Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Bulletin of Structural Integration Ida P. Rolf


This morning I’m going to share with you a growth process I’ve been through recently.

A few nights ago a friend and I went over to the Veteran’s Auditorium in San Francisco to hear someone speak. This large hall was filled with people of all ages. However, it appeared to both of us that there was something different about these people. They seemed taller and stood straighter than most people. They seemed to be more open emotionally and were easier to relate to. It was an exciting experience!

The speaker was a very active, fascinating eighty year old woman named Dr. Ida Rolf. Dr. Rolf, originally a bio chemist, is the originator of a body manipulation technique known officially as Structural Integration, or more commonly known as rolling, after Dr. Rolf. It turned out that about eighty percent of the audience had been rolfed. My friend and I have been.

How many of you know anything about rolfing? The results of being Rolfed are so positive, in my experience, that I’m surprised that more people don’t know about it or have it done.

Dr. Rolf perfected the technique of Structural Integration over a period of years before establishing a systematic training program and a professional organization. I’ll talk very briefly about the process before going on to my experience with it.

The average person because of physical and emotional trauma in his or her life has acquired a body which is out of alignment along the vertical axis and unbalanced from side to side. This misalignment and imbalance tends to result in fatigue, loss of energy and a vague feeling of disease. Gravity has become an enemy instead of a friend. Rolfing is a technique for re-ordering the body so as to bring the major segments- head, shoulders, thorax, pelvis and legs toward vertical and side-to-side alignment. Research at Agnews State Hospital here in California indicates that after rolling there is more efficient use of muscles, conserved energy, increased refinement of response and increased feelings of well being. The process normally consists of ten sessions spaced a week or so apart. During these sessions the surface and deeper muscle bundles are manipulated by means of hand, finger and sometimes elbow pressure. Extraneous connections between muscle bundle covering or fascia are being broken and this is the point of the process. The pressure is high and the pain can be intense for some people. Others hardly feel it and some even enjoy it. Also, painful life experiences are often re lived during the process.

The pain was intense for me! All my life I have tried to avoid physical and emotional pain at great cost to my growth and freedom. The first three sessions were hell-each worse than the last. I was angry at the roller and wanted to quit by the fourth session. But I’m not a quitter.I had an underlying feeling that somehow I was causing the pain, not the rolfer. I talked over my feelings with him and sensed that, maybe, if I relaxed and allowed the pain let go of my fear I might be better off. Really, I had no choice! Well, I let go and the results were shocking! The fourth session is often the most painful for a man and I felt almost no pain, in fact, I enjoyed it from then on and felt very high after each session. I realized during my rolfing that if I tried letting go elsewhere in my life just moving into the pain-risking more and trusting coming out the other side in a better place- I’d be a lot better off.

My wife Ann and I had been struggling with our relationship for four years, each knowing deep down inside that we’d be better off if we could let goof each other- at least some. Well, because of our Rolfing experiences we both got up the courage to face the pain of separation just before Christmas. The pain of actually doing this was minor compared to our imagined pain. The separation has, in fact, brought us closer.

Rolfing has been a real winner for me, Ann and our friends who have been rolf ad. My body is looser and straighter and I have increased energy. I’m more open psychologically now and am taking more risks than ever before.

For me, the purpose of life is to grow- to achieve my maximum potential as a person. And growth is always painful because it means risking the unknown and giving up something comfortable- and possible rejection by those close to me. Rolfing is helping me face pain more easily and to grow faster. The only way I can grow in any area is to go there and see what happens.

In closing, my favorite poem the Pulitzer Prize winner by Theodore Roethke,

“The Waking”.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the ground! I shall walk softly there.
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air.
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pastor Dyne serves with a Unitarian congregation in Son Francisco. “On Being Rubbed the Right Way is a sermon he gave as he was being considered by the congregation “pulpit committee.”On Being Rubbed the Right Way

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