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What is Rolfing, and Can it Benefit You?

What is Rolfing? Rolfing is a technique that involves the manipulation of the fascia and soft tissue to create better alignment and balance in the body. Injuries, bad posture and mechanics or pain can cause the body to move dysfunctionally. Over time, imbalance can cause or exacerbate pain and old injuries can remain because the body is not able to move naturally, or it has got into the habit of moving in a way that is harmful or painful. Rolfing releases tight fascia that might be causing imbalance or inhibiting free, healthy movement. It can create space around painful joints and allow the body to function naturally and without pain.

How is it different from sports massage? Rolfing focuses on long-term alignment and improved function of the body via manipulation of the soft tissue, rather than relaxing or targeting stiff or sore muscles via deep tissue massage. The technique, which was created by Ida Rolf in the 60s, is a more holistic treatment than clinical physiotherapy or deep tissue massage, and it claims to offer both physical and mental benefits. While a physio or masseur might treat a problem area with a targeted massage or a chiropractor will manipulate the bones, for example, Rolfing treats the soft tissue and fascia across the whole body, no matter where the source of the pain is, in an attempt to encourage the body to hold itself in a healthy way and release areas that might be causing imbalance and referred pain.

What happens during a Rolfing session? Most sessions are spent in unrestrictive clothing (i.e for women - a sports bra and yoga shorts), lying on a massage table. The practitioner uses firm, smooth movements with varying levels of pressure to manipulate the fascia, along with pressure applied to ligaments and mobilization of joints. Before and after each session you’ll be asked to stand so that the therapist can observe your alignment and posture from all angles, and walk so they can assess your gait. You’ll be asked all sorts of questions about pain, lifestyle and what you hope to gain before you start. Rolfing follows a ten-session structure, working the body from top to toe. While the treatment will follow the Rolfing structure – it is important to treat the whole body to fix a problem – sessions will be adapted to suit the needs of each individual client. Learn more on the Ten Series here:

Rolfing is a holistic treatment. The treatment is not solely focused on the physical. Rolfers talk of treating the mind and spirit too, of emotional benefits as well as physical ones, and of life transformations born out of being Rolfed. It is this element, that has led to Rolfing to be classified by some as a ‘holistic wellness therapy'.

What do the testimonials say? Rolfing can reach problems other therapies cannot reach and testimonials from successfully Rolfed people – particularly those who had long-term issues or old problems that keep recurring – are convincing. People with arthritis (an example of how Rolfing can help arthritis is described in this article by Rolfer Keith Graham: ) or long-standing back pain who have tried physical therapy, massage and long-term strong pain killers report a relief of symptoms. Sometimes it may not remove pain entirely, but it can reduce it to a level where sufferers can start helping themselves to heal further – enabling them to become more mobile, to start rehabilitative exercise or just have the weight of constant pain lifted.

People who go to be Rolfed have often tried more standard clinical therapies before – sometimes for years – only to find that their pain recurs, before finding Rolfing helps them out. Rolfers say that Rolfing takes a more long-term approach than many clinical treatments, and encourages change – things like posture, alignment, breathing – that can equip a person with the tools to prevent pain from reoccurring. You can read many positive testimonials of clients whom have worked with me here:

If you would like to learn how Rolfing may benefit you, you can request a consult session with me here:

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