After a thorough intake, the session begins with the therapist evaluating your structure and movement patterns while standing. Most clients receive the work in shorts (men / women) and sports bra for women. Other options are available too. These include tank top for women, athletic shorts or longer athletic pants such as yoga pants.
While you’re lying on a manual therapy table, the Rolfer uses hands, fingers, and arms to apply slow, specific pressure to different parts of your body. The goal is to begin easing restrictions in the connective tissue and realign the body. In addition, you may also be asked to make small, synchronized movements with your limbs or to “breath into the area” being worked.
Sessions often close with some form of movement education, such as developing supported sitting posture, refining the walking gait, or working on specific stretches or being taught a brief home exercise program.
Other more athletic activities might be worked on to improve movement quality depending on your goals. Remember, private Pilates lessons and Pilates duet classes are also encouraged to facilitate the changes occurring during the Ten Series.
It is interesting that most people who have the opinion that Rolfing® Structural Integration (RSI) is extremely painful have never experienced the work firsthand or never received Structural Integration from a Certified Rolfer®.
Much of the reputation for pain came from the early days when Rolfing was first gaining public recognition. Since that time, the process from a Certified Rolfer® has greatly evolved. Evidence based practices continue this drive, as in all health professions, and the evolution of RSI techniques applied to evidence based science.
As far as the actual experience is concerned, the area being worked will vary in sensation and feeling depending upon the severity of chronic stress, injuries, and other factors specific to your body. Feelings can range from pleasurable release to some discomfort. Fortunately, the work proceeds at your level and pace. While some discomfort may be noted it usually subsides rather quickly.
Causing pain is not the goal in RSI sessions and pressure/techniques are modified to the clients tolerance. Nothing is forced and skillful RSI should never feels sharp, painful or invasive. Often, if discomfort occurs, many clients will describe it as a "good hurt" that the body needs or wants. Others say RSI significantly reduces the pain experienced in their daily lives or increases athletic functioning.
RSI requires client participation to facilitate structural changes verses being a passive modality often associated with massage. You may be asked to “breath” into tissue to help it release, explore movement or movement patterns, make small movements under the practitioner’s hands and stretch from a place being worked. Exploration of functional movement is often introduced. In addition, Pilates equipment may be utilized to further facilitate manual therapy approaches during RSI.
Additionally, RSI proceeds slowly and deliberately giving time to relax into the pressure. After the first session, clients often comment that the work was nothing like they expected it would be, and are surprised at how gentle and good it feels as well as how much it benefits them!
Rolfing® Strucutral Integration (RSI) offers long term relief and changes in posture that can be evident through individual client photos. Physiology explains that our bodies are constantly breaking down and rebuilding themselves and our bodies determine how to build themselves based on the weight and stress that is distributed through the structure.
RSI works to loosen, lengthen, and reorganize connective tissue and affects relationships between structures changing strain patterns. This allows the body remodel/rebuild itself a bit differently and is how Rolfing affects structure over the long-term.
Believe it or not, structure keeps changing after the ten-series (a phenomenon so common that Rolfer’s® have named post-series months, the "eleventh session”). Photographs taken of clients long after the Basic Ten-Series often still show changes remaining present. Pilates and Movement Education supports these changes through teaching clients more efficient movement patterns, strength, flexibility, posture and bodily awareness.
Sessions are scheduled at 75-90 minutes for appointment length. Some factors that Rolfer’s consider when determining session length are intensity of the day’s work, health history, client energy level and ability to integrate work.
Most clients schedule sessions about one or two weeks apart, although depending on schedule and financial considerations, sessions can be spaced up to a month apart.
Another option is to do the series in chunks, if necessary. For example, taking a break after session Three, Seven, and or Ten within the Ten Series is acceptable. If you have to break between sessions, it is recommended to do these sessions fairly close together (1-3, 4-7, 8-10).
