Rolfing is good for a wide variety of problems, and is well known for getting quick and long-lasting results. Adults, seniors and children can all benefit from Rolfing because it’s gentle sessions are tailored to each client’s needs. Rolfing is good for everyday people – office workers, tradespeople, stay-at-home parents, competitive athletes, etc. It’s also used by professional athletes, dancers, performers, even musicians, as a way to enhance performance. While results of Rolfing vary from person to person, clients commonly report many of the following benefits:
Please note that Rolfing is contraindicated for certain health conditions, which I will inquire about during the initial consultation. Rolfing is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. It does not attempt to diagnose or prescribe. Its sole purpose is to bring order to structure, and it is through the accomplishment of that purpose the function of the whole person is enhanced.
No. Rolfing works with your body’s posture (structure) and how you move (function) for long-term effects. It does this through both soft tissue manipulation and movement education. Rolfers do not use massage oils because it limits the ability to access the connnective tissue layers we are trying to manipulate. Massage typically focuses on relaxation and relief of muscle discomfort, while Rolfing is aimed at improving body alignment and functioning. See below for more information about how Rolfing differs from other types of treatment.
Rolfing usually feels like very slow, deep pressure. Because Rolfers interact with patterns of strain in the body, there are sensations of varying intensity associated with the process. Sensations vary from barely perceptible to barely tolerable, but they are never unbearable. The client always defines the limits of their comfort zone. Early in its development, Rolfing became known as a very uncomfortable process. The good news is that over the last 20 years, the Rolfing community has evolved the work way beyond its reputation, and it is now more effective with less discomfort for the client. Contrary, to what many people have heard, there is no absolute amount of pressure that Rolfing requires. Every Rolfing intervention is adjusted to specifically meet the client’s needs.
Rolfing works with three-dimensional soft tissue patterns that limit comfort, balance and alignment. It is a process of gradually and progressively easing the body’s strain to evoke order, support and efficient movement. Rolfing works with individualised treatment plans tailored specifically to each client’s needs and the reasons they seek Rolfing. Although Rolfing has profoundly influenced a great number of therapies, it is not a form of deep tissue massage or myofascial release therapy. From the Rolfing perspective, if the whole body is not properly prepared to receive the effects of local manipulations, either the change will not be maintained or strain will show up in other areas.
Chiropractic is primarily concerned with freeing spinal joint restrictions and promoting nerve flow to and from the spine. It does not address the soft tissue patterns of the whole body and their influence on structural balance. Rolfing uses soft tissue techniques to treat bone-to-bone restrictions that are a part of the overall body pattern. Rolfing and Chiropractic care are compatible and can be complimentary.
Massage is a broad term that refers to many styles of bodywork. In general, massage promotes relaxation and blood flow. Some "deep tissue" massage works to release local patterns of structural strain, but this is not usually done as part of a strategy to balance the whole body. Although massage is relaxing, you may find the same area bothering you again shortly after you leave the office. This is because the area that hurts is often a compensatory or secondary issue, which massage doesn’t address.
Your first experience with Rolfing® is likely to be within a ten-series format. Rolfing is different from most forms of bodywork because it focuses on improving the organization of the entire structure, rather than focusing on the place that hurts, feels stiff, etc. The ten-series is like a tune up for your body, a systematic approach to aligning your structure. Each session builds upon the last and prepares the body for the next one. Although structural goals may be similar, the same session may look very different for each client based on their structure, learned behaviors, and movement patterns. Each session is as unique as the person receiving it.
No, having the ten-series is not required when you see a Certified Rolfer. You can have as many, or as few sessions as you’d like. Deciding to do the entire ten-series is a different process for everyone. Many clients know they want the entire series before they begin. For those who are unsure, I suggest trying one session to see how it feels. If you decide to do fewer than ten sessions, we can develop a strategy to get the maximum benefit out of the number of sessions you can do. Some clients with chronic problems choose to extend their Rolfing beyond the ten sessions. Either way, we will create an approach that best serves you.
Rolfing Structural Integration is named after its creator, Dr. Ida P. Rolf (1896-1979). Dr. Rolf received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1920 and furthered her knowledge of the body through her scientific work in organic chemistry at the Rockefeller Institute. Her extensive search for solutions to family health problems led her to examine many systems that studied the effect of structure on function, including yoga, osteopathy and chiropractic medicine. 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. The Rolf Institute’s international headquarters is located in Boulder, Colorado, with offices in Germany, Brazil, and Australia.
An initial series of Rolfing usually consists of about 10 sessions, each lasting 60-90 minutes and generally spaced 1-2 weeks apart. Under Jim’s skillful eye and touch, each session builds on the results of the previous ones.
The typical attire is underwear, or clients can also wear swim suits if they prefer. It’s important for the Rolfer to see your physique and the changes that occur during the session. Ultimately, it is most important that the client is comfortable in the theraputic setting, so the matter of attire can be discussed further if you so wish. Rolfing is done on a massage table, along with a bench for seated work. I may also have you stand up periodically to see how the work has progressed.