Dr Ronald Tarrel. D.O., a neurologist at the Noran Neurological Clinic in Minneapolis, says, “I refer my patients who may be surgical candidates, or others that have had surgery for neck and back injuries, to Rolfing Universally, I have had an 80-85% success rate with these referrals One key reason I refer is that Rolfing offers relief to patients who think their left-over pain is due to failed surgery. They may be so tightly bound after the surgery from the scarred tissue that their soft tissue needs to be released. Rolfing can help greatly with this.”

“As an osteopathic physician, I understand the value of manipulation therapy and often refer out to physical therapists. massage therapists, chiropractors, or osteopaths,” says Tarrel.

“Through my training and exposure to medicine I had heard about Rolfing but was not familiar with it,” says Tarrel. “In the normal course of treating my clients, I generally ask them what else they have done. I heard consistent reports from some clients about the effectiveness of the Rolfing method.”

“I am active in the martial arts and was especially interested in flexibility,” says Tarrel. “My clients said their bodies had increased mobility after receiving Rolfing. They were not cured by it but it really helped.”

-A 45 year old male client said he felt back in shape, like he was in high school again, after his Rolfing sessions. He could really move again.

-The friends of a female. semi-professional basketball and softball player told her she was moving like Michael Jordan after she received Rolfing.

-A 35 year old housewife said Rolfing made her feel like a 17 year old ballet dancer again.

When Dr Tarrel developed low back problems he decided to try Rolfing He says “Five years ago my low back began to be a problem and I was stiff and uneven. Even though I daily prescribe medications and physical therapy, I wanted hands on work for myself. The Rolfing soft tissue manipulation I received provided balance, pain relief and increased movement.”

“At times even though my Rolfer didn’t work directly on my low back, it began to feel better and all of a sudden both sides of my body became more symmetric,” says Tarrel. “He worked around the spot that was sore, in my legs and through the hip joint, not directly on it. When I exercised I could tell I had become more symmetric and the changes held in the long term. I went through the Rolfing ten session series and just about every session was beneficial in a different way and my body thrived.”

“I am sold on Rolfing because I get to do all the sports I want to even though I don’t have a perfect back.” says Tarrel. “X-rays have shown that my back does have some changes in it, a disc herniation and other things, but I know, being in medicine, that no-one is going to make these go away. I don’t need any surgery as long as I can keep it stable with Rolfing. I helps all the mechanical components that give me pain, discomfort and stiffness. Rolfing does not correct the inherent changes in my back. They are still there. If I mess it up again I go back to my Rolfer 2-3 times over a 5-6 week period and I am better again.

I have practiced Tae Kwon Do, Korean martial arts for 22 years and have a third degree black belt,” says Tarrel. “I also rollerblade, ski and weight train regularly. Though the Tae Kwon Do is pretty hard on my back and has begun to take its toll, I am invested in it and don’t want to give it up. Rolfing returns me to my more flexible self. It does not correct the inherent changes in my back but allows me to continue to do rigorous activities and makes me more aware of my body. Rolfing gives me pain relief and keeps my body in balance improving movement and comfort so I can count on my body more. I can trust my body to behave as my mind would like it to as opposed to stopping short because it is stiff. Sometimes the right and left sides do not behave the way I expect them to. If I went regularly to my Rolfer it would keep me more balanced and stable. I do my best on my own, working with tips my Rolfer gave me to improve my performance, change bad habits and prevent injuries. I get encouragement to walk and stretch correctly and it makes a difference. It educates me so I move better in my sports and at work.

Rolfing gives people a feeling of release in the body’s nervous system. It works deeply on many levels and also benefits people emotionally, spiritually and behaviorally. A lot of people learn to let go during the session and may get a deeper feeling in their body, an emotional and spiritual release that frees them up.”


March 20, 2001 , Boulder , CO . Mr. James Wright, is a 50 year-old scientist and medical materials engineer and consultant for healthcare manufacturers. He has a BS in biology and has spent 32 years in medical materials research and development.

Wright sought out Rolfing to alleviate the strain and cramping from computer work and for some rollerblading injuries. Five years ago he was a karate student with muscle pain, tightness and misalignment. Jim Wright had planned to live with his shoulder, neck and back problems until his wife suggested Rolfing. “I tried it and the problems are gone.” says Wright. “Now, I go in once a year for a tune up.”

He received 10 sessions. “It was quite amazing, I walked differently.” says Wright. “My gait is smoother and I grew half a foot longer. Nagging aches from muscle strain are gone. Then I had 5 advanced sessions and I felt even better walking and running. My body was in balance. I recently returned to my Rolfer for help with an injury. In January I was heading to Australia , carrying a suitcase that was about 20 lbs too heavy for me and I developed a cramp in my hip. I used heat, spas, massage but the pain returned a day or two later. One visit with my Rolfer gave me immediate relief and the problem never came back.”

“My wife works a lot on keyboard and suffers from shoulder and neck pain.” says Wright. “She has a running appointment with our Rolfer to get a tune-up every six months. I recommend it for everyone. It even addressed those minor muscle pains inherent in the body that I’d ignored. Now they are no longer troubling me. Then there are some aches that wouldn’t go away.”

Massage offers immediate relief but it’s not lasting.” says Wright. “Muscles endure repetitive strain. A simple injury with a suitcase can develop into a shoulder cramp, the muscle shortens from strain. Rolfing returns you to your optimum and balances your body. Chiropractic is like massage, it offers temporary relief, but you have to keep going back, the underlying problem is still there. Rolfing straightens out the underlying problem. It helps me with downhill and cross country skiing, and bicycling which require balance. Having the body in balance supports my athletic interests. We need more Rolfers out there. My Rolfer has a 2-3 month waiting list.

Where Does Your Back Go When It Goes Out? Ask An Expert : Jeffrey Maitland, Ph.D, Certified Advanced Rolfer, Author Of Spacious Body (North Atlantic) 

Boulder, CO … How many times have you heard this surprised comment from a friend? You know, I was just bending over to pick up something, when all of a sudden I felt something slip in my lower back and the next thing I know I am on my knees in terrible pain! “There are many explanations for how the spine gets in trouble, but one of the more common causes of back pain is a joint restriction,” says Jeffrey Maitland, a board-certified diplomate at the Academy of Pain Management. “When this occurs you will often hear people say, ‘my back went out’. What happens when your back goes out is not that it goes anywhere but that joints (facets) in the spine get restricted or fixed.” “JOSPT (the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy)1, recently cited that patients with chronic low back pain may respond better and sustain longer improvements when treated with alternative treatment protocols like Rolfing®,” says John Cottingham, Certified Advanced Rolfer, an expert in the Rolfing approach to low back pain and co-author of the JOSPT study. “Rolfing structural integration, an original and scientifically validated system of bodywork, combines hands-on manipulation with movement education.” Rolfing bodywork can speed up injury recovery by:

  • reducing pain, stiffness and muscle tension
  • improving movement and circulation around the joint
  • attending to both the injury and any secondary (ie., hip or neck) pain that may develop from favoring the injury

Rolfing Movement Education can help you: 

  • identify bad habits that create tense lower backs, hunched shoulders, or turned in ankles
  • learn correct posture and movements to replace old habits
  • learn from the knowledge of what your own body does, instead of guessing what’s healthy for your back


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