Most clients receive work in their shorts and sports bra. Boxer briefs are preferable to boxers for men; athletic shorts and sports bra work well for women. If you're not comfortable with this stage of undress, other options are available: A pair of loose-fitting, short, cotton gym shorts, or yoga-type stretchy shorts are good options.
When considering clothing it is important to note that whatever you decide to wear needs to show the contour of your body. Color does hide contours with black showing the lease amount image.
We can work with a variety of clothing, just keep the following in mind:
- You must be comfortable. Unlike massage, you will remain clothed and you may be required to get up from the table and walk around periodically.
- Clothing should not pinch or bind. Ideally, you should be able to lie on the table and pull one knee to your chest without resistance.
- Clothing should allow us to view and work around your upper legs, mid-back, and neck. Please do not wear hip-hop or longer shorts. Sports bras are more difficult to navigate around the mid-back but still can work well. Please be sure that there is minimal strapping in the back.
- Avoid heavy lycra. Bicycle shorts, girdles, and other garments containing lycra are nearly impossible to work through. Try to avoid any slippery athletic long pant or shirt as these make for technique usage very difficult.
- During participation of Pilates exercises please do not wear clothing with zippers, snaps, buttons, rhinestones or anything else that may cause puncture or tearing of upholstery.
It’s also a good idea to bring additional work-out clothes (shorts and a tee-shirt) if we want to incorporate stretches using yoga mats, balance balls, Pilates equipment or other training equipment.
Photos are not required but help to show the structural changes that are occurring. It is recommended that clients use their own camera (cell phone) to record and store photos which will be kept for themselves.
Long-term positive change takes time and your body didn’t get to where it is overnight. Helping it find a new way to be will take some time too. Each Rolfing® Structural Integration (RSI) session works different areas with different structural goals in mind.
Often, you will feel and even see changes as soon as you are off the table. But the time between sessions is just as powerful as your body will need to integrate changes initiated during each session. These changes may be noticed in greater range of motion in the shoulder, a shifted pelvic angle, improved foot flexibility or tolerance to walking and sitting to name a few.
During this time, the body is adapting to new neurological pathways for movement and awareness and developing renewed, more comfortable / natural, movement patterns. This is allows for excellent opportunity to participate in Pilates which will help to facilitate the changes generated in RSI.
- Some clients may only decide to complete a certain part of the Ten Series such as the superficial layers (Session1-3).
- There may be some clients who have specific needs or goals and require a modified series that only addresses those. They may requirer a “mini-series” consisting of approximately 3-5 sessions.
- Others clients may view Rolfing as an important way of maintaining their bodies and come in for regular "tune ups / maintenance". This is more common among athletes, runners, dancers, adults with scoliosis and heavy computer / tech users.
- Some clients decide to use Rolfing to ease muscle soreness and promote relaxation in their bodies instead of massage.
- Other clients take a break for several months after the ten-series and then request a post ten series. Generally these continued session are three-five sessions long, focusing on specific goals.
- Some clients call when they experience additional injuries, accident, after child birth, during life changing events or when "something feels amiss."
- Clients who have received the RSI series and continue with Pilates at Whole Body Kinetics & Structural Wellness have the additional option to receive a quick 10-15 minute Rolfing Corrective Manual Therapy “tune-up” prior to Pilates.
Different than massage, which focuses on relaxation and relief of muscle discomfort, Rolfing® Structural Integration (RSI) works to improve body alignment, movement and function.
Rather than focusing on areas presenting with tension, Rolfer’s create overall ease and balance throughout the whole structure. RSI affects posture and structure over the long-term with lasting benefits. Chronic strain patterns are alleviated as structure becomes more organized.
When the body, skeleton and joints are aligned properly, the muscles work more efficiently and stress on the musculoskeletal system is reduced significantly. This leads to a similar relaxed feeling you experience after receiving a massage but the results in RSI last longer due to the structurally integrative changes that have been work on to achieve.
