Rolfing Structural Integration | Health Benefits and Side Effects

Published: Dec 31, 2021 | Revised: May 2, 2023
Written by: Marce Ferreira

Rolfing® Structural Integration | Benefits and Side Effects

Rolfing® Structural Integration, also known as just Rolfing, is a form of bodywork developed by the American biochemist Ida Rolf (1896–1979). Rolfing works on reorganizing the connective tissues (fascia) that permeate the body, thus correcting one’s posture and realigning and balancing the whole body.

A Rolfing treatment is a type of postural work and deep tissue massage that uses a combination of active and passive movement retraining. It typically takes place over ten sessions, sometimes called “the recipe,” as designed by Ida Rolf in the 1970s.

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The sessions work with the entire body, from superficial to deeper tissues, as well as address issues such as breathing and pelvic floor support. A treatment session lasts between sixty and ninety minutes, and usually the receiver wears only underwear. The movements and positions used can be done lying on a table, sitting, or standing.

The main goals of the Rolfing technique are to enable the body to regain its natural integrity and form, improving freedom of movement, restore flexibility, revitalize the receiver’s energy, and make them more comfortable in their own body.

The main health benefits of Rolfing are claimed to be the improvement of posture; treating chronic pain conditions, such as lower back pain, sciatica, and stiff and painful shoulders; improve and optimize movement patterns; and reduce inflammation and chronic stress. It’s also said that the treatment may make you look slimmer and feel younger.

As it is an intense type of bodywork, some temporary side effects may occur especially if the receiver is new to bodywork. The release of body toxins may lead to cold symptoms some days after the session, and other common reactions can be headaches, soreness, diarrhea, swelling and/or nausea.

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