Economy of structure and its function (posture and movement) is the basic idea of structural integration. This focuses on two essential questions:
1. How can we work more economically as Rolfers?
2. What are the benefits we can expect during daily work?
Working economically is a necessity for Rolfers’ daily work if they don’t want to damage their bodies in the long run. Normal Function is the option for working more effectively with one’s own body.
The application of Normal Function is based on three principles:
1. Movement starts with muscle relaxation; the body initially goes into extension. This is called the extension mode. (See illustration)
2. In movement the midline of the body lengthens. This is referred to as ACMOTT (anterior convex midline of the trunk), which means that while the posterior body is getting long and concave, the anterior body gets longer and convex.
3. The balance of the body is improved intially by this movement; the Rolfing® Practitioner is grounded and supported.
In practicing these principles in daily work, one will feel three qualities:
– support from the ground
The benefits of using Normal Function in working are:
– minimized energy consumption
– reduced fatigue
– reduced compression of the joints
– “self-Rolfing” while lengthening the body in every movement (extension mode)
– feeling more grounded
– improved quality of touch because of the reduction of tension in the body
For more detailed information about Normal Function, see Notes on Structural Integration, Volume 91/1, September 1991, pp. 6-21, and Volume 92/93, December 1993, pp. 7-22, 34-48.
Workshops on Normal Function are held by the Schweizerische Gesellschaft fur Strukturelle Integration, Badener Str. 21, CH-8004, Zurich, Switzerland.
The arrows show the direction of the forces
1. Folding position: Economic movement starts by muscle relaxation of the belly, hip extensors, knee extensors, and feet. The sitbones slide back, the knees slide forward, and the upper body is in ACMOTT. One feels more balanced and supported from the ground.
1a. Movement again starts by muscle relaxation as in Figure 1. Sitbones slide back, knees slide forward, and the upper body is in ACMOTT. The Rolfer is using her weight in order to lengthen the hamstring tissue.
2. Working in sitting position: Economic movement starts by muscle relaxation of the belly, hip extensors, and knee extensors. Sitbones slide back, knees forward. One feels the weight come down through the lower legs and the feet. The chest slides forward and up. The Rolfing Practitioner works with weight, not force. The arms function as transmitters of the Rolfer’s weight; the hands on the tissue are relaxed. This gives better quality of touch.
3. Working in standing position: Here one can see clearly that the Rolfer’s weight is leaning on the client’s tissue. The upper body is maximally relaxed and long. Only the hip joint is in fold. (This is referred to as “one joint folding.”)
3a. Standing position: As in Fig. 3, the Rolfer economically uses his own weight. This is the classic folding position: the feet, hip, and knee axes are all in fold.