Rolfing treats your body as an integrated whole. Though you may be aware of tension or pain in only one area of your body, there are significant compensations throughout your structure. Manipulation of a small segment is seldom enough. The whole body must be brought back into balance to effect permanent change and release.
In the broadest sense, Rolfing uses the manipulative process to awaken an inner sense of well-being. Our bodies act as storage systems for the accumulated physical and emotional events of our lives. Each injury, illness or emotional trauma leaves an imprint in our structure. These imprints are in the myofascial (connective tissue) network whose function is to support and connect most of the components in the body. The connective tissue bunches up to compensate for torques and twists that occur; it gradually hardens, and literally begins to stick to itself.
The body pays a high price for this type of internal resistance. Pain ensues, habit patterns develop, and the individual learns to function with limited options in movement. The more serious the trauma, the more deeply held is the compensation, often becoming coupled with our basic personality structure.
“…I did yoga, I was very careful about what I ate, generally I thought of my body as something I had to be very careful with. I thought of my body as a temple. Then I tried Rolfing – and discovered it was an amusement park!”
Stacy Mills, 1981 Rolfer ™ and beloved mentor.
* People in high stress or physically demanding jobs
* People suffering with tension or injury-related aches and pains
* People who believe that physical harmony is important to good health
* People who believe they are living and working below their inherent capabilities
* People involved in physical activities such as sports, yoga, dance, etc.
* People who believe that a balanced, responsive body is necessary for the full development of human potential
* People in every age group – infants to seniors
Rolfing sessions generally last 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You will wear your underwear during the session. Prior to the session the Rolfer will observe how you stand and move. The treatment itself is a series of manipulations accomplished by the pressure of the Rolfer’s hands, fingers, knuckles, and elbows on your body. You may feel this as an electrical sensation on the skin, deep pressure, or a variety of other sensations during the process; however, these sensations pass shortly after the pressure is released. The most dramatic feeling of the treatment is a sense of increased ease and lightness as the session progresses.
The time between sessions depends on the rate of your body’s adaptation to the changes from the work. Once every three to five weeks is the most common pattern; however, it is more important to set the frequency according to your own body rhythms, rather than abide by some rigid scheduling.
There are no prescribed exercises associated with Rolfing. If you are already participating in a regular exercise routine, I recommend that you pay attention to how your body is responding to those exercises and change the program accordingly. Stretching, yoga, and loose, easy exercises are the most compatible with Rolfing.
The first few days after a session are usually the time of greatest change.Somewhat like the first day after heavy excercise, you may feel a bit sore the next day. After that you may experience ongoing shifts in balance and awareness. Most people experience feelings of lightness and improved comfort and ease of movement.
There is no conflict between Rolfing and most other forms of body manipulation. In the specific case of chiropractic adjustments, most people report that that adjustments they receive are easier to make and seem to last longer. No other treatments are required, however, to complete the Rolfing.
The ten session format of Rolfing is designed to work on the whole body systematically to bring it to a higher level of balance. It is possible for some people to need more than ten sessions to achieve those objectives.
Whatever work you receive is complete in itself. Your body will continue to adjust in response to that amount of work. Even when there are significant time gaps between the beginning and end of a series, there is little regression in the body.
Rolfing is a process not a product; you do not emerge like a piece of ceramic out of a mold. Your body is in a constant state of balance and change depending on the external forces acting upon it, and the internal forces governing it. In the process of balancing your body, many negative forces are minimized. The closer to balance your body is, the more it strives for even higher symmetry and balance.
My goal is to NOT create pain with my work and I have dedicated my entire career to that end. Pain creates resistance on your part and that makes it more difficult to accomplish the work for both of us. I tell my clients “if you feel like you have to hold your breath, grit your teeth and hang on for dear life-I do not want you in that place, so please tell me and I will change my approach. IMO more pain is NOT more gain.
The basic series is designed to make significant changes in the form and balance of the body, but realistically it is not intended to be a one time cure-all for body dysfunction. After a period of adjustment (three months to one year or longer) it is possible to continue the process.
Tune-up sessions – work that is spaced at appropriate intervals designed to maintain the level of balance achieved in the basic series.
Advanced series – work grouped in 3-5 session series designed to use the basic series as a template for a broader level of balancing and integration.
First aid – individual sessions intended for help during the recuperation period of an injury to minimize the long term effects on structure and balance.