- Will my insurance cover Rolfing?
- How many sessions will I need to see results?
- How far apart should I space my sessions?
- I'd like to purchase a session for a friend. Do you offer gift certificates?
- Where can I learn more about Rolfing?
- How can ART help relieve the pain I'm feeling?
- Q: What's the deal with the name?
- A: Ida Rolf called her work Structural Integration (SI), but even during her lifetime it became popularly known as Rolfing. Since that time, many different schools of Structural Integration have been created by her students or those influenced by her way of working. The oldest, The Rolf Institute®, is where Carol studied and is the only school to certify practitioners as Rolfers. KimLien studied Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI) at Certified Advanced Rolfer™ Tom Myer's school. Since they did not study at The Rolf Institute, they cannot legally call themselves Rolfers, but they are Structural Integration Practitioners in the Rolf tradition.
- Q: I'm not sure Rolfing or BSI is right for me. Do you offer consultations?
- A: Absolutely! Our practitioners offer all new clients a complimentary, 30-minute consultation. During this time, you can discuss your overall health and wellness goals and concerns, and determine an appropriate course of body therapy. Time allowing, your practitioner will also work on you a little so that you can get a sense of what SI feels like. Please email or call to schedule your consultation.
- Q: What is a Series?
- A: Dr. Rolf taught Rolfing in a Series of sessions that gently spiral through the body several times, progressively building support and adaptability into the body's structure where needed. The sessions methodically balance the body from front to back, side to side, top to bottom, and inside to outside. Clients seeking overall pain management and wellness generally benefit most from at least a twelve session Series, though other Series lengths are possible. Once completed, most clients do not require "tune ups" for a year or more. Others come weekly or monthly for symptom maintenance. A Series is not a rigid form, but a commonsense, principle-based decision-making process that can be modified to meet your goals and the possibilities of your body.
- Q: I've heard that Rolfing is painful. Is that true?
- A: Our practitioners do frequently work on deep layers of the soft tissue, but working deeply does not necessarily mean working at a highly uncomfortable level of physical intensity.
As with any form of body therapy, there are several factors that determine the level of comfort or discomfort during a Rolfing session. These include the sensitivity of your nervous system and the amount of time tissues have been bound in your body. Most clients will experience a fair amount of variation in the level of intensity throughout the body and throughout a session. It is important to note that different Rolfers work with different levels of intensity and the best ones are in constant communication with their clients while continuously modulating their touch in order to allow the body to open most effectively.
Our practitioners believe that you are not just a passive recipient of the bodywork, but an active collaborator in the process. If you have to brace in a part of your body or hold your breath in order to receive the work they want to know about it. Likewise, if some manipulation feels particularly helpful or allows you to relate to parts of your body in new ways, those insights can be helpful to share as well.
- Q: What about emotional release?
- A: Because the physical and emotional are so intimately linked, any form of bodywork can have an effect on your emotional state. Sometimes these effects are quite subtle, even imperceptible, and at other times they may be profound. As your body changes during the Rolfing process, emotions may surface and release. This can be a sought after benefit of Rolfing for some clients, but may cause apprehension in others. At IOBT, strong emotions are approached with sensitivity and compassion. We strive to create a safe, nonjudgmental container for the process that your body and mind need while viewing emotional awareness and change as a potential (though not required) benefit of the process.
- Q: What scientific evidence supports Rolfing as a body therapy?
- A: Research into connective tissue manipulation and Rolfing, in particular, are very active fields at the moment. Older research has indicated that Rolfing can help refine movement patterns and create more efficient muscle use as well as significantly enhance neurological functioning and pelvic inclination. Newer studies have begun to explore the possible mechanisms of change including connective tissue hydration through manual manipulation and the presence of contractile cells in the connective tissue.
- Science Magazine, one of the world's leading journals of original scientific research, news, and commentary has an excellent write up about the recent First International Fascia Research Congress in its November 23, 2007 issue (vol. 318, pp. 1234-5). The Congress brought together SI practitioners and fascia researchers from many diverse fields including cell biology and biophysics. Another Congress is in the planning stages for 2009.
- Q: What should I expect in a Rolfing session?
- A: Sessions begin with a casual, seated check-in. You and your practitioner will work together to do a structural and movement assessment or what we prefer to call a "body reading". You will both have the opportunity to say what you notice about your body in order to plan strategies for achieving the goals of the session. At times the session might look and feel like working with a massage or cranial therapist. At other times it might be more movement-oriented like a physical therapy or Pilates session. You might even use Pilates or Gyrotonic equipment to help deepen the work.