RSI and Pilates helps to speed recovery from injury by reducing stiffness and muscle tension, reducing pain and improving movement around joints. Whole Body Kinetics & Structural Wellness will address both the injury and secondary pain patterns that may have develop from favoring the injury.
If you are not sure, try one session so that you get a good idea of what the work is about, what it feels like, and whether or not you connect with your practitioner.
In general, most people find the process enjoyable as well as beneficial and will know whether RSI will benefit them by session three.
Rolfing® Structural Integration was developed by and named after Dr. Ida P. Rolf. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in Biochemistry in 1920.
While working at the Rockefeller Institute she continued with her knowledge of the body through scientific developments in organic chemistry until she left to help a family member with health problems.
In the search for solutions for this family member she began to examine many systems that addressed effects of structure and function. These included osteopathy, chiropractic, yoga, scientific research and her experience with Biochemistry that led to the theory and practice of Rolfing. Currently there are less then 2,500 Certified Rolfer’s® throughout the world.
Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates who began developing a prototype of Pilates called Contrology in the early 20th Century. After opening a studio in New York City with his wife Clara, he began to work with Dancers from the New York Ballet as well as boxers and other individuals further developing his exercise system into what is called Pilates today.
Rolfing® Structural Integration (RSI) is a method of reducing muscle tension and pain from effects of gravity, injury, repetitive motion, physical or other trauma and people come to RSI for a wide range of reasons. Many athletes, performers, dancers, artists, musicians and tech workers use RSI to improve performance and extend their careers. Because gravity is ever present and injuries are common everyone can benefit from RSI.
Structural Integration can help those who work at a computer as well as dancers and professional athletes who have repetitive motion stresses. In addition, RSI can be particularly helpful after child birth and for people who have scoliosis. Nearly everyone can gain benefits from RSI.
In addition to "Specializations" offered at Whole Body Kinetics & Structural Wellness the program is tremendously helpful for working professionals with the following:
- Accountants and Legal professionals sitting most of the work day.
- Medical practitioners in awkward positions for a majority of their day and in front of the computer doing documentation the remainder of the work day.
- IT professionals stuck in front of a computing device most of the work day.
- Hairdressers and wellness practitioners that use their bodies in an asymmetrical way a majority of the work day.
- Service industry workers that are on their feet all day.
- Any working professional that feels physically beat up or physically exhausted at the end of the work day.
Some people use RSI to improve posture and relieves sore muscles from postural stress, others because of the changes in body framework after giving birth.
Clients may also use RSI, in conjunction with chiropractic or physical therapy, to rehabilitate from an injury or resolve problems from scar tissue. Some chronic pain sufferers turn to RSI for relief and as an alternative to surgery, shots and splints (as in the case of scoliosis).
RSI also works well for those who simply want to feel better, have more energy and improve flexibility. Others use RSI during life changing events as a method of remaining resilient towards stress or feel a need for change in their bodies. They see RSI as a way to reconnect with themselves (physically, emotionally) and to help achieve greater confidence (posture), improve energy levels, serenity and joy.
While most people can benefit from the Rolfing Ten Series there are some people, with some conditions, who may have contraindications to this work.
While recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association for it’s usage of myofascial release, organizations that represent MD's, nurses, etc. do not take any formal positions on RSI, just as they do not take formal positions on other types of complementary health care.
However, when RSI is understood by these practitioners, it is generally well received. One primary reason for this is that RSI is based on Western concepts of anatomy and physiology that are accepted by physicians and other medical professionals. Many doctors of osteopathy, chiropractors and physical therapists embrace fascial manipulation (the cornerstone of RSI) as a significant factor in joint mobilization.
As recently as March 2018, the medical community is now beginning to recognize the fascial system in terms of it’s physiological functions. Termed the interstitium, it serves many functions including structural support and modeling, housing of sensory nerve tissue (proprioceptors), fluid transport, shock absorption, and support of the immune system among others.
RSI, chiropractic and physical therapy can be mutually beneficial when combined together.
