How is Rolfing SI Different From Massage Therapy?

A common misperception of Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing SI) is that it is a type of deep tissue massage or simply a method of myofascial release. While there are certainly similarities between these modalities, Rolfing SI is actually fundamentally different in that its primary goal is to reorganize and balance the whole structure of the body in terms of its relationship to gravity.

Although many methods of massage can be very effective at loosening tight tissue, reducing stress, detoxing and relaxing the body, Rolfing SI is different in that it achieves these types of benefits as a by-product of the work rather than its primary objective. Rolfing SI and Massage are mutually beneficial as they can work together to help bring the body back into balance.

Rolfing SI aims to release, balance, and reintegrate the connective tissue bindings of the body specifically to allow for ease, elasticity and fluidity of movement in gravity. By addressing these original restrictions of the body, long term and stable gains can be made in the overall ease and balance of the whole fascia web of the body. As the fascia bindings are released, the need for the body to compensate and tighten no longer exists. Consequently, symptoms of pain and discomfort are gone.

Dr. Rolf, the founder of Rolfing SI used to say: “Anyone can take a body apart, very few know how to put it back together.”

The true genius of the Rolfing SI method is its ability to reshape and reorganize the body according to clearly defined principles in a systematic and consistent manner and to integrate these changes so that balance is found in both movement and gravity.


“If you can imagine how it feels to have a fluid, light, balanced body, free of pain, stiffness and chronic stress, at ease with itself and the earth’s gravitational field, then you understand the goals of Structural Integration”
— Dr. Ida Rolf