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What is Structural Integration Therapy?

What is Structural Integration Therapy?

Rolf Massage Therapy or
Rolf Bodywork?

Structural Integration (SI) is a process of re-education of the body through movement and touch. It is a specialized form of massage therapy and bodywork developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf   She called her original work structural integration, while some of the public back then affectionately called it the Rolf Method, or Rolfing®, against her wishes. 


Her work, refined at California's Esalen Institute, inspired a whole new genre of holistic health modalities, and a whole new generation of dedicated practitioners (some of whom formed both the Guild for Structural Integration and the Rolf Institute and were commonly called rolfers®, a term created in the public domain before it was unfortunately "claimed" as a service mark years later). 


Structural Integration can also be known as Rolf Massage Therapy or Rolf Bodywork.  It is recommended to check for referrals and testimonials describing the quality of work of individual practitioners.

What is Structural Integration?
What is Rolf Massage Therapy or Rolf Bodywork?

Organizing Fascia

Structural Integration (SI) seeks to align the body segments, by loosening up and systematically organizing fascia, which is the body's web-network of fibrous connective tissue.

This connective tissue network, known as the myofascial system, is "the organ of structure" in the body. It supports the skeleton and soft tissues, positions the bones, determines the direction of muscle pulls and of movement, and gives the body its shape. It envelops every muscle, muscle group and organ and binds them together with our bones.



In its healthy state, fascia is elastic, moving freely with muscles and bones. When subjected to trauma or prolonged stress, or exacerbated by ongoing negative attitudes and emotions, the fascia begins to lose its elasticity, becoming shorter and denser.


Sometimes this tissue tightens incorrectly, pulling our musculature and skeleton out of optimal alignment and balance with gravity.  This reduces the balanced integrity of our biotensegrity system, which results in reducing the synergistic benefits of this holistic system.

Organizing Fascia

Fix Our Body's
Structural Framework

An un-balanced body out of alignment is a body that does not function at its best, it is a body that feels old or it is a body in pain.  Structural Integration (SI) seeks to restore our body's natural structural framework after getting bent out of shape by years of bad habits, stress, injury, and the hidden insidious effects of fighting gravity.



When not caused by an obvious direct injury, most causes of pain, including back pain causes, are frequently related to a lack of interior space in our body’s framework, our biotensegrity system.  In this system, our bones provide the non-compressible struts that span space and are suspended in a myofascial webbing of muscles and fascia which provide the elastics, or cohesive cabling of our body’s biotensegrity system.  


Over time, our framework shrinks and becomes distorted, compromising the movement of parts inside it.  For example, if you built the framework of a house out of green wood, and it shrunk by only an inch, what would happen to the doors and windows in the house?  People’s height in a lifetime typically shrinks by an inch or more.  Consider what could that potentially be affecting?  One effect could be, if the struts in our body (our bones) touch, instead of being fully suspended by the elastics cabling (our myofascia), we experience pain.  Our nerves and arteries could also get squished inside or by a distorted framework.

Pervasive Fascia throughout body
Fix Our Body's Structural Framework

Release Stress

SI systematically releases patterns of stress and impaired function. It re-engineers our body, improving its architecture and balancing our systems to make maximum use of our natural components. (i.e.: Muscles do not do as much work and therefore improve in quality, balanced bones are more supportive, cells are better nourished, and pain disappears.)


Last Updated: 2017-07-08

Release Stress
How does Structural Integration work?
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