Chiropractic addresses subluxation in the skeletal system to restore joint and nerve function. RSI improves joint alignment by manipulating the tissues that hold bones — and everything else — in place. If adjustments don't seem to be holding as long as you'd like, there's a good chance the connective tissue could be contributing along with muscle imbalances supporting the spine.
RSI also works well in the physical therapy context also and may help to achieve rehabilitation goals. It is particularly beneficial to continue with a high quality post-rehab maintenance program provided at Whole Body Kinetics & Structural Wellness by a skilled licensed Physical Therapy Professional.
Brendan has nearly 20 years experience as a licensed physical therapy professional and can continue to help you after you have been discharged from PT.
It is highly encouraged to remain in communication with chiropractors, physical therapist or psychologist, as well as with other health care providers, during the Ten Series.
With your approval, Whole Body Kinetics & Structural Wellness can work directly with your health care team to provide work that supports and promotes current treatment plans. Additionally, RSI can contribute to how fascial organization may be affecting your condition, a important factor that is often overlooked.
Rolfing can complement Acupuncture very well. Consider structural support and postural organization and how it can apply to meridian lines. For example, if the goal of acupuncture is improve communication along the Long Meridian Line we might be able to understand how restoring shoulder girdle organization from a forward rounded posture would support those goals.
Further, it is theorized that Acupuncture and RSI use the fascia system as a focal point in treatments. Because fascia is highly innervated with sensory nerves, these modalities have a direct effect on the nervous system. This is particularly true as it pertains to the part of the nervous system that controls “Fight-Flight / Rest-Digest” that can have an impact on how we respond to stress.
There is some supporting evidence that the Meridian Lines use the same lines along fascial - kinetic chains that support movement.
Movement modalities such as Pilates, yoga, Tia Chi & Qi Gong have a “flossing” effect through fascial layers as they slide / glide over one another that, over time, allow for layers of muscle to function independantly from each other. These mind-body movement systems tend to circulate the fluid that supports the fascial matrix on a whole-body scale and excite the sensory nerves within the fascia network that monitor how we feel our spacial surroundings.
Because the brain interprets this information we are stimulating neurological communication through neuro-muscular reeducation. Stimulating our brains in this capacity is far more potent compared to intellectual processes alone, such as working out cross-word puzzles. In other words, your body is the puzzle and it takes movement to put the pieces together! This supports the evidence surrounding exercise as a insulator to aging. Connect your mind, your body and your breath!
Misalignment in mandibular (lower jaw) positioning and/or faulty TMJ mechanics (joints associated with chewing, talking, opening / closing of mouth) can cause muscle imbalances that contribute to mis-alignments in the neck and elsewhere.
Furthermore, structural imbalances in the cervical vertebrae (neck) positioning can cause muscle imbalances that contribute to faulty TMJ mechanics. Many people who experience headaches or migraines have tightness associated with the TMJ.
TMJ dysfunction is characterized by pain and popping in the jaw which may be recognized by your dentist during routine exam or fitting for mouth guard. RSI helps restore proper head and jaw alignment to remove postural stress that is often the driving cause behind mechanical mis-tracking of these joints.
The masseter and pterygoid muscles are highly innervated muscles so a gentle approach to releasing any protective holding is taken.
While RSI is primarily concerned with structural modifications, any change in the physical body can have an affect on the whole person. A naturally restored ease in posture may be accompanied with a boost of self confidence and change in body language (accounting for 90% of nonverbal communication).
A shift in structure may also alter your perceptions of how you relate to the world. Sometimes this is physical experience, as when your head moves up over your torso more easily, thus changing your line of sight. Just as often, changes are less physical but just as profound.
For example, after a session, you might feel you’ve “let go of something” and can work with an old fear in a new way. RSI sometimes helps people access patterns of holding that are emotional as well as physical.
Some people will have more profound changes in this regard than others. As such, RSI is an excellent complement to psychotherapy and other personal development work. Be sure to tell your therapist of your involvement with the RSI Ten Series.
