What Is Connective Tissue and Why Is It Important?

Dr. Georgette Delvaux, DC

Imagine that all parts of you that have a name are gone: skin, bones, organs, brain…everything that has a name. Let’s imagine that you would not be in gravity, or else you would collapse, of course. You would look exactly as you are, except you would be more or less translucent.

What would be left is the connective tissue, the stuff that connects everything to everything. It is the organ of shape. It is very changeable. Very young people have a rather fluid connective tissue; they move with ease. If you see people approach from far away the first thing you see is just that: their movement. Do they move easily or do they move with less ease or with none at all? That is the part of the body that Rolfers work with.

Dr. Rolf taught us to observe the human body as it behaves in its natural environment: in the gravitational field. All parts of us are constantly subjected to the gravitational field, and there is no way to not be in it. Our body is built mainly to walk around and lie down, and everything else we do with it takes awareness. Not respecting this ever-present force of gravity will cause no end of trouble.

Dr. Rolf was the first person to tell us that: If gravity is respected it is a supportive force. If not respected, gravity will break us down. Children will not develop normally. People will not recover from injuries or bad habits. Postural problems will develop; there will be inflammation and thickening of connective tissue, including arthritis.

Dr. Rolf was the very first person to teach that the environment has a dominant influence on us. It is the way we relate to what exists outside our body that determines our shape and the freedom of our movements.

You cannot touch the connective tissue without touching everything else, of course. The inner organs, however, cannot really be changed with direct hand contact. Your liver has a certain volume and shape, for instance. So do your kidneys, your heart, and all your organs. Your organs are attached to your rib cage, to your spine, to each other, and to the layers of connective tissue that line the inside of the body cavity…and those can be touched and repositioned to free the organs from restrictions.


Photograph by Y tambe (Y tambe’s file)
[GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons