The most important observation that Ida Rolf made was that the body’s shape develops and changes in tune with Earth’s gravity. Gravity affects our bodies all throughout our lives. It shapes us and deforms us depending on how we use it, how we move and what our structure is like.
Man relates to gravity differently than animals do. Instead of firmly supporting himself on four points, he relies on a narrow and unstable base of only two support points. He is less secure, but he is able to be more dynamic, more flexible thanks to his two limbs that are free to actively make contact with the world around.
The objective of Rolfing® is to bring the different segments of the body (head, neck, torso, pelvis, legs and feet) into a balance to create improved interaction and support among them.
The spatial disposition of the anatomic units and a greater capacity of movement are fundamental objectives. If the centres of gravity of each segment are aligned with each other, gravity is able to support each segment and the entire body as a whole. Furthermore, in order for the structure to work properly, these segments must be piled one on top of another and the relation between their soft tissues must be balanced, or in other words, without tensions, rotations or displacements.
Imbalances create compression forces through the joints, and the body has to use extra energy to compensate these imbalances. The appearance and the sensation that an aligned body, in its vertical gravitational axis, gives off is that of a body free of tensions and unnecessary loads. In a system such as this, gravity functions as a support and pushes up through the body.