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What Is Rolfing? | Benefits Of Rolfing | How Rolfing Works

What Is Rolfing?


Rolfing® Structural Integration is named after Dr. Ida P. Rolf. She began her inquiry more than fifty years ago, devoting her energy to creating a holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organized the whole body in gravity; she eventually named this system Structural Integration. She discovered that she could achieve remarkable changes such as improve posture and structure by manipulating the body’s myofascial system.

“Rolfing” is the nickname that many clients and practitioners gave this work, and is now a registered service mark in 27 countries. Rolfing structural integration has an unequaled and unprecedented ability to dramatically alter a person’s posture and structure. Professional athletes, dancers, children, business people, and people from all walks of life have benefited from Rolfing. People seek Rolfing as a way to ease pain and chronic stress, and improve performance in their professional and daily activities. It’s estimated that more than 1 million people have received Rolfing work.


Rolfing is the art and science of reshaping the human body so that it is better balanced and aligned. A Rolfer looks at how gravity has shortened fascia and collapsed the body, specifically, in order to see and know what to do to undo the negative effects of your personal history.

Research has demonstrated that Rolfing creates a more efficient use of the muscles, allows the body to conserve energy, and creates more economical and refined patterns of movement. Research also shows that Rolfing significantly reduces chronic stress and changes in the body structure. For example, a study showed that Rolfing significantly reduced the spinal curvature of subjects with lordosis (sway back); it also showed that Rolfing enhances neurological functioning.

Visit the website of The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration to learn even more about Rolfing.

Benefits Of Rolfing

An integrating Body Therapy that Works

As this before and after photo illustrates, the human body is capable of change at any stage of a person’s life. When structure changes, the whole person experiences changes which may manifest as life changes, improved self esteem and outlook on life, austin-rolfer-03more energy or increased performance in important activities.

This client’s posture was improved by balancing the pelvis, reducing spinal curvature and bringing the head back over the shoulders. Note that he did not lose weight but that in the before photo his abdomen spilled out of his forwardly tipped pelvis. The after photo shows that a balanced pelvis allows the contents of the abdomen to sit in the pelvic bowl which affords a more trim look. Reduced spinal curves and a balanced head and shoulder position reduce back, neck and shoulder pain. Clients may also gain in height as the spine is lengthened.

Physical Benefits

  • Improves posture and appearance
  • Relieves chronic muscular tension
  • pain relief and back pain management
  • Accelerates recovery time from injuries
  • Used as preventative care

Functional Benefits

  • Increases flexibility and range of motion
  • Relieves repetitive stress injuries (Tennis elbow, Carpel tunnel syndrome…)
  • Improves athletic & artistic performances as well as yoga practices
  • Relieves TMJ Syndrome
  • Increases breathing capacity
  • Helps with balance
  • Refines movement so that it is efficient and graceful

Emotional Benefits

  • Reduces anxiety and tension
  • Increases ability to handle emotional change
  • Re-integrates parts of the body that have become disconnected or unconscious from emotional or physical trauma
  • Enhances creativity
  • Increases self confidence and sense of stability
  • Decreases sense of disassociation of body and psyche
  • Discharges traumatic hyper-arousal & re-balances the autonomic nervous system function

It is best to talk to your Rolfer about your specific conditions and also get your physician’s approval in certain cases. Then try 1 to 3 sessions, and see how you respond to Rolfing.

How Rolfing Works


The original theory of how Rolfing therapy works was derived from Dr. Ida Rolf’s writings and educational training’s. In her view, the goal of Rolfing is to create balance and improve fascial relationships in all dimensions-front-to-back, side-to-side, and, most importantly, inside-to-outside. Rolfing is a process that integrates the body’s myofascial layers with muscular and soft tissue structures encased in and connected by the fascial network.

Click Here to view the Rolfing Structural Integration
10-Series Overview

Rolfing addresses one of the most influential forces acting on the human body, gravity. If the body is misaligned by gravity, the result is chronic strain, lowered vitality and impaired biological and psychological functioning. When the body becomes balanced, less of its vital energy is expended to support itself. Biological energy efficiency is often experienced as a higher level of alertness, awareness and vitality. Movements and overall functioning becomes easier.


Rolfing is typically done in a series of ten structured and systematic sessions in which the major segments of the body are released from life-long patterns of stress and misalignment. Rolfing is distinguishable from other forms of bodywork because it works with the fascia. This myofascial system runs continuously throughout the body from head to toe. Deep tissue is responsible for supporting the skeletal system, positioning the bones and determining the direction of movements. Fascia gives the body its shape.

Rolfing aims to restore the body to a state of balance or homeostasis and to provide optimum functioning. Since the body is constantly in the process of self-correction to achieve homeostasis, Rolfing recognizes that an ideal state of balance, reduced stress and efficient functioning at all levels is desired.

The Rolfer starts by taking a history and by visually evaluating the client’s structure. The client may then be asked to lie on the table as the Rolfer sensitively applies just the right amount of pressure where the fascia is restricted. To accomplish this, the Rolfer applies slow sliding pressure using fingers, knuckles or elbows. The client may be asked to use his breath to help relieve adhesions from the inside as the Rolfer works on the outside.


Each of the ten sessions builds upon the results of the previous session so that results are cumulative. The first seven sessions remove strain from specific areas of the body such as the lower back, shoulders, neck and knees. The remaining sessions integrate the work of the first seven creating better balance and alignment. Rolfing is a method that helps move the body more closely to this optimal state. A body which has received Rolfing effectively “holds” this more efficient orientation. One of the most obvious demonstrations of this process is the higher level of tissue malleability and coherence in the client’s tissues years after they have had their basic series work.

Scientific studies done at UCLA Department of Kinesiology found that Rolfing’s claim to “create and maintain a more balanced energy system that conserves energy rather than expends it” was in fact achieved. Another study by the University of Maryland showed that Rolfing resulted in greater physical strength, less stress, and enhanced nervous system response. This study also noted an improvement in subjects with curvature of the spine.

This is the gospel of Rolfing:
When the body gets working appropriately,
The force of gravity can flow through.
Then spontaneously, the body heals itself.
This is the important concept:
that Rolfers are integrating something;
we are not restoring something.
This puts us in a different class
from all other health practitioners.

— Dr. Ida P. Rolf

If you live in Austin, TX, Round Rock, TX, or the Hill Country of Central Texas and are looking to get right with gravity, recover from back pain injury by getting your body aligned and balanced, via Rolfing Structural Integration, I invite you to browse this site and then contact me.

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Kathy Purvis

Certified Advanced Rolfer

1015 Beecave Woods Drive


Austin, TX 78746

Business Hours

Monday to Saturday

By Appointment