Rolfing ® is a form of bodywork that combines directed movement by the client with hands-on manipulation by the therapist in order to release restrictions in the body in a progressive and cumulative manner. The goal of Rolfing® is to change physical structure, to help the body reclaim its optimum natural alignment and balance in gravity. It works directly on the most important and plastic structural element in the human body, the network of soft tissue called fascia that maintains reciprocal tension throughout the body and creates each individual’s unique shape.
Rolfing® has also been successful in reducing chronic muscular strain. Postural problems, injuries, repetitive motions, surgeries and scars, and even everyday physical and psychological stress can tighten muscles, misalign bones, diminish mobility, and cause compensations throughout the structure. By lengthening the affected muscles and allied tissue, Rolfing® focuses on the source of tension. Dr. Ida Rolf, the creator of this work in the 1940’s, found that when restrictions are released, the tissue’s natural elasticity and mobility are restored, bones regain their correct position, and the body is better able to organize itself such that pain and fixations abate. Clients report greater energy, increased freedom of movement, and an enhanced sense of well-being.
What to expect?
Each session of Rolfing ® begins with a visual assessment of the client’s individual structure seen from all sides. Sometimes, clients are asked to move in specific ways and specific areas may be palpated. Most of the work is than accomplished with the client lying on a massage table, sitting on a bench, or standing and moving in directed ways while the Rolfer® works with his hands and elbows to address specific areas of the body. The client’s sensations can vary greatly from pleasure to burning, but should not require bracing or tightening anywhere in order to take in the work.
The classic series consists of ten sessions, which each last approximately 75 minutes. There is no requirement for a client to commit beyond any one session. However, each is approached in a way that builds upon the previous and anticipates the next, but always with special attention to individual needs and issues. Sessions will often include education on movement and posture that takes on the form of “homework” between sessions. Once a series has begun, succeeding sessions should ideally be scheduled in intervals of no more than 3 weeks.