Short video showing a Rolfer in action -- and an excellent introduction to the work.
For more videos & articles about Rolfing, including its support by Dr Oz, renowned professional musicians and athletes, click on link below.
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What Is Rolfing?
∙ How Rolfing Is Done
∙ The Ten Sessions of Rolfing (a.k.a. "The Ten Series")
* Posted with the permission of the author and Certified Advanced Rolfer Andrea Clusen
Overview, History and How Rolfing Was Developed
Rolfing Structural Integration® is a form of bodywork that strives to improve the body's posture and overall alignment by using a structured, time-tested process -- a 'recipe' of sorts that has been proven out over a 50 year period. This process or recipe is not cookie-cutter, rather it is customized to each unique individual.
The technique was created by Dr. Ida Rolf who obtained a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1924. Through her study of anatomy, physiology, yoga, Pilates (she was friends with Joseph Pilates) she developed this unique modality for invoking health and vitality in people who receive it.
Through decades of research Dr. Rolf recognized an important insight into our physical nature: our sense of well-being and ability to function is uniquely tied to how well or poorly we manage and maintain our upright form in gravity.
Simply stated, her vision was about enhancing the functioning of the whole body by making it right with itself and the gravitational field. If you can imagine how it feels to live in a fluid, light, balanced body, free of pain, stiffness and chronic stress, then you will understand the purpose of the Rolfing process.
When we are out of alignment, gravity drags us down, just as it drags down a building that has lost its architectural integrity. Whether from poor posture, injury, illness or emotional distress, a misaligned body is at war with gravity. We experience this war as pain, stress and depleted energy.
When the body loses its architectural integrity, the connective tissue system (fascia, muscles, tendons) shortens and thickens in characteristic patterns of strain and tightness. Much in the way a snag in a sweater distorts its form, our body can be distorted by its fascial snags. The Rolfer ™ takes advantage of the plasticity of connective tissue by applying highly specific, intelligently modulated, appropriate pressure to the patterns of tissue strain throughout the body.
Commonly used by professional athletes and dancers, people from all walks of life turn to Rolfing to increase ease pain, avoid unnecessary surgeries, rehabilitate injuries, improve performance in their professional and daily activities and generally to feel better in their bodies.
Unlike most forms of massage, Rolfing requires that the practitioner and the client work together to generate change in the body. In addition to being collaborative, Rolfing takes a unique approach to creating lasting results. Rather than focusing on specific symptoms, Rolfing focuses on balancing the body as a whole by combining physical bodywork with movement education.
The combination of these approaches makes it possible to start immediately improving pain and discomfort, while teaching clients how to maintain the long-term benefits of the work.
How Rolfing is done
A large proportion of the work is done with the client on a wide massage table. Often it is done with the client sitting on a bench.
Rolfing practitioners generally use fingers, hands or elbows to isolate the connective tissue (fascia) surrounding a muscle. They then work with the client to make synchronized movements intended to stretch and release areas of constriction. Though Rolfing is commonly referred to as deep-tissue bodywork, the techniques actually use a range of pressure from deep to extremely light.
When deep work is required, Rolfers use a variety of methods and positions to ensure that discomfort is minimal. This combination of varying applied pressures and synchronized responses frees and repositions fascia, which gradually leads to realignment in the body's segments.
The Ten Sessions of Rolfing (a.k.a. "The Ten Series")
A basic Rolfing series consists of ten sessions spaced from a week to three weeks apart and lasting 60-90 minutes. During an initial consultation, the Rolfer conducts an evaluation of a client's unique structural needs, postural alignment and movement. Each of the sessions that follow are customized to address the client's specific needs.
For those who aren't yet sure they want to commit to the Ten Series but want to try Rolfing, we recommend 3 consecutive sessions, with each session spaced about 1 week to 3 weeks apart, and then evaluate progress/results. Rolfing sessions usually take place with the client lying on a massage table. This positioning allows the Rolfer to effectively control the amount of pressure used to release the fascial restrictions in the client's structure. On occasion, clients may receive work in a seated position, standing, or even in positions common to their daily activities (like yoga postures or holding an instrument).
The Ten Series of Rolfing follows a basic structure; however, goals are set at the beginning of each Rolfing session, and specific focus areas of the body are determined.
The first three sessions are designed to open the superficial or outer layers of the body.
· Sessions four through seven refine deeper physical structures that effect balance and posture.
· Sessions eight through ten organize, integrate, and align the body as a whole -- so that the entire body works cohesively, thereby reducing stress on the whole as it moves.
Each Rolfing session builds upon the results of the previous one, so changes are cumulative. Clients report a wide range of results - from greater ease in sitting and standing to significantly increased mobility and energy.
At times people have special needs outside of the ten series of Rolfing. Some clients may need more sessions, other less. I will work with you to accomplish any of the goals that you may have to help your body out.
To learn more about Rolfing, click the box at right to watch
videos and read articles.