Why Rolfing?
How do I know when my body is out of alignment?
How does Rolfing differ from massage?
Is Rolfing painful?
Who was Ida P. Rolf?
What can I expect?
Is there any research on Rolfing?
Who might benefit from Rolfing sessions?
Is there any type of emotional release?
If I get Rolfed, will the changes last?

Why Rolfing?
Most people who come to Rolfing are aware that their minor injuries, aches, and pains are interfering with activities of daily living. Many have tried other therapies and perhaps found temporary relief but no lasting effect. Rolfing is particularly effective for musculoskeletal problems (back pain, scoliosis, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.) and most people find a deeper and longer lasting relief from this method of treatment. Other people come to Rolfing because they are on a path of personal growth and recognize the holistic benefits that Rolfing offers.

How do I know when my body is out of alignment?
Our bodies must deal with gravity like any other material structure. When we are out of alignment, gravity drags us down, just as 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 struggle as pain, stress, depleted energy, and poor posture. The picture illustrates the effects of gravity on a misaligned body and the changes that can occur with Rolfing. The picture is taken before and after Rolfing intervention.

 

How does Rolfing differ from massage?
Through soft tissue manipulation and movement education, the Rolfing method affects the body’s posture and structure over the long term. Unlike traditional massage, which focuses on relaxation and relief of muscle discomfort, Rolfing is aimed at improving body alignment and functionality. As your body structure becomes more organized, chronic strain patterns are alleviated, pain and stress decreases. Furthermore, Rolfing can speed up injury recovery by reducing pain, stiffness, and muscle tension; improving movement and circulation around joints; attending to both the injury and any secondary pain that may have developed from favoring the injury.

Is Rolfing painful?
While Rolfing does have a historical reputation for being painful, it has evolved into a more comfortable experience. The Rolfing method is constantly being modified in favor of gentler techniques in order to produce the same results. Clients often report the experience of Rolfing as intense but rarely painful. Generally speaking, when chronic aches and pains are released, people feel much better. Rolfers use pressure and stretching to change and release the connective tissue/fascial restrictions. Often people will remember or "feel" an old injury or pain as it is released and that is followed by the feeling of relief and well-being as flexibility and balance is restored to those areas.

Who was Ida P. Rolf?
Ida Rolf was an American biochemist that studied the flexibility of proteins in connective tissue in the 1930's and 1940's. When her son became ill, she could not find a doctor to properly diagnose