You can expect the session to be a collaborative process. As your practitioner engages the body's connective tissue, you'll be encouraged to move, stretch, and describe your experience, if it helps deepen the work. Together, you will work to free restrictions involved in maladaptive postures or movement patterns and find ways of maintaining that freedom and ease of movement in all activities. Your session may evoke many different sensations, such as stretching, warmth, release, and pressure. Though we often work with deep structures in the body, these areas are often best accessed through gentleness and patience. At times the level of sensation during a session can be intense, but you are in charge of how intense. Change can be more fully integrated when you can breathe freely and allow restrictions to let go without tensing or bracing against pain.
- Q: What should I expect in a BSI session?
- A: During your initial evaluation, you and KimLien will create a plan together to decide which service will work best. Your goals will be re-evaluated through the series of sessions and protocol will be adjusted on an on going basis. Visual, manual and movement assessments are integrated for both a postural analysis and a course of action for each session.
Sessions are interactive and participatory. You will either lie, sit, stand and/or move during your session. Your verbal feedback is encouraged to bring you into what you are experiencing in your body and mind as well as to guide the flow of the session.
Manual techniques are varied. Some may resemble those from massage therapy and other techniques may be more subtle and gentle.
- Q: What should I wear to my session?
- A: Most men wear gym shorts, boxers, or briefs during their SI sessions. Women typically wear sports bras/sport tanks and running type shorts, workout clothing, or underwear and a camisole. Due to the movement work often incorporated in a session, working without clothes is not recommended. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and that the structures of the body are easily accessible for manual work.
- Q: What should I bring to my session?
- A: You need only bring yourself.
- Q: How much does a session cost?
- A: Refer to our Pricing page for rates and packages
- Q: Will my insurance cover Rolfing?
- A: Some insurance plans do cover Rolfing as massage therapy and others as Rolfing or Structural Integration. IOBT does not file insurance for Rolfing, but we are happy to provide you with treatment codes so that you can submit claims for reimbursement. Typically, insurance companies require a diagnosis from a physician before treatment.
Many of our clients also choose to pay for Rolfing from their flexible health care spending accounts. This may require a referral from your physician.
- Q: How many sessions will I need to see results?
- A: One or two sessions may effectively alleviate some symptoms or complaints, but in our experience, a Series provides clients the greatest benefit.
- Q: How far apart should I space my sessions?
- A: Every two to three weeks is a good pace for ongoing sessions, however, they can be spaced more or less frequently according to your goals and budget. Scheduling sessions more often than once a week or less often than once a month is not recommended.
- Q: I'd like to purchase a session for a friend. Do you offer gift certificates?
- A: Yes! We offer gift certificates in many denominations, attractively packaged and perfect for birthdays, holidays, and more. Call or email the studio to learn more.
- Q: Where can I learn more about Rolfing?
- A: The following links are excellent resources:
- www.rolf.org is a great resource with recommended books, articles, and other media.
- www.anatomytrains.com is the website of Tom Meyers and Kinesis Myofascial Integration - a great body of work with a wonderful book and DVD's.
KimLien works with many clients that are referred to her by doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, other healthcare professionals, and fitness trainers/instructors. She will co-ordinate with anyone you are currently seeing to design a program that will most benefit you.
- Q: How can ART help relieve the pain I'm feeling?
- A: Understanding how ART can help you begins with understanding the cause of your pain. When tissue is kept in a tightened or stressed position for a prolonged period of time, the blood supply to that tissue becomes compromised. This can occur during prolonged endurance sports with repetitive muscle use, during repetitive tasks at work, or even as a result of poor posture, which constantly places stress on your muscles.
When an oxygen dependent tissue, such as muscle, does not receive enough oxygen (and thus energy) to function, this is referred to as "tissue hypoxia." As a result, your body will begin to replace oxygen dependent tissue with tissue that doesn't require as much oxygen to function. This tissue, known as fibrotic tissue or scar tissue, severely hinders the muscle function as it is deposited into healthy tissue. Take, for instance, the muscle tissue – a scarred or fibrotic muscle will be unable to contract properly and will be unable to carry out its desired function. Therefore, your body will begin to recruit other muscles to compensate for the injured muscle. As these muscles begin to do the job of two muscles, they remain tight, become hypoxic, and develop scar tissue.
- Limits the available range of motion in the tissue
- Irritates nerves, causing pain
- Causes tissues to "stick" (or adhere) to each other, which results in increased friction between tissues
In addition to causing tissue dysfunction, scar tissue:
ART utilizes several hundred protocols that are designed to release the tissue and help return the body to the correct and natural position without the adhesions."