CAPA structural integration - 2004-01-12-Winter-December

Rolfing the Mood

Pages: 11-13
Year: 2004
Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Structural Integration: The Journal of the Rolf Institute – Winter/December 2004 – Vol 32 – Nº 04

Volume: 32
On the first page of her book Rolfing, Dr. Rolf states that two main goals can be achieved by the process of structural integration of the body: vitality and well-being. We Rolfers believe that, and would swear to the beneficial effects that we experienced once as clients, the same effects that we try to "stimulate" on our clients now. And, in fact, the words "vitality" and "well-being" do sum up the feelings experienced by the majority of Rolfing clients during and after the sessions.However, Dr. Rolf's intention in her statement was to say that Rolfing scientifically works - meaning these effects on the mind happen regularly as a consequence of Rolfing manipulation to improve posture. Yet our clients' enthusiastic words mean little when we are trying to communicate with members of the scientific and academic worlds, who will ask us how we can prove that better posture means a better personality or a better mood. And were such a relationship to be determined, they would ask us why Rolfers can change minds by working with the connective tissue - after all, there are so many people with great posture and bad tempers - and why Rolfing should be better for this than all the other forms of bodywork available.Our community has a number of theorists, even some distinguished ones, but little scientific research to prove that the beneficial effects we see are induced mainly by Rolfing and not by simple coincidence, by mere human touch, or by an inner factor (e.g., growth, maturation, relaxation). The existing research on Rolfing has never inquired into the psychological aspect, only the physiological (vagal tone, jump length, position of the pelvis, etc). Moreover, it is also not easy to state which posture is best, as indicators are not always clear. Referring to the angle of pelvic inclination, for example, is not very precise; as the pelvis becomes more horizontal, other angles in the body may have worsened, or the measurement may not be objective because the client may try to "help" by holding the pelvis.As my graduate diploma in psychology required that I present a thesis to a scientific commission, I strove to make a modest contribution to our community through explorative research that would measure change in clients' physiological and psychological aspects over the course of their Rolfing sessions. What follows is a brief summary of my work. I would be happy to provide further details to anyone interested.

Goal: The goal of my research was to try to prove that Rolfing induced improvement both in the body (posture) and the mind (mood).

Tools: I used a stabilometric footboard to confirm the first and a profile of mood states to confirm the second.

Sample Population: A group of 20 people underwent the basic Rolfing series for the first time, with sessions once a week.

Method: I measured stability and mood before the first session and before the tenth session. (If I had measured after the tenth session, I would not have determined the persistence of the effects after some days. This was a suggestion by Hubert Godard.)

Final Results: Both stability and mood improved more than randomly. This allows us to think that Rolfing caused these effects. Obviously more research is necessary, with a larger test population, or with more Rolfers working at once, possibly with follow-up tests. Jim Asher once told me that Dr. Rolf believed that the basic and advanced Rolfing trainings provided good opportunities to undertake research on Rolfing. I think that as usual she had great intuition, and hope this is followed through.


Rolfing the Mood

The Profile of Mood States test is structured on a group of items where the test subject must evaluate the past week in his life. Essentially, it tests how his memory is “colored” by the events of the past week. One hour of Rolfing already changes perception clearly. If the subject’s memory of the same events becomes more beautiful, then we have somehow “rolfed” not only the body but also his mood. I think that further inquiry on this topic would open a good channel of communication with psychologists.

Rolfing Talent

I also tried to research young soccer players, in order to investigate the effects of stability on performance. I tested two classes of young players, and asked three trainers to judge their abilities. The results showed a high correlation between judgment and stability in the younger group of children, the ones who had just started to play soccer. There was no correlation at all in the group of children that had been playing for three years. This suggests that the younger players took to the playing field only the possibilities that their inherent nature and talent gave them through their posture, as they lacked tactics and strategies. In contrast, the older group also utilized what other skills they had developed in three years of trainings, while the advantages inherent from nature had been absorbed. This would indicate that postural improvement can at least benefit an athlete’s natural talent and “natural” performance.


Rolf, I. (1996), 11 Rolfingla realt# fisica. Astrolabio, Roma.

Rolf, I. (1996), Rolfing. Ed. Mediterranee Roma

Ruggieri, V. (1997), L’esperienza estetica. Armando Armando, Roma.

Ruggieri, V. (2001), L’identitt in psicologiateatro. Ed. Sc. Ma.Gi., Roma.

<img src=’https://novo.pedroprado.com.br/imgs/2004/659-1.jpg’>

<img src=’https://novo.pedroprado.com.br/imgs/2004/659-2.jpg’>Rolfing the Mood

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