Dr. Ida Rolf, founder of Rolfing® states that a person’s fascia and their relationship to gravity are two factors which determine posture.
Posture is the potential for movement. We all develop patterns of movement and are recognisable by our posture be it static or in motion. Posture is something which is always adapting, balancing and shifting around our centres of gravity.
How much tension or ease that is felt through our structure is determined by our habitual movement patterns, states of awareness and sensory perception. Movement patterns, injury compensations and psychic and emotional stresses become embedded within the nervous system and the connective tissue matrix (fascia). Rolfing® works to mobilize the adhesions within the fascia and to remap coordination, improving postural health and physiological function.
Fascia is the biological fabric that holds us together. We are about 70 trillion cells all humming in relative harmony; fascia is the 3-D spider web of fibrous, gluey, and wet proteins that hold them all together in their proper placement.
How fascia works as a whole – our biomechanical regulatory system – is highly complex and under-studied. Understanding fascia is essential to the dance between stability and movement; crucial in high performance, central in recovery from injury and disability, and ever-present in our daily life from our embryological beginnings to the last breath we take. Within the fascia there are nerve endings which respond to varying types of pressure and touch. When stimulated these nerve endings cause changes in tonicity, proprioception, blood pressure and autonomic nervous system activation.
The goal of Rolfing® structural integration is to align the body around a vertical axis for support, adaptability and ease of movement within the field of gravity. Whilst fascia is the tissue that holds us together, gravity is the force which binds everything together in our world.
The effects that gravity has on the body is a loading of weight through our structure; our adaptations to this load creates density and form within our body. How we carry ourselves in space determines the strength and weaknesses within our structures.
There are optimum ways to load the elasticity of the body inside gravity for ease in our upright posture. When we have inefficient movement patterns our bodies become better at that inefficiency often causing excess tension in some places and instability in others, this effects the elastic loading capacity of the soft tissues. We are an incredibly intelligent adaptable organism which will compensate for these imbalances by recruiting nearby tissues to aid in supporting the instable structures. This often leads to a thickening of tissue that can impinge the freedom of nerve pathways. Very often this is experienced as pain, movement restriction and inflammation. Releasing restrictions in the neural myofascial web and educating the sensation for improved movement within the field of gravity is the path to improving function, health, vitality and life.