Nonverbal body language accounts for 90% of our communication. Because RSI works to improve alignment and posture coupled with the strength benefits of Pilates, clients often express improved self image and confidence.
Consider two individuals during an job interview with similar education, references and employment history where one candidate stands / sits tall with well organized posture and the other with slumped shoulders and poor posture. Who do you think will be offered the job first?
Both RSI and Pilates will allow you to stand taller and move with much greater ease. Your body will use energy much more efficiently and therefore you will have more energy for other things like self expression, mental focus, mental clarity, mental and physical endurance.
A key point is to stand straighter not just taller, have better posture, move more expressively and efficiently WITHOUT EFFORT and especially have more energy to do the things you love doing!!!
This is accomplished through the brain’s interpretation of information by stimulating neurological communication through neuro-muscular reeducation. (Connecting the mind and the body)
Stimulating our brains in this capacity is far more potent compared to intellectual processes such as working out cross-word puzzles. In other words, your body is the puzzle and it takes movement to put the pieces together! This supports the evidence surrounding exercise as a insulator to aging.
As stated by Joseph Pilates and his original form of exercise called Contrology and what later became known as Pilates: “Contrology is the complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through Contrology (Pilates) you first purposefully acquire complete control of you own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all you subconscious activities.” He further states, “One of the major results of Contrology is gaining the mastery of you mind over the complete control of your body.....When brain cells are developed, the mind too is developed.” Joseph Pilates.
Although you should avoid intense workouts the day of a session, movement is key to reaping the rewards of RSI. Balance and coordination can be temporarily affected as your structure is changing, and time is needed to integrate changes.
Pilates, yoga, Tia Chi, Qi Gong, Alexander Method, Feldenkrais, Rolf Movement, walking/hiking, swimming and nonimpact cardiovascular exercise are examples of ideal exercises to participate in. However, functional athletic goals related to dance, musical performance, performing arts, golf, tennis, running, cycling and many others are encouraged also and should be included for those who participate in these recreational or athletic activities.
Whole Body Kinetics & Structural Wellness encourages movement modalities but primarily focuses on Pilates for Private and Duet (Doubles) sessions using various apparatus equipment.
In addition, a brief home exercise program is typically issued to maximize the changes being made during the series. These corrective core exercises can be performed independently of / or prior to any exercise routine.
Athletes routinely use RSI to rehabilitate from injuries and to address the high demands they place on their bodies from repeatedly stress.
RSI helps to resolve problems with scar tissue; reduce the occurrence and severity of injuries; as well as increase their speed, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Golfers, for example, may develop a more reliable swing, avoiding injury and improve balance and body alignment.
When joints are free from torsions due to rotations (particularly in the spine), when the pelvis is positioned to appropriately support the spine, and when good balance results from full range of motion in our feet and ankles — then we are less likely to get injured.
Musicians, dancers, actors, and artists of all disciplines come to RSI. Musicians, in particular, can struggle with repetitive stress injuries. Some try RSI for fundamental reasons, such as allowing them to keep working. Others use RSI to increase their competitive edge — greater comfort in and awareness of their bodies allows them to more fully embody their art.
Virtuoso concert pianist Leon Fleisher suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome and kept him performing for thirteen years — until he found a Rolfer. The “results were remarkable." — Johns Hopkins Magazine, 1995
Movement! Movement! Movement! Pilates! Pilates! Pilates! We are made for motion. The health of all of our systems — respiratory, circulatory, digestive, you name it — depends on movement.
Furthermore, activity allows the body to adapt to unfamiliar movement options introduced by RSI and make them it’s own. Exercises such as Pilates, yoga, stretching, walking, Tia Chi, Qi Qong, Alexander Method, Feldenkrais, non-impact cardiovascular exercises and swimming are examples of exercises ideal in promoting physical changes in structure made during the Rolfing Ten Series.
