A picture of massage therapist during Rolfing session


Rolfing is a soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organises the whole body in gravity, originally developed by Ida Rolf. Rolfers affects the body’s structure by manipulating the fascial system (connective tissue).

Often considered a deep-tissue approach, rolfing bodywork actually works with all the layers of the body to ease strain patterns in the entire system. Rolfing creates efficiency in muscle and patterns of movement by allowing glide between tissues. Rolfing has also been shown to significantly reduce chronic stress or pain and enhance neurological functioning.


Fascia is the stringy, fluid, gelatinous tissue that fills all the empty spaces between our cells.  Its weblike nature envelopes muscles, bones, blood vessels, nerves and protectively surrounds internal organs from head to toe.

Fascia, also known as connective tissue, provides the structural and mechanical framework of the body, allowing tissues to slide and glide against each other during movement.

Fascia is constantly changing and adapting in response to demands placed on an individuals body.



Dr. Ida P. Rolf (1896-1979) is the founder of the Rolfing® Structural Integration method that she developed and first taught in California, U.S.A. She is one of the first women to have obtained a PhD in biochemistry at the University of Columbia, New York, in 1920 and furthered her knowledge of the body through her scientific work in organic chemistry at the Rockefeller Institute.

Dr. Rolfs interest in Structural Integration came about through her research for solutions to personal and family health problems for which conventional methodologies had proven unsatisfactory.

Dr. Rolf combined her research with her scientific knowledge to stimulate a deeper appreciation of the body’s structural order, resulting in the theory and practice of Rolfing. 


Dr Ida ROLF portrait
Rolfing session - Kristy Shelley



  • Rehabilitation from an old injury, trauma, emotional shock or to resolve problems from scar tissues from broken bones, torn muscles or ligaments, whiplash, etc. so that the individual can find ease in movement again.


  • Those who feel uncomfortable in their body, run down, stressed or in pain.


  • People seeking to free lesions from repetitive movements, improving ones posture and decreasing scoliotic patterns.


  •  To improve mobility, balance and well-being, especially for the elderly and for the ageing body.


  • Many athletes and/or artists wanting to improve performance and extend their careers seek rolfing.


  • Or for those who simply want to feel better - to have more energy and flexibility. Rolfing is a way to reconnect with our bodies - emotionally, physically, and spiritually.



While both, Rolfing and Massage, involve soft tissue manipulation, the intention is different.


A Rolfer affects the body's structure over the long-term. Changing the shape and function of the connective tissues. Unlike Massage, which often focuses on relaxation and relief of muscle discomfort, Rolfing is aimed at improving body alignment, fascial glide and function.


Also, Rolfing is different from deep-tissue Massage, in that the Rolfer is trained to look at the overall structure of the body. While deep-tissue Massage focuses on releasing tension in a specific area, Rolfing looks for balance throughout the entire body. This way the overall structure of the body becomes more organised, alleviating chronic strain patterns, hence decreasing pain and stress.


To accomplice this a Rolfer will incorporate movement while working the soft tissues innervating fascial glide, while in a Massage the client is most likely passive.


Many forms of massage exist, both Rolfing and Massage are a great way to compliment ones preferred therapies.

Kristy Shelley - Rolfing session
Movement Analysis


Screening movement pattern involves looking at HOW a person executes a movement.

For example a lunge or a squat. Whilst looking at an isolated movement we are mimicking how you might get up from sitting or pick something up from the ground. How you do that is called your movement pattern.

A movement pattern is something that is learnt, like a child learning how to walk. A baby will go through process of core stabilisation through breathing, rolling, crawling, squatting to eventually standing. Imprinting is when a child watches how a carer moves and then mimics that movement.

During injury and stress one formulates a movement pattern to get them through the day wether it be eating, sleeping, working or training. This goes on until the tissues have repaired, up to 18 months. Once tissues have repaired and rehab is complete the body will continue to move with-in that faulty movement pattern learnt during injury. Also, due to the inflammatory processes within tissues during injury, there is a loss of the sense that tells the body where it is in space called proprioception.

Through movement we can determine how and where strain manifests in the body.

For athletes, screens are best preformed during inter-season, for tissue conditioning and movement integration, the intensity of your training may have to be reduced and the bio-mechanical changes closely monitored.


Pilates is a method of excersize developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920's. That consists of low-impact stability movements emphasising postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance.

Principles of Pilates

It is in the honouring of the Pilates Principles that the depth of the work is achieved. These Principles are traditionally cited as:

- Breath     - Concentration      - Centring      - Control      - Precision      - Flow

Through the years the Pilates Method has gradually evolved and integrated current bio-mechanical thinking. However, the roots of the technique are steeped in the philosophy and movement patterns designed by Joseph Pilates over 90 years ago. Today his core method is still taught, as well as an evolved form integrating modern anatomical and bio-mechanical thinking by teachers of the Pilates Foundation.

The popularity of the Pilates Method has spread steadily since the day when Pilates first opened his studio. Pilates has now become a worldwide phenomenon with over 12 million people practicing, and the numbers continue to grow due to its effectiveness and adaptability.

In order to keep the tissue changes made from Rolfing Structural Integration methods, it is essential to combine it with movement, hence using the Pilates foundations, I have formulated an interactive way for my clients to continue to progress in the evolution of their habitual movement pattern by offering and combining movement class with my bodywork sessons.

KristyShelley- Rolfing & Massage
Joseph Pilates


Joseph Hubertus Pilates 1883 - 1967, was a German physical trainer, and notable for having invented and promoted the Pilates method of physical fitness.

Joseph was born near Düsseldorf, Germany in 1883. Little is known about his early life, but he appears to have been a frail child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His drive and determination to overcome these ailments led him to become a competent gymnast, diver and skier.

In 1912 Joseph lived in England working as a circus performer, boxer and self-defence instructor. During the First World War, he was interned with other German nationals. During this time he developed his technique of physical fitness further, by teaching his fellow internees. During the latter part of the War, he served as an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man where he worked with patients unable to walk. He attached bed springs to the hospital beds to help support the patients' limbs, leading to the development of his famous piece of equipment known as the 'Cadillac'.

To know more about Rolfing® and how to become a Rolfer visit:

www.rolf.org , www.rolfing.org