The art and the challenges of Rolfing lie in the formalistic protocol, which, like all formalistic protocols, also has its disadvantages. Formalistic protocols start from the notion that an ideal body exist, or from a notion of a state that it is seen as the exemplification of "normality".
Because the formalistic protocol prescribes the same frequency of interventions in the same order, it also predicts the same results for everyone.
That would also mean that everyone is the same. The fact that this is not the case, is a very important aspect, which often is still underestimated in the medical world.
The theoretical and strict design of the formalistic protocol makes it impossible to observe what is special or unique in a person, and therefore, for a given individual, it can not offer a treatment strategy in the most effective way.
What it is important to add in this regard is that, how the body reacts to gravity, also has to do with the functioning of individual morphology.
After Dr. Rolf's death, these limitations of somatic idealism and formalistic protocol, were replaced by a greater appreciation of how various psychobiological and physical bodies deal with the effects of gravity.
This is what encouraged the development towards "non-formalistic" work in the Rolfing training.
Rolfing therefore has advantages for everyone, but not the same benefits and effects for everyone.
Now it is about creating the best conditions for every individual.
Finding what works for each client is not a matter of imposing a structural template by means of formalistic protocols, but is a process of discovery. Since there is no single form or pattern that can serve as the standard for what constitutes “normal” for all human beings, discovering what is “normal” for each individual in relation to their environment is a much more complex matter of uncovering what is natural or inherent in the being of the whole person. What constitutes “normal” for each client unfolds by means of careful and sensitive structural manipulation and movement education which explores and uncovers the plasticity and limitations that are inherent in each person's form in relation to how they have adapted to their environment. Living wholes are self-organizing, self-regulating, self-sensing systems characterized by the continual ongoing attempt to balance, organize, harmonize, and enhance their lives. “Normality” is neither an ideal nor a static state, but an evolving orthotropic achievement that is won again and again over the course of a life.
Dr. Rolf began her investigations by emphasizing structure. But over the years the faculty has come to realize that equal weight must also be put on understanding function, movement patterns, the various energy systems of the body, and the effects of physical and emotional trauma on the body. Rolfing now works not only with structure (myofascial strains, joint fixations, cranial, visceral, the coelomic sacs and other membranous strains) but also with unconscious patterns of holding in movement, suppressed emotions, trauma, neurological fixations, perceptual and worldview confusions (14,18), and blocked or distorted energy.
Even though Dr. Rolf believed the functional approach was very important and even though she created a form of movement education, she tended to develop her structural approach almost to the exclusion of her functional approach. Over the years, the movement faculty has significantly developed Dr. Rolf's early functional approach far past her original insights and practices. Rolfing movement work has evolved into a therapeutic exploration and education in somatic awareness and unencumbered movement. Rolfing movement practitioners work with a variety of techniques ranging from verbal instruction, touch, self-awareness, and other forms of education that are designed to guide clients toward finding more appropriate options for movement in their everyday activities as they relate to gravity and their world.
Without attempting to make Rolfing a substitute for psychotherapy, the faculty has also developed new ways of understanding and releasing the effects of emotional and physical trauma on the body.
These advances in Rolfing are continually being refined as new insights and discoveries are integrated into the work.
A major contribution is definitely the "tonic function"- model by Hubert Godard.