Rolfing Systematically Aligns your Body
If you have heard of Rolfing you may think of it as a type of massage but, while both treatments involve touch, the differences outweigh the similarities. Rolfing is a systematic treatment of key areas of your body – feet, legs, pelvis, spine, neck, arms – with the specific aim of aligning your body in the gravitational field, whereas massage is a relatively unstructured way of dealing with tension or injury in the body.
Massage can certainly help by relaxing muscles and improving circulation, but Rolfing goes much further to improve the overall structure of your body by providing a thorough overhall of your body’s connective tissues to ensure that all the key structural parts relate to and work with each other optimally.
Each Rolfing session has a specific goal and the effect is a cumulative improvement in functionality, postural alignment and structural integrity. Accordingly, Rolfing is sometimes referred to as Structural Integration and you will sometimes see it called Rolfing Structural Integration.
Rolfing Systematically Aligns Your Body While Working on Connective Tissue
Rolfing is effective manipulation of the body’s connective tissues, especially muscles and fascia (myofascia). The Rolfer uses fingers, palms, knuckles and elbows to make skilled interventions with the goal of aligning your physical structure so that your body stacks efficiently and effortlessly instead of awkwardly which puts strain on the body.
You may be asked to make movements and focus breath at certain points in order to enhance the effectiveness of the technique.The systematic realignment of your body through deep manipulation of its connective tissue matrix can have quite dramatic results on your posture, as well as reducing discomfort, chronic pain and irritating niggles. It sets you on a path towards integration instead of struggle
Common Symptoms which Respond Well to Rolfing
Some common conditions which improve by doing the Rolfing Series are musculo-skeletal pain conditions such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, repetitive strain injuries and plantar fasciitis. Other structural problems such as scoliosis and flat feet respond very well to Rolfing. Rolfing is an excellent way to improve bad posture. Clients frequently express surprise at how much change can take place over a series of ten or eleven one hour sessions.
Rolfing Series – Outlining the Basic Series of Ten
Rolfing aligns your body by working on connective tissues in a systematic way. That system is a series of ten or eleven sessions. Pain in the body is most effectively released by treating both the local area of pain (say the neck) as well as the related areas of the body which come to bear on the area of discomfort (in the case of the neck this could be the pelvis and spine, but even the feet could be involved). Rolfing not only treats the local area of discomfort but also makes sure that your body is well aligned so that global imbalances no longer aggravate the area. This is why you do not just do session 7 to treat neck pain – it is the cumulative effect of the whole series together, not just local attention to the part that hurts
The first three sessions are the opening group and will give you a taste of whether Rolfing is for you. Sessions 4-7 are the ‘core’ sessions when we get deep into the body and then sessions 8-10 are the final rebalancing and integration of the Series. The 11th session takes place after a deliberate gap of at least a month after the 10th session in order to let the work integrate over time
Rolfing Series, Session 1 – The first session is an assessment of your body and gentle introduction, touching on key points which will be addressed in more detail as the Series progresses. For more please click here
Rolfing Series, Session 2 – The second session sets the foundation for what follows by working on the feet and lower legs. This is a key session for bunions, plantar fasciitis, collapsed arches and heal pain as well as for treating imbalances in the foot which may have lead to repeated injuries over time, such as ankle sprains. For more please click here
Rolfing Series, Session 3 – In the third session we address the sides of your body from feet up to the neck. This is a key session for scoliosis and for improving breathing
Rolfing Series, Session 4 – The fourth session treats the inside leg and hamstrings, including more work on inner arches of feet. This is an important session for lower back pain as there is a muscular continuity from the inside legs to the front of the lumbar spine
Rolfing Series, Session 5 – The fifth session works on the front of the body, including quadriceps, psoas, front of shoulders. This session tends to be very good for people with rounded shoulders or upper cross syndrome
Rolfing Series, Session 6 – The sixth session deals with the back of body, including calves, hamstrings, gluteals and spine. Session 6 is very helpful for sciatic pain from piriformis syndrome as well as being good for hamstring flexibilty and back lower and upper back pain
Rolfing Series, Session 7 – The seventh session focuses on the neck and cranium. This session often significantly reduces neck pain
Rolfing Series, Session 8 – In the eighth session we work the legs again, a redo of the leg work from sessions 3 to 6. Session 8 often produces a lift in the body as clients feel much better support from the ground
Rolfing Series, Session 9 – The ninth session works on the arms and shoulders. Session 9 is helpful for arm and shoulder pain and can help RSI
Rolfing Series, Session 10 – the tenth session is unplanned, with the work tailored to each individual. Session 10 will often address areas where your daily lifestyle causes stress, such as upper back pain caused by excessive computer use. I normally schedule an eleventh session a month after the tenth session in order to let the work of the Series settle into your body and treat any unresolved issues.