Lesezeit 3 Minuten

Rolfer work with fascia – for 50 years

Fascia fitness, fascia yoga, fascia roller, fascia health, … now, they’re all arrived where Rolfers have always been. And they all claim to be the first, the original, the most modern. First of all, it is good from Rolfing’s point of view that people work with fasciae at all. And research is now on its way more than ever before. Before that, fascia fell through the grid of research and were represented less and less in anatomical atlases. The “true” were the organs, the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments – fascia was merely the “glue” that held them together or obstructed the view of the “essential”.

Fascia – a research that is currently developing

Why Rolfer work with fascia

Dr. Ida Rolf
Dr. Ida Rolf

The starting point was quite profane. Dr. Ida Rolf, the ancestor of Rolfing, was looking for a safe, unused port for her work. She had witnessed the hard conflicts between the American Medical Association and American osteopaths and did not want to get caught between any fronts. Thus, she bundled her experiences from osteopathy, chiropractic and yoga under the roof of fascial work. In addition, Dr. Ida Rolf recognized that the statics of a body can be sustainably improved by working on the fascial structures.

Her following Rolfer stayed with the fascia work, but softened the rigorous style of Dr. Ida Rolf, because the insight “hard is not equally efficient” was established. Here is the anecdote that Dr. Ida Rolf inspired a student from Europe with “Try harder!” and that he mistakenly translated it with “Work with more force!”

What do fascias have to do with a ball of wool?

fascia like wool clew

Unused and brand-new, the wool clew still looks quite good, but woe to the neighbor’s cat plays with it. The experience from outside (the cat) has quite different influences on the organization of the ball of wool. Our fasciae have a similarly unpredictable life path. They are chaotically organized, sometimes there is a preferred direction, sometimes not. This is why Rolfing is fundamentally different from connective tissue massage. At what depth are “fibres” too solid, in which direction do they run? The Rolfers trained hand can feel this and follow different directions of tension in different depths and dissolve them.

Fascia – organ of posture

Why is our posture a mirror for our fascial system? Fascia not only surround all muscles, organs and nerves, they also subdivide them more and more finely into functional structures. Thus, these fascia structures form such a finely meshed network that we otherwise only know it from the nervous system and our blood supply. I.e. fascia do not only determine our organization on a large scale, e.g. individual muscles against each other. Rather, the same system, this fascia network, is responsible for an ever finer subdivision of muscles up to individual muscle fibers. Muscle phases and the blood vessels and nerves that supply them “live” in a bed of fascia.

The health of this fascia system, the “right” tension within this 3-dimensional fascia net determines the posture of our body. That is why Dr. Ida Rolf called this fascia system the “organ of posture”.

Fascia in Rolfing

Rolfing changes the tensions in this finely meshed fascial system and can change posture and movement patterns, which are often associated with pain. Thus, Rolfing can have a positive influence on the following process:

  • posture
  • tension
  • limited mobility
  • pain

Thus, it is obvious that this is a system of complex interactions. Of course, pain will change our posture, tension and movement patterns.

Ongoing research