“What conditions must be fulfilled in order for the human body-structure to be organized and integrated in gravity so that the whole person can function in the most optimal and economical way?”
Image of Dr. Rolf courtesy of Ron Thompson

Image of Dr. Rolf courtesy of Ron Thompson

Dr. Ida P. Rolf spent her life's work devoted to investigating the above question which led to the system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that we now call Rolfing®. Dr. Rolf received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1920 and began working on clients in her neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY in the 1930s with the premise that the human structure could be organized in “relation to gravity”.

She recognized that the body is inherently a system of seamless networks of tissue rather than a collection of separate parts. In order to pass along her work to others and to make the education process accessible, she developed an expedient series of ten sessions, which came to be known as the Ten Series.

The Ten Series

Rolfing is different from most forms of bodywork. Rather than focusing on what hurts or feels stiff, Rolfing focuses on improving your whole body structure. Think of your body structure like your attic or a storage room. When all those boxes get thrown around, it’s hard to find anything. That’s your body out of alignment. Rolfing organizes the structure of your body so it works like a well-organized storage room. What often works best with Rolfing is a process called The Ten Series.

Your neck may hurt because you’re not getting the proper support from your feet. Your pelvis may be askew or your shoulders may be rounding forward. Until your entire body structure is re-balanced, your strained neck will remain strained trying to keep your head upright. Focusing where it hurts goes after symptoms, not the root problem.

The first three sessions of the Ten Series hones in on your superficial layers of connective tissue. Sessions four through seven remove strain from deeper layers of the body. The last three sessions organize and align the body as a whole, providing better balance, enhanced freedom of movement, and a higher energy level. The body can be compared to an automobile. You can't repair certain parts deep inside an engine until you undo and/or remove the outer parts that are blocking your access. Similarly, outer layers of connective tissue armoring and tension in the body need to be released and softened before any useful and long lasting change can happen deeper inside the structure.

The Ten Series is tailored to suit each individual’s needs. As a general rule, each session is scheduled about 10 days to 2 weeks apart, though the schedule is flexible. If necessary, breaks can be scheduled after sessions three and/or after session seven, both natural places for a pause.

Ten Series Protocol courtesy of Matt Hsu

Reported Benefits

  • Pain relief
  • Increased energy
  • Effortless posture
  • Freedom of movement
  • Greater body awareness
  • Ease of movement
  • Increased energy
  • Deep level of release and relaxation
  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Improved posture and balance
  • Deeper and more refreshing sleep
  • Enhanced sports performance
  • Better breathing and circulation