I hope this website will provide you with enough information about Rolfing and what a ten series can offer as well as answer any questions you may have. If you have already decided to embark on this amazing journey, please contact me to schedule in your first session. I practice in London as well as in Whitstable, Kent.
What is Rolfing
It is a form of bodywork that works through the connective tissue (fascia) of the body from feet to head in relation to gravity within a frame of 10 sessions.
Rolfing can help improve function, create better postural and movement patterns, increase body awareness and relieve aches and pains from years of unhelpful habits and body use.
Rolfing can also initiate a process of change within a person’s life as well as affect a deep change emotionally. It is increasingly being used by athletes to optimise their performance as well as by professional dancers, actors and those practicing yoga. However it is suitable for anybody wanting to be free of pain, or just looking to increase flexibility or function.
The Rolfing Ten Series
Each practitioner has their own style of working and will adapt the session to the client. However generally the goals for each session are as follows:
Session 1. Freeing the breath within the body…providing more availability for the in-breath. Freeing the sheath of the torso and the shoulder girdle and separating the shoulder girdle from the torso. Bringing order to the fascial web of this area. Lifting and separating the torso from the pelvis, freeing the sheath of the pelvic girdle from the leg.
Session 2. The sensing foot…awakening and liberating the foot from standing and walking patterns. Improving the capacity of the foot to land and take off. Improve the quality of support for the legs. Increase the ability of the foot to feel and sense. Bringing the spine, back, trunk and head into a rapport with the feet.
Session 3. The body from the side…evoking balance from front to back of the body and back to front. Freeing the sleeve of the body in side lying. Build space for the thorax. Creating a fluidity from head to foot.
NOTE: Sessions 1, 2 and 3 are a mini-series of what are called sleeve sessions which then go deeper into ‘the core’ in session 4.
Session 4. The midline of the body…improving the relationship between the legs and pelvis and the capacity of the pelvis for movement. Creating balance between the inside and outside of the upper leg and hip. Creating stability and independence between the legs and pelvis. Bringing awareness to the insides of the legs.
Session 5. Above the pelvis…connecting the legs with the low back via the psoas hip flexor. Improving movement and transitions between the curves of the spine from the front of the back and the back of the front. Bringing balance, adaptability, stability and fluidity between the abdominal cavities.
Session 6. Creating a relationship between the legs and pelvis with the spine…continuing to relate the legs to the pelvic girdle and torso, easing restrictions of the spine, establishing a dialogue and distinction between the ilia and the sacrum of the pelvis, freeing the structures of the back, bringing movement through the layers of these structures.
Session 7. Putting the head back on…enhancing the function of balance, perception and co-ordination and improving the position of head and neck.
Session 8. The opening of a mini-series (8,9 and 10) to integrate the journey of the person and their limitations…working on what feels or appears least integrated, further work on bringing motion through all aspects of the system, connecting and integrating fascial planes of the body, helping the person own their capacity for orienting.
Session 9. We are looking at contralaterality of movement…working with function and looking at structure and the spiral dynamic of the body as well as once more integrating all aspects of the body.
Session 10. Closure…integrating all planes of the body, enhancing the effectiveness of breathing as well as bridging old with new patterns. This is a time to reflect on what has been gained from the process and what has been accomplished.
What To Expect!
I will spend a little time at the beginning of the first session discussing Rolfing and your expectations as well as taking down a brief health history.
I will be looking at you in your underwear and seeing how your body moves at the beginning, during and end of each session. You will need to wear either fitted underwear or a two piece bathing suit/swimming trunks.
I will not be taking photos of you unless you would be interested in me doing so and if so, I will take them on your camera/phone
Rolfing Structural Integration is a two way process and you are invited to be present and engaged throughout the 10 sessions. You may be given a little ‘homework’ between sessions.
I may run a little over or under the 75 minute session time.
It is ideal to book sessions one to two weeks apart and definitely no longer than a month apart.
If you are unsure as to whether Rolfing is right for you, I would suggest experiencing session 1 or better doing sessions 1-3 which will give you a good idea as to whether this therapy resonates with your system/is right for where you are in your life right now.
