Rolf Bodywork: Why It Works

Why is the Rolf Method so successful?

The Rolf Method’s success comes from working with the body’s system of connective tissue or “fascia”. The fascial network encompasses our entire body, covering every muscle, nerve, blood vessel and organ. It gives our body its shape and determines the quality of our movement.

As the body tries to compensate for injury or strain it distributes it globally throughout the fascial system, perpetuating aches and pains and limiting balance and alignment.

Structural Integration progressively eases the body’s strain to evoke order, support, spaciousness and efficient movement. When the body is in optimal alignment, the major segments, feet, legs, pelvis, torso, spine and head support each other with the least amount of effort, giving us more energy and mobility.

Some “deep tissue” massage works to release local patterns of structural strain, but this is not usually done as part of a strategy to balance the whole body.

What is a session like?

Each session is a combination of education and hands-on work.

We discuss your goals and observe you stand and move to assess your structure and movement patterns to determine where adjustments are needed.

Most of the session is hands-on by applying slow and deep pressure to the tissue as it releases.  This usually feels great and the slow pace of the pressure allows for a change deep in the tissue that brings immediate relief.  The results are more effective when we work together to allow your body to relax into it. You are an active participant as I invite you to be aware of sensations and feelings.

During and after the session it is important to stand and move to feel the changes in your body so that new awareness can become a part of your everyday life.



The Rolf Method was designed and is most effective as a series of ten sessions, each session with specific goals and each progressing and building on the one before to bring the whole body into better alignment.  Ideally sessions are scheduled one to two weeks apart.

After a period of 3 or 6 months, clients often return for a 3 session “tune-up” series. It can be helpful to do one or any number of sessions but especially whenever problems seem like they are becoming chronic, or when an injury does not seem to be resolving on its own.

Read below for details on the Ten Sessions.

What to wear

Men can wear briefs or short running shorts, women, a bra and underwear or a two piece bathing suit.  I want you to be comfortable and you make even where athletic clothes if you prefer.  Please refrain from wearing any perfume or cologne.

For more info about Structural Integration: The International Association of Structural Integrators


The Ten Sessions

Session 1
The first session enhances the quality of the breath with work on the arms and ribcage as well as beginning to open the upper leg, hamstrings neck and spine.

Session 2
The second session gives the body a stable foundation by balancing the feet and muscles of the lower leg.

Session 3
The third session lengthens the side of the body, opening the side of the ribcage, freeing up the shoulder girdle and hips, and making more space for the low back.

Session 4
Session four frees the pelvis from below, from the inside arch of the foot to the bottom of the pelvis, creating a base of support for everything above it.

Session 5
The fifth session opens the front of the body, balancing the surface abdominal muscles and the psoas muscle, which lies deep on the front of the lumbar spine.

Session 6
Session six opens the back line of the body, freeing the sacrum, lengthening and mobilizing the spine.

Session 7
The seventh session frees and balances the head, neck and jaw, relieving any TMJ problems, bringing the head into better alignment over the rest of the body.

Sessions 8-10
“Integration” is emphasized throughout the remaining three sessions, providing an opportunity to revisit and make further improvements in a way that encourages smooth movement and natural coordination. In the eight and ninth session the best way to achieve this integration will be unique for each person.

The tenth and final session is also one of integration, balancing sections of the body where movements gets restricted, the ankles, knees, hips, waist, chest, shoulders and head. Most importantly it serves to inspire a sense of order and balance in the body as a whole.

Through this holistic approach and the ability of the body to “self-organize”, these changes are lasting and will support the body with better health for years to come.

Improvements after One Bodywork Session


The hip, shoulder and neck are now better aligned.

Notice how the arms and shoulders are carried with better ease.

The lift in the rib cage promotes better breathing, resulting in overall increased energy.

Improved curvature in the neck and lower back reduce spinal compression and increase efficiency of movement.