With a refined and specific touch, much less force is needed to produce significant tissue change.
Rolfing® Structural Integration was in its adolescence in the late 70s, when everyone was taking things to extremes. In those early days, Rolfers™ gained a reputation for delivering intense and often painful bodywork, and people sought that out because they wanted a cathartic, transformational experience. However, Ida Rolf herself was famous for her sensitive and effective work with babies and children.
In the decades since, Structural Integration has matured and mellowed, so that within the profession, finesse is generally valued over “intensity,” and profound transformation is possible without cathartic pain. (If you’ve been on this planet for a while though, you know from experience that profound change is not always comfortable!)
Experienced and sensitive Structural Integrators are responsive to clients’ requests and can adjust pressure and technique accordingly. We are also constantly monitoring the body’s non-verbal responses. Tom Myers defines pain as “the body’s motor intent to withdraw,” and teaches his students to respect this.
In the KMI school, we are taught to work with the “first available layer of resistance.” This allows us to free restrictions without imposing additional pain, working gradually deeper when it is appropriate. “Powerful work” doesn’t have to be painful.
My additional training in nerve and artery mobilization makes it possible to do even more nuanced and comfortable work—very useful for people who are already in a lot of pain. This “nerve work” can actually be relaxing to the whole nervous system. People new to neurovascular mobilization are amazed at the “magical” results that can be achieved with such gentle work.