I am a Certified Rolfer practising in both London and Whitstable, Kent and one of the first of 12 students to graduate from the British Academy of Rolfing Structural Integration in London. I have been a practising bodyworker for the past 11 years; bodywork is my passion.
My desire to be a Certified Rolfer was ignited when attending a lecture over a decade ago. What I heard then made perfect sense to me – and still does.
Rolfing is a very rewarding way to work with someone. It is not a passive experience, which makes it quite different from the other forms of bodywork I practice – it is a process. The ten sessions is a journey that a person chooses to make either to learn about themselves and their body, improve their posture or range of movement, be rid of discomfort or just ‘feel better’. It is a privilege for me to be part of their journey.
In addition to my Rolfing Certification, I hold a BTEC 6 in Clinical and Sports Massage (includes a dissertation on Joint Hypermobility Syndrome) and a Diploma Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector, which has given me the chance to teach Sports Massage and Anatomy and Physiology.
I am constantly learning from those around me and aim to be the best I can be for the people I treat. I have been in the process of study of one subject or more for the last 25 years. The wealth of information and training that still awaits from within the Rolfing community will hopefully satisfy my passion for and fascination with understanding the many ways the body and mind can heal itself
Locations & Booking
London Whistable Tankerton
Missed appointments will be charged at full fee unless they are cancelled with at least 24 hours’ notice. If I am able to fill that slot then you will not be charged. If you know you will be not be able to make your appointment, please contact me as soon as possible by text, telephone or email.
If I am responsible for a booking mix up, which means you will have to book another appointment, then your next appointment will be free of charge.
What The Press Say
Here you can read articles written about myself and the benefits of Rolfing.
Why everyone over 50 should be Rolfed: Rolfing set to be the new health craze of 2017
By High50 posted October 26, 2016
Just as we’re getting to grips with the ‘microbiome’ and our growing fascination with Gut Health, ‘fascia’ and ‘Rolfing’ are now predicted to be amongst the big buzz words in health for 2017.
Once the preserve of clinics in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the USA, Rolfing and fascia treatment – or Rolfing® Structural Integration to refer to it by its full name – is coming to the UK in a big way.
To find out more about Rolfing for our readers, I go to Evolve Wellness Centre in South Kensington to meet Sibyl Darrington, certified Rolfer and advanced clinical and sports massage therapist – she also operates from Whitstable in Kent. ‘No-one had heard about connective tissue or “fascia” in the sixties and seventies so Ida Rolf, who started the whole thing, was way ahead of her time,’ she says.
Sibyl, a slender 51-year-old, asks me to strip down to my underwear and surveys me, making detailed notes as I turn sideways and then stand with my back to her before walking up and down. She notices my right shoulder, on which I always sling my heavy bag, has risen up and that my pelvis looks out of line.
She then manipulates me – it’s like a mixture of osteopathy and deep tissue massage without oil. When she targets an area of tightness the pain is as pleasurable as it is momentarily excruciating as I felt the tension give way to pressure. ‘The first session is all about creating the space and availability for the inhale,’ Sibyl explains. ‘You have to start with the breath to open up the system.’
I leave feeling taller and more open – my shoulders are back, I feel less cramped, less tight, generally looser limbed and relaxed. You need to do ten sessions in all – the second focuses on the legs and feet, the third on the side front and back balance, the fourth on how the legs can become more independent of the pelvis, the fifth on the connection between the front of the spine and the front of the legs, the sixth on the back of the spine and the back of the legs, the seventh on the upper thorax, head, neck, mouth (if you’ve worn braces you could have affected your jaw) and sometimes even your nose and then the last three sessions are more tailor-made to your own needs, working on particular areas where movement is restricted and it all builds towards closure in the tenth session.
