Rolfing®, SNI®, Hellerwork®: Three Modalities, One 10-Session Recipe

Rolfing, SOMA Neuromuscular Integration (SNI), and Hellerwork, three variations of the original recipe created by Ida Rolf.

Ida Rolf, a Ph.D in Biochemistry, spent most of her life exploring many forms of alternative healing including homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and yoga. The notion that proper alignment, physiologic function and anatomical structure are related is the basis of many of these healing methods. She observed that lasting improvement in alignment and an overall sense of well-being required a closer look at the effects of gravity on our bodies. She believed that the imbalances in structure placed demands on the body's network of soft tissues: muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments, thereby creating compensations throughout the body structure.[1] Ida Rolf created what is now known as “Rolfing” and more generally known as “Structural Integration”, which is a 10 session sequence that realigns the body from head to toe, releasing chronic tension, restoring optimal posture while allowing for improved mobility and health. In the late 1970’s two of Ida Rolf’s protégés Bill Williams and Joseph Heller, split from Ida Rolf to create their own spin on her original work while maintaining the integrity and principles therein.

Soma Neuromuscular Integration was developed in 1977 by Bill Williams, who had a PhD. in Psychology and was an accomplished Rolfer who studied directly with Ida P. Rolf. A lens of psychology expanded the approach beyond attention to the body’s physical structure and relationship to gravity. The added layer of acknowledging body, mind and spirit as an inseparable whole system supports the multidimensional human being and distinguishes SNI as a powerful form of structural integration.[2]

Hellerwork was created by Joseph Heller in 1978. Joseph became a Rolfer in 1972 and continued to study through 1978 with Ida Rolf, the originator of structural integration, and became the first president of the Rolf Institute in 1975. As a result of his unique combination of expertise and training in structural integration, movement education, and body energy awareness, Heller began to synthesize a new form of bodywork now known as Hellerwork.[3]

Ida Rolf was a genius in how she was able to see the body unfold as she went deeper into the structure. The recipe of structural integration works as long as her recipe is followed and those that claim to perform structural integration but do not follow the 10 session sequence are in fact NOT structural integrators. I have heard it many times where someone describes being “Rolfed” in only three sessions and this is impossible. If you are interested in maximizing your physical potential then you should seek out a qualified structural integrator.

There are other forms of Structural Integration that have been formed since the passing of Ida Rolf but these were the first two to take her work and expand it. Other forms of SI include: Aston Patterning® and KMI®.

There is no time like the present to redefine your relationship with gravity and free your body of the chronic tension, restoring optimal function. I am a Certified Soma Neuromuscular Integration Practitioner here in San Clemente and am dedicated to helping you reach your goals. If you are curious about the work, Session 1 is an amazing introduction and the consistent feedback is that everyone loves this session and feels a difference immediately. I am offering a fantastic first time discount as well as a referral incentive program. For those that are invested in taking control of their health, please give me a call or email to schedule an appointment.

1. Rolf Institute of Structural Integration. “History of Ida Rolf”. http://www.rolf.org/history.php. Accessed September 27, 2016.

2. Soma Neuromuscular Integration. The History of Soma Neuromuscular Integration®. http://www.soma-institute.org/soma-neuromuscular-integration/introduction-and-history/. Accessed September 27, 2016.

3. Hellerwork Structural Integration. Our Story. http://hellerwork.com/our-story/. Accessed September 27, 2016.