What is Rolfing?
Rolfing is a method of working with a person's body and movement patterns.
It is a systematic approach that establishes balance and ease by organizing the body's network of connective tissue. Rolfing can relieve the chronic patterns of strain, restriction and tension in the body through hands-on work with the soft tissues; the muscles, the fascia and the connective tissues of the body. A Rolfer always works to improve balance between the left and right sides, front and back, bottom and top, inside and outside. The client experiences this as lengthening, lightening and more fluid movement of the body.
How I Work in a Session
As I work I am always asking myself questions: “Is this body balanced at rest in the gravity field? How fully is she using her body when in motion? What restriction interferes with comfortable standing and efficient movement? Is he breathing fully and deeply?"
First I observe a client's structure standing, sitting and moving. Then I work by applying various amounts of pressure with my fingers and hands to areas of the body that are restricted. When the connective tissues are freed, many aches, pains and tensions are relieved and the feeling of lightness, vitality, energy and improved overall function is restored. With this new freedom, the body’s natural organization can return, bringing heightened efficiency and comfort called Grace in Gravity.
Why Go to a Rolfer?
People come for Rolfing for many reasons that have their origins in their body's histories of accidents, traumas, and patterns of tension, habitual use and overuse. These stresses have caused tissues to shorten and harden. People come to get relief from the aches, pains and feelings of tension and restriction that interfere with their fullest participation in daily life.
- Structural alignment. Clients come to improve their postural alignment because they sense this will make a substantial contribution to their well being. Much of the work that I do is aimed at effecting the structure’s alignment because I know that by doing this we will be making a foundation for lasting resolution of the kinds of complaints discussed below.
- Chronic pain. Many clients come for help with chronic pain like trouble with a shoulder or hip, neck or lower back, TMJ or headache pain. With these clients I work to balance restrictions that are directly related to their complaint, and I also balance their entire structure in order to help prevent recurrence of that complaint.
- Injury. Clients come complaining of the results of accidents, such as a car accident or sports injury. Each person’s situation is the unique result of how their accident affected their unique pattern of strains.
- Tension. Clients come because they want relief from chronic patterns of physical and emotional tensions. They can put their finger on their pattern of tension but haven’t been able to completely relieve it, even though they may be participating in activities such as yoga, massage, chiropractic adjustments, Pilates classes, exercise programs and psychotherapy. Rolfing can be a wonderful complement to these and other modalities that are commonly used.
- Performance. Whether you are a yoga fan or avid golfer, martial artist, dancer or rugby player you may have wished for more strength, ease, comfort and grace in what you enjoy doing. Research into Rolfing® shows that after Rolfing® subjects performed the same tasks with less effort and interference. The body’s “drag” on itself is reduced. Clients say that they are more coordinated and that they feel "more well lubricated" when they move.
- Aliveness and Energy. Many of my clients report changes in their feeling of vitality and liveliness. Some come to me specifically because they feel “stuck” and want to work to free up some of their energy. Rolfing can help to allow feelings and self-expression to flow, and bring us into better contact with ourselves.
Basic Series of Rolfing Sessions
Dr. Rolf designed the 10-session Rolfing series as an orderly process that will effect the alignment of the whole body and integrate the ways that all of the body’s segments work together.The Rolfing 10-session series can be divided into 3 groups that work with different layers and segments of the body in a carefully designed sequence:
- Sessions 1-3 are concerned with work in the surface layers of the body. Opening and organizing the surfaces makes it easier for us to release and organize deeper layers in the second and third groups of sessions.
- Sessions 4-7 are concerned with organizing and re-patterning the deeper layers of soft tissues and the relationships between segments of the body. It is the changes in these deeper layers and relationships between segments that create long-term changes for the entire body.
- Sessions 8-10 are concerned with connecting and creating communication between the deep and the surface layers. This increases our ability to move from our deep layers with increased comfort, ease and grace.
10 sessions is a usually good target for the number sessions we need to get this integration work accomplished.