Does Rolfing Structural Integration Hurt?

When I mention that I am a Rolfing Practitioner to people, the ones who know what Rolfing Structural Integration is, always say, “I hear Rolfing hurts.” It’s terrible that Rolfing SI gets a bad rap. Rolfing SI should not be more uncomfortable than the pain you are already in.

In the 70’s, when Dr. Ida Rolf began teaching, she would only choose men with a certain size hand. These practitioners would use more pressure and they would go too deep too fast. Perhaps this is why Rolfing SI hurt. Now, the school accepts men and women to perform the Rolfing 10-Series with a less intense way of working.

We have learned that we can adjust the fascia by organizing muscles layer by layer. We use lighter pressure and we work much slower. The client is also in charge of the session. So they can request more or less pressure depending on what they can handle. This technique brings awareness to our brain-body maps. When our brain-body maps are activated, we have proprioception. Proprioception is one’s internal sense of where their body parts are located in space and how they are moving. This is how we change the body.

I have noticed that as we are changing a client’s body from an old pattern to a new pattern, there may be discomfort for the client. Your body is used to a posture that is being pulled by gravity for however many years and now this new, more efficient pattern is happening that your body will fight until one day, it gives in. Once gravity can flow through the body, the body is balanced, stacked upright, has more energy, and can perform efficiently.

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