Additionally, Pilates exercises are highly encouraged because of their non-bias nature on the musculoskeletal system. This is to say that the “muscle memory” developed in Pilates is neutral and corrective, not only promoting posture and core strength, but also improving upon movement patterns that may be less efficient that we can carry into other activities we participate in.
Non-bias movement means that the body remains more adaptive and organized with all movement through the limbs and spine, enhancing functional performance from daily activities, recreational and athletic performance and fitness. Pilates exercise are excellent for developing core strength and can be applied in an endless manor to achieve this non-bias neuromuscular adaptability.
Therefore, the non-bias muscle memory developed through Pilates carries over into all other aspects of our lives and is extremely complementary for enhancement of movement skills and Sports Performance Enhancement.
RSI and Pilates restore neutral spinal movement from a balanced spine is a tremendously powerful tool in movement and sports performance as well as healthy living. Traditional fitness program focus on prime movers, the big muscles that drive motion. Pilates typically focuses on the smaller stabilizers muscles and core control.
Both Joseph Pilates and Ida Rolf were operating on the same wavelength but attempted to accomplish structural, postural and enhanced movement organization from opposite ends of the spectrum. One was facilitating changes from a manual therapy approach and the other from a therapeutic exercise approach. This is why both work well together and Pilates exercises are encouraged during and after the RSI Ten Series.
Certified Rolfer’s™ are trained and certified by the Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado — the only school accredited to teach Rolfing.
Successful applicants complete a training program that usually requires two or more years of study. Following certification, ongoing continuing education is required to maintain active status in the institute.
Training covers anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology; Rolfing theory and structural analysis, functional movement and gait analysis, soft tissue manipulation, spinal mechanics, and joint mobilization methods, Rolfing Movement Integration techniques; individual research and written essays, and extensive supervised clinical sessions leading to Certified Advanced Rolfer.
After a period of usually 3-7 years of practice and meeting continuing education requirements, Certified Rolfer’s are encouraged to gain additional training to become Advanced Certified Rolfer®. In addition, practitioner may also pursue an additional certification in Rolf Movement®.
More and more health insurance companies are hindering access to services like Physical Therapy and Chiropractic care by setting a fixed number of yearly visits or unreachable deductibles. This is an unfortunate trend in the American Healthcare Market today and there are fewer and fewer yearly or approved visits while the cost of deductibles and co-insurance keeps going up.
What was needed in the community is someone with a cost effective, skilled knowledge of how to manage injuries post rehab, after or supplementary to physical therapy as well as complementary to chiropractic and acupuncture.
There is a need in the community to fill the gap between healthcare, chiropractic, physical therapy and fitness so that people don’t have to ask themselves, “what now,” after receiving such services. Further more, as the cost of insurance premiums, deductible, copays keeps going up as overall visits dwindles a cost effective solution is needed in fitness and wellness as a method of prevention and maintenance.
Whole Body Kinetics & Structural Wellness provides an answer to this dilemma by addressing whole body health, movement integration and by addressing the whole person. Whole Body Kinetics & Structural Wellness focuses on whole body management by combining Rolfing and Pilates vs symptom management that tends to focus on local areas of pain.
This is achieved by applying comprehensive whole body manual therapy in the form of RSI as well as whole body form of corrective exercise that supports a variety of functional activities as seen in Pilates. This is coupled with the nearly 20 years of experience Brendan has as a licensed Physical Therapy Provider.
Focus is placed on attempts to provide a solution to rising healthcare cost, changing healthcare market and providing the community with supportive, complementary & skilled care that is delivered with integrity and enthusiasm. At the same time, focus is given to your goals and structural integrity that is often the leading cause of pain, dysfunction and imbalances. The overall focus is to acquire long term changes and quality of life.
While we do not accept health insurance plans you may still have availability to meet health insurance deductibles with Health Savings Accounts, Flex Spending Accounts, contribute to deductibles in PPO Plans, request reimbursement for an out-of-network provider. Please check with your health insurance carrier for more details.