Structural integration—developments in Ida Rolf's ‘Recipe’—I

  • Myers T
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Structural integration (SI), known popularly as ‘rolfing’,11In the inevitable fractures and resultant legal battles which followed Dr. Rolf's death, the terms ‘Rolfing®’ and ‘Rolfer®’ became registered service marks of the Rolf Institute, which is now one of perhaps a dozen schools of Structural Integration. Therefore, ’Structural Integration’, Dr. Rolf's original name for her work, is becoming the generic designation for this type of manipulative approach. The word ‘rolfing’—a nickname for her work which came from her time in the Esalen Institute in California, and a name she herself disliked and only reluctantly accepted —remains, for the time being, the more publicly known term for this type of work. is a systematic program of postural repatterning via connective tissue manipulation that has gained increased attention and application during the current Renaissance of natural therapies. SI has also been the object of jokes and misconceptions, as in “Rolfing—isn’t that the one where they flay your muscles off the bone and make you scream about your mother?” The intent of this series is to allay some of these misconceptions by briefly defining the scope of SI practice, and presenting a general outline of Dr. Rolf's central contribution, the multi-session protocol of the Structural Integration ‘Recipe’ and the somatic balance it is designed to evoke. The variations among various current Structural Integration programs will be explored, and an alternate version of the SI protocol based on longitudinal myofascial continuities is also presented.22The author would like to emphasize from the outset that the views expressed in this article are his and his alone. While every attempt has been made to get the facts straight, there is much debate within the Structural Integration community as to which key concepts are primary, the exact intent of Ida Rolf when contradictory statements appear in the record, as well as to the actual application and scope of practice of SI. The author does not speak for the Rolf Institute, or any other SI school or organization. The author hopes for and welcomes other contributions to debatable issues from within and without the larger SI community.

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  • Thomas W Myers

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