What is Rolfing? Who Can Benefit?

By Micaela Romualdez

Rolfing is form of bodywork that involves loosening the fascia covering our muscles and other organs and aligning the body to help promote better posture. It is the goal of rolfing to provide postural release and support the body so that it functions to its fullest potential. Structural abnormalities can promote dysfunction or even pain. Loosening the fascia helps realign the body. Fascia not only covers up our muscles, it also wraps around all the other structures of the body thus holding them in place. Whenever there is a misalignment, the body must fight against the detrimental effects of gravity. This causes our bodies to exert more effort to engage in normal movement. When there is no misalignment, the body works in conjunction with gravity providing ease of movement.

In the 1950’s, Dr. Ida Pauline Rolf developed the method of rolfing. Shortly after receiving her degree in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1920, she began doing her doctoral research at the Rockefeller Institute.

Dr. Rolf has always been a proponent of health and wellness. She was fascinated by the disciplines of chiropractic, osteopathy, yoga, and homeopathy. After researching all these types of alternative medicine, she arrived at the conclusion that all these disciplines have one thing in common: proper postural alignment in the human body promotes optimal function.

She then developed a system to release deep muscles and fascia of their adhesions. During her time, it was called “postural release.” Then it was called “structural integration.” It was given the eponym, “rolfing,” by her clients and therapists. Hence the name.

Rolfing requires a series of ten therapy sessions. This is called the “Ten Series.” The focus of each session involves releasing adhesions in specific parts of the body. The tenth session focuses on integration and alignment of the body.

Many rolfing clients at the time reported that these therapy sessions were intense and painful. They exhibited pain and discomfort during treatment. Nowadays, rolfing sessions are gentler and less brutal than the archaic methods of Dr. Rolf’s period. If you are a rolfing client, your therapist will gauge your level of discomfort. If you feel pain, always let your therapist know.

During a rolfing session, you can dress down to your level of comfort. Rolfers are adept at working around your clothing. He/she may require you to change your position frequently so that the therapist can assess your posture and/or access the deeper layers of body tissue.

Rolfers normally take digital photos of you standing before treatment and another one after your tenth session so that you can visualize the difference in your posture. After receiving the Ten Series, you will notice an increase in your body movement.

People who use their bodies for their jobs, including athletes, construction workers, musicians, cab drivers, may find great benefits in rolfing.

Micaela Romualdez is a freelance article writer for DFWChiroMassage. She enjoys writing on topics such as health and wellness, rolfing, massage therapy benefits, homeopathy, Ayurvedic medicine, and other types of alternative health care.

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