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Fascia is now the subject of assorted medical research projects

What is Rolfing?

The Rolf Method of Structural Integration, to give it its full name, is a physical therapy that realigns your structure. Collins explains, “If you have everything stacked correctly then energy – the main force is gravity – can flow more easily, enabling you to move with grace and with less pain.” What is it good for? Most people initially come with back or neckache and/or postural problems, but it can have an impact on conditions ranging from headaches to the digestion; everything, in the Rolfing world, begins and ends with structure.

How did it start? It was developed by Dr Ida Rolf, a physicist, in the 1930s when she applied the principles of physics and maths to the body.

How does it work? The focus is on the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds the bones, ligaments, joints and tendons. “Fascia has very elastic, plastic properties, so it can stretch and distort, but it’s the stuff that pulls you together, that makes you you.” The experience of being Rolfed is like an incredibly intense, more internal-seeming massage, in which your flesh feels somehow “rolled out” by the practitioner.

Who’s a believer? Collins sees top athletes and dancers who need to maintain peak physical performance.

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