The hallmark of Rolfing Structural Integration is a standardized “recipe” known as the Ten-Series, the goal of which is to systematically balance and optimize both the structure (shape) and function (movement) of the entire body over the course of ten Rolfing sessions.
Each session focuses on freeing restrictions or holdings trapped in a particular region of the body. A practitioner also maintains a holistic view of the client’s entire system during each session, thus ensuring the transformational process evolves in a comfortable and harmonious way.
The Ten-Series can be divided into three distinct units:
Called the "sleeve” sessions, session 1-3 strive to loosen and balance surface layers of connective tissue.
Specifically, the first session is devoted to enhancing the quality of breath with work on the arms, ribcage and diaphragm. Opening is also started along the upper leg, hamstrings, neck and spine.
The second session helps give the body a stable foundation by balancing the foot and muscles of the lower leg.
The third session typically involves a “side view” for an understanding of how the head, shoulder girdle, and hips are positionally related to one another when standing under the influence of gravity. Then, the body is addressed within the context of this new vision.
Sessions 4-7 are referred to as “core” sessions and examine terrain found between the bottom of the pelvis and top of the head. The idea of core also includes the deep tissue of the legs for its role in support.
Session four begins this journey, its territory extends from the inside arch of the foot and up the leg, to the bottom of the pelvis.
The fifth session is concerned with balancing surface and deep abdominal muscles to the curve of the back.
Session six seeks to enlist more support and moment from the legs, pelvis and lower back, while the seventh session turns its sole attention to the neck and head.
“Integration” is emphasized throughout the remaining three sessions, as session 8-10 provide an opportunity for the practitioner to blend previously established advancements, and ones yet to be made, into the body in a way that encourages smooth movement and natural coordination.
During sessions eight and nine, the practitioner determines how best to achieve this integration, as the protocol is unique for each individual.
The tenth and final session is also one of integration, but more importantly, serves to inspire a sense of order and balance. Once completed, the wisdom of the Rolfing Ten Series will drive and support the body with health for years to come.
“The body process is not linear, it is circular . . . One thing goes awry, and its effects go on and on and on and on. A body is a web, connecting everything with everything else.” – Ida P. Rolf
“We are not truly upright, we are only on our way to being upright. This is a metaphysical consideration. One of the jobs of a Rolfer is to speed that process along. We want to get a man out of the place where gravity is his enemy. We want to get him into the place where gravity reinforces him and is a friend, a nourishing force.” – I.P.R.
Dr. Rolf photo courtesy of David Campbell