For the Over 50’s
When we age our fascia tends to dehydrate and becomes tougher creating stiffness and rigidity in the body. Rolfing rehydrates the fascia and softens it, which is why people feel so much more free and vibrant after the ten sessions! During and after menopause the collagen weakens in the tissues of the body – tendons, ligaments, veins or arteries – which are all connective tissue or fascia. It’s easier to have strains and sprains and for joints to become unstable. ‘Many women around this time come in to the clinic complaining of pain or issues with balance and usually it is due to instability,’ explains Sibyl. ‘They may have had no history of these issues until menopause. Rolfing helps create stability throughout the body so the body is better able to support itself. It helps with the sprains, strains and injuries, which are all tissue injuries. In general it helps with stiffness that starts to accrue at this time of our lives and it can increase range of movement and increase energy levels. Rolfing can help realign scar tissue and can help with any torsion or misalignment caused by that scar. If we start to live in and enjoy our bodies more through Rolfing, then our attitude to the process of ageing is a lot more positive. Most people say they feel more grounded, or connected to the earth and that they feel more present in their lives.’
Nutritionist, Charlotte Fraser, who has completed all ten sessions, explains more fully what it’s about:
What is Rolfing® Structural Integration?
Rolfing aims to help restore the body to its most efficient form to enable full ease and freedom of movement. Picture the cogs, springs and wheels of a fine Swiss watch working tick tock in perfect precision. Rolfing greatly improves a person’s posture and balance, as well as helps release tension, alleviate chronic pain and restore energy.
amed after its founder, Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing® is a specialised method of bodywork that works with the connective tissues, or ‘fascia’ – the body’s internal flexible scaffolding – which permeate the entire body. Rolfing works on this complex web of connective tissues to release, realign and balance the body as a whole. Crucially, instead of viewing the body as a collection of separate parts, Rolfing treats the body as an integrated whole with connective tissues surrounding, supporting and permeating all the muscles, bones, nerves and organs.
Lifestyle habits and injury can cause our internal flexible ‘wiring’ to become over-extended or out of kilter with the tension resulting in chronic joint pain, sore muscles, postural change and restricted movement.
How long does a Rolfing treatment last?
The treatment takes place over a course of ten sessions referred to as ‘The Ten Series’; typically each session lasts 60-75 minutes.
Who would benefit from Rolfing?
Just about everyone can benefit, men, women and children. It is already well known amongst sportsmen and professional ballet dancers for helping to alleviate injury and enhance performance.
The Eight Benefits of Rolfing:
Many clients report that the therapeutic effect of Rolfing carries on working long after the course of treatment has ended. The benefits include;
Reduced pain and discomfort in the body
Greater flexibility and movement in the body
Improved posture – some clients report leaving taller
An enhanced sense of whole body awareness and new movement possibilities
Enhanced energy efficiency and more ‘get up and go’
Improved sports performance and greater resilience to future injury
Stronger emotional boundaries
The sense of feeling more comfortable in one’s skin
A newly established body, Rolfing UK, is now representing the growing numbers of certified practitioners (“Rolfers”) across the UK, as well as aiming to educate the public as to Rolfing’s many health benefits. Certified Rolfers are the only professionals who can provide Rolfing to the public but with certification available in the UK for the first time, it is now easier than ever to find a qualified Rolfer, and also train as one.
For further information or to find a certified UK Rolfer near you, visit: www.rolfinguk.co.uk
What is Rolfing and do I need to be Rolfed?
By Deborah Arthurs posted February 14, 2017
We spoke to certified Rolfer Sibyl Darrington, a trained sports massage practitioner, reflexologist and qualified Rolfer practising at London’s Evolve as well as in Whitstable, Kent, to find out more about Rolfing, who should be Rolfed, and what the benefits can be.
Why did you start practising Rolfing?
I started Rolfing because what I heard in a lecture in 2004 resonated with me: the fact that the body and mind are connected and that Rolfing can make such profound and significant changes by working through the body’s fascia in a very thorough and systematic way.
What were you doing before, and why do you think this is more effective?
When working previously as a clinical and sports massage therapist I was principally doing what we call ‘spot work’, i.e. addressing the problem the person is presenting with by just focusing on the immediate area and not really looking at integrating the whole.
While some clients went away and never needed to come back after a clinical treatment, there were others I managed to help only temporarily, with the problem returning some time later. I felt that this was because I needed to look at and work with the whole body, not just an isolated part.
My subsequent experience working as a Rolfer goes to prove this. Rolfing treats the person with back pain, not simply the back pain.
The client also becomes much more aware of their physical parameters and possibilities – and what is most comfortable for their body – and this greater awareness continues to evolve long after the Rolfing course has ended.
While there are many positive testimonials, some say Rolfing is ineffective – why do you think they say that, and what would you say in answer to them?
They may say this if they are looking at Rolfing using a medical (empirical) model. With many complementary therapies, it is sometimes difficult to quantify effectiveness using research.
Each person is unique in their make up and will respond to therapy in their own unique way. However, there have been research studies focused on Rolfing for lower back pain and fibromyalgia and these studies show that Rolfing is helpful for these conditions.
It may also depend on why somebody comes for Rolfing. If they want a quick fix, then Rolfing really is not for them as it is a 10-session process.
It is also more helpful if the person participates in the sessions. Rolfing is not a passive therapy like massage, it involves active participation.
If somebody is looking to fix their issue whatever that might be, through exploration as well as learning where they are in their body and how they can live in their body in a more sustainable and enjoyable way, then Rolfing is more likely to work for them.
It helps to be curious. However having said that even the people I have seen who have not understood the concept of Rolfing at all have still benefited.
If someone is in constant pain but has to sit at a desk all day to work, can Rolfing help them?
Yes, Rolfing can firstly help release and realign tissue throughout the body as well as around the pelvis and hip joint where people who sit for many hours a day often experience pain.
Secondly, it can encourage you to more consciously find a more comfortable way to be sitting and standing, thus preventing a recurrence of the same strain pattern with the hips and low back.
How can the resulting alignment/release help once the treatment has finished?
Through Rolfing office workers or those who have to sit for many hours a day may be able to find a better way to manage their work situation and adopt healthier habits. Rolfing has a way of freeing tissue and bringing movement back to areas that may have been stuck or closed for many years.
Rolfing: The technique that may help treat injuries, pain, bad posture or muscle tension
By Sophie Goddard posted August 21, 2017
It’s the treatment everyone’s talking about, but what actually is Rolfing and should you try it?.
Every now and then a treatment comes around that gets everybody talking – and right now, it’s Rolfing. If you haven’t yet heard of it, Rolfing (that’s Rolfing Structural Integration) is a technique that involves the manipulation of the fascia (connective tissue around your muscles) to create proper alignment and balance in the body.
Named after its creator, Dr. Ida Rolf, ‘Rolfers’ (people who’ve undergone ‘certified’ training) say the technique helps treat injuries, pain, bad posture or muscle tension caused by dodgy alignment or imbalances. Their reasoning is that imbalances in the body can go on to cause serious problems later down the line, so they aim to release tight tissue to allow free, natural movement.
The treatment has steadily been rising in popularity with athletes and dancers who use it to break up scar tissue and help fix injuries, but office workers are increasingly booking in for RSI and back pain, too.
But what’s actually involved? According to professional Rolfer Sibyl Darrington, it varies from person to person. “Generally, each session takes between 60-90 minutes, and most people sign up for the 10-step programme,” she explains. “The 10-step programme (or series) is made up of 10 sessions, and each one is designed to focus on different aspects of the body. The overall goal is to help a person feel better in their body and each body part in dialogue with every other part. Each time, you’ll discuss how you’ve been feeling since the last session with your practitioner, along with anything you might have noticed or observed. Visually, and through touch, we address every part of the body – no issue is simply one muscle or body part, everything is related. We then recommend a gap of around six months to a year before coming back for more ‘tune-up’ sessions, although not everybody needs to return.”
“I felt like the tin man who’d just been oiled!”
Charlotte Fraser, 44, shares her experience…
I was already interested in wellbeing, and when a friend mentioned she’d qualified in Rolfing, I was intrigued. My first session lasted 75 minutes and began with the therapist assessing me as I stood in my underwear. First, I stood in front of her face-on, then to the side, before walking back and forth across the room. She then applied the ‘Rolfing’ technique (based on the framework laid out in Dr. Ida Rolf’s 10 Series). At points, I was standing, other times I was asked to sit or lie on the bed, and she spoke to me throughout about what she was learning. It quickly transpired that I’m quite left-leaning, and my right shoulder wasn’t level with the left (probably from lugging heavy bags around). The whole process felt strange because I moved around a lot more than in a regular massage – I’d be asked to stretch, stand, sit, lie or breathe in a particular way throughout.
“Sometimes I’d be asked to visualise something, too. The best way to describe ‘Rolfing’ is like a massage without oil, with some osteopathy and mindfulness mixed in. The sensations I felt were mixed – sometimes it felt like burning or scratching (it quickly subsided) but afterwards I felt like the tin man who’d just been oiled! I came away with a greater awareness of my body and now I’m a lot more careful to balance bags, for example, on both sides of my body. Since completing the 10-step programme, my balance and posture have both improved immeasurably and I’m sleeping better, as well as feeling more relaxed. I actually found the process so beneficial I’ve now started working with my therapist to help try and market her services, and spread the word. I’ve sent plenty of friends (and my husband, too) to try it out, all of whom are as delighted as I am. It really has been transformational.”
What’s the expert verdict?
“Although it’s just becoming popular now, Rolfing was actually designed as a therapy in the 1940s as a system of firm pressure and manipulation designed to bring the whole body into correct vertical alignment,” explains GP Dr. Roger Henderson.
“It was initially used by sportspeople, dancers and singers to help increase suppleness and breathing technique, with many people now using it as an aid to emotional well-being, too. There are very few significant studies into Rolfing, which means doctors are unable to assess its efficacy objectively. However, most doctors view it as a type of massage therapy, with all the potential benefits that can go with massage, so have no basic objection to it – it usually does very little harm. What’s important however, is that the practitioner is fully-trained and the patient is in reasonable mental and physical health – in my view, it should be avoided in patients with cancer and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.”
Each session of Rolfing costs around £80, and only people who have Certified training by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration and the European Rolfing® Association can call themselves ‘Rolfers’. For more information on Rolfing and the 10-series, click here.
Transform Your Body with Rolfing’ Structural Integration
Having recently given birth to my second baby, my body was feeling out of kilter. I had tried the remedies that had helped me recover after the birth of my elder daughter – physiotherapy, osteopathy, massage – all of which provided temporary relief, yet I felt that I needed something that would alleviate my assorted postpartum aches and pains on a more permanent basis. Whilst researching alternative options I came across Rolfing® Structural Integration, a form of hands-on bodywork and movement training named after the American biochemist founder of the practice, Dr. Ida Rolf (1896 – 1979). A pioneer in the fields of soft tissue manipulation and movement education, Dr Rolf asked a question which became integral to her life’s work: “what conditions must be fulfilled for the human body’s structure to be organised and integrated in gravity so that the whole person can function in the most optimal and economical way?” Dr. Rolf observed that to achieve a lasting improvement and overall sense of wellbeing, one needed to examine the effects of gravity on the body. She believed that imbalances in structure placed demands on the body’s pervasive soft tissue network – muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments – resulting in compensations throughout the body structure. In order to counteract these imbalances, Dr. Rolf devised a series of ten sessions now called The Ten Series. She referred to this methodology as ‘Structural Integration’ which has since gone on to inspire generations of bodyworkers around the world as the internationally registered movement – Rolfing® Structural Integration. Despite the fact that Rolfing® has been around since the 1960s, it is only relatively recently that its profile is beginning to rise, as Olympic athletes and celebrity aficionados, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, help to spread the word.
Rolfing®, like massage, involves hands-on manipulation of soft tissue, but with different goals. Whereas the objective of massage therapy is relaxation and the release of tension, Rolfing® aims to provide long-term overall improvement in the body’s alignment and functioning by focusing on the fascia. The benefits of a Rolfing® session endure long after the session. Similarly, whilst Rolfing® and chiropractic work both seek to align the body through hands-on manipulation, only Rolfing® lengthens and balances the fascia systematically to remove restrictions and correct imbalances. Chiropractors focus primarily on the alignment of bones and joints by moving the bone to its proper position, but if the fascia isn’t addressed bones can become misaligned again. The fascia is the thin membrane that surrounds individual muscle fibers, nerves and blood vessels, connects muscle to bone and forms tendons and ligaments. It looks a bit like cling-film or that thin, white layer you often see in raw chicken or steak. It prevents friction by allowing the muscles, tendons and so on to glide over each other on movement. Over time, poor posture, injury, stress and repetitive movements can cause the fascia to become tight and pull the muscles out of alignment. This is usually felt in the body as chronic pain, knots, pain, tension or stiffness, with decreased flexibility. One of the remarkable qualities of connective tissue is its plasticity, which is why it is so responsive to Rolfing® treatment
I went to experience Rolfing® for the first time at Evolve Wellness Centre in a secluded mews in the heart of South Kensington. Sibyl Darrington, my therapist, practices there two days a week (Monday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings). My appointment was 75 minutes, and comprised a short interview about my general health and previous life experience before Sibyl began to work on my body. I was rather taken aback by some of the questions; for instance, I wondered what the relevance was that I had worn braces as a teenager, or that I had once had an operation under general anesthetic. Sibyl explained that both of these experiences will have left a lasting impression on my body; my jaw will have been impacted heavily by the orthodontic work that I had at age 14, and the general anesthetic will still be embedded in my body on a cellular level. Sibyl told me fascinating a story about a client of hers who had had open-heart surgery as a baby. She underwent Rolfing® as an adult, and after just one session, the smell of the general anesthetic leaving her body could be detected.
After the verbal questionnaire, Sibyl asked what I would like to achieve from my sessions. I told her that I have two main aims: first, relief from my post-pregnancy pains, and second, better posture. She then asked me to strip down to my underwear and walk up and down in front of her to assess my current posture and gait. It’s not every day I undress in front of a stranger, and so it was very important to me that I felt comfortable with my Rolfing® practitioner. Rolfing® is a very physical and intimate process that involves a lot of trust. As with any form of therapy, you’re in a vulnerable position which is why it’s so important to choose a practitioner that you like and feel comfortable with. Fortunately, I felt that immediately upon meeting Sibyl, who has a lovely gentle, sincere manner which put me at ease and made it easy to trust and work with her.
One of the things I like about Rolfing® is that it has a structure and it is finite. Unlike some forms of therapy which can carry on for years with no end in sight, Rolfing® is based on ten sessions, each of which is dedicated to different parts of the body. It’s a clear, defined program of treatment and obviously within that framework, there is scope for the Rolfer™to adapt the programme to your body and your particular needs in that session. The first session focuses on breathing, and Sibyl focused on opening up my back, shoulders and arms to improve the flow of air into my lungs. Subsequent sessions focus on the jaw, the hips, and the feet.
Rolfing® has a reputation for being painful, but I found the level of pressure applied by Sibyl to be perfectly tolerable. That’s not to say it wasn’t uncomfortable at times, but Sibyl was brilliant about checking in with me throughout the treatment. The contrast between the left and right sides of my body was quite remarkable; the side that was worked on first felt warmer, more relaxed, and lighter. After both sides have been worked on. I felt more integrated. At the end of the session, I felt stretched, less stiff and a lot more relaxed. The main physical symptom I experienced was extreme thirst. Sibyl advised me to drink a lot of fluids afterwards in order to rehydrate. I also slept extremely well which was wonderful.
After this transformational preliminary experience, I am already looking forward to my next Rolfing® session, and am looking forward to enjoying greater flexibility, more energy and a greater sense of ease throughout my body.
For more information or to find a certified Rolfer™ near you, visit www.rolfing.org.
A 75 minute session with Sibyl Darlington at Evolve Wellness Centre costs £100
Evolve Wellness Centre10 Kendrick MewsLondon SW7 3HG
020 7581 4090