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Dr. Rolf’s Structural Integration

Dr. Rolf’s Structural Integration is a 10 session bodywork program that literally re-integrates the very structure of the body. Devised by Dr. Ida Rolf to release segments of the body (legs, torso, arms, etc.) from lifelong patterns of tension and bracing, it allows the body to resume its natural gravitational alignment. Each session is 60 minutes and the benefits of the work can start immediately.

Structural Integration, is designed to optimize the body’s structural pattern and rebalance the physical body relative to Gravity. Once structure is optimized, often issues of energetics and comfort resolve themselves.

The Work

Dr. Rolf used the term Structural Integration to describe her work. Structure has to do with the body. Integration has to do with how the body functions. How all the parts work, and work with each other. I take a slow approach. Working from the outside in. The strain in the body lives in the different layers of the tissues. Strain comes from patterns of use, over use, injury, or trauma. Strain is a sort of holding that becomes a habit. While on the table, the opportunity for letting go of the habitual habit of holding is possible. This holding pattern may have something to do with the nervous system. In very simplistic terms, the nervous system is in ‘fight or flight’ or ‘rest and digest’. It’s really not an either or senario. That is to say we’re not in one or the other. At any given time, one aspect is more dominant than the other. I work with bodies to invoke that ‘rest and digest’ mode, and then invite the body to release unnessary holding. After sessions clients tend to feel taller, more open, experience more freedom of movement. The transformation is truly amazing.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Garrell Herndon

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Professional Bodyworker Since 2004

I studied Dr. Ida Rolf’s work at the Guild for Strucural Integration. Learning the work required getting rolfed again, which was great. Receiving the ten series is informative and beneficial. Learning the work from Dr. Rolf’s students was a plus.

Teaching Yoga Since 1993

My experience with yoga has been influenced by the teachings of BKS Iyengar. While I didn’t study with him directly, the teachers I did study with were his students. I’m a graduate of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco 2-year teacher training program circa 1995. I continue to study, practice, and teach.

Jackie Herndon

Jackie first got interested in rolfing while she was living in the United Kingdom. Being a student and practitioner of Body Psychotherapy, she knows how emotions and experience can live on in a body. After getting rolfed in Ireland, she enrolled in Rolf Structural Integration studies in Boulder Colorado. During this time, she met Garrell. She knew right away that he would need constant supervision, so decided to marry him. Marrying a yoga teacher, she soon took on the practice of yoga. Surpassing her husband's teachings, studied with many great teachers in the bay area. Her studies of Body Psychotherapy, massage, and yoga greatly influence her bodywork sessions. Her work is remarkable and transformative. Weather you want a rolfing, massage, or something in between, Jakcie's bodywork stands out.

About Dr. Rolf

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Ida P. Rolf, a native New Yorker, graduated from Barnard College in 1916; and in 1920 she earned a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. For the next twelve years Ida Rolf worked at the Rockefeller Institute, first in the Department of Chemotherapy and later in the Department of Organic Chemistry. Eventually, she rose to the rank of Associate, no small achievement for a young woman in those days.

Ida P. Rolf, PhD In 1927, she took a leave of absence from her work to study mathematics and atomic physics at the Swiss Technical University in Zurich. During this time, she also studied homeopathic medicine in Geneva.

Returning from Europe, she spent the decade of the 1930’s seeking answers to personal and family health problems. Medical treatment available at that time seemed inadequate to her; this led to her exploration of osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, yoga, the Alexander technique and Korzybski’s work on states of consciousness.

By the 1940’s, she was working in a Manhattan apartment where her schedule was filled with people seeking help. She was committed to the scientific point of view, and yet many breakthroughs came intuitively through the work she did with chronically disabled persons unable to find help elsewhere. This was the work eventually to be known as Structural Integration. For the next thirty years, Ida Rolf devoted herself to developing her technique and training programs.

During the 1950’s, her reputation spread to England where she spent summers as a guest of John Bennett, a prominent mystic and student of Gurdjieff. Then, in the mid–60’s, Dr. Rolf was invited to Esalen Institute in California at the suggestion of Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Therapy. There she began training practitioners and instructors of Structural Integration.

The more Structural Integration classes Ida Rolf taught, the more students sought admission to training. Newspaper and magazine articles began featuring the person and work of Ida Rolf, and soon the necessity for a formal organization became apparent. As early as 1967, the first Guild for Structural Integration was loosely formed and eventually headquartered in a private home in Boulder, Colorado.

Until her death in 1979, Ida Rolf actively advanced training classes, giving direction to her organization, planning research projects, writing, publishing and public speaking. In 1977, she wrote Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structures (Harper and Row, Publishers). This book is the major written statement of Ida P. Rolf’s scholastic and experiential investigation into the direct intervention with the evolution of the human species.

Another book compiled by Dr. Rolf’s close associate and companion: Rosemary Feitis, is Ida Rolf Talks About Rolfing and Physical Reality. It is truly a jewel: giving us insights into Dr. Rolf’s unique and incredible mind.

Structural Integration Sessions

Should You Commit To All Ten Sessions?

Yes. If you’re hesitant, try one. If you like your session one, then do sessions 2 and 3. If you like what you feel during and after the work, then commit to all ten. The real magic of the work happens as a result of the 10-series. 

Below is a break down of each session. The work of Structural Integration can be thought of as 3 sections. The first piece of work is 1–3. The second is 4–7. The third is 8–10.

Sessions 1–3

Session 1

Opens up the breath, and begins the process of establishing balance in the pelvis. The work around the shoulders, ribcage, and hips leaves clients feeling uplifted. This session gives more length to the front of the body.

Session 2

Focusses on lower legs, ankles, feet and seated back-work. This lower session leaves the client more grounded. The back of the body feels longer as a result.

Session 3

Focusses on the sides of the body. Shoulders, ribcage, hips, down to the knees. By the end of 3 sessions the client should feel an overall looseness that allows for more breath and freedom of movement. An over all good feeling ensues, and some symptoms begin to be less of an issue as a result.

The next four sessions are considered deeper in nature. We become more focused on deeper layers of fascia, musculature and bony landmarks. 

Sessions 4–7

Prior to session 4, we sometimes see the client looking short in the middle. Having “opened up” the outer layer, and released any superficial strain, inner tensions become more apparent. By middle I mean from the inner ankle through the crown of the head.

Session 4

Focuses on the lower half of the mid line. The work give length from the inner ankle to the inner knee onto the inner thigh. Hamstrings and back-work are typical in this session.

Session 5

Completes what was started in the previous session. Focusing on the abdomen, the ribcage and arms get work to free up the upper portion of the mid-line. Seated back-work is usual at the end of the session.

Session 6

Usually the first session where the client is face down on the table. While we do some work on the front of the thigh, the hip rotators and hamstrings get much attention. Again seated back work is appropriate at the end of the session.

Session 7

An upper session. Shoulders, head, and neck. The session is usually very quiet and calming.

Sessions 8–10

Sessions 8, 9, and 10 are finishing sessions.

Session 8

Typically we address any imbalances in the legs and pelvis.

Session 9

We work with the shoulder girdle. 

Session 10

An overall working of the joints and tissue to leave things in highest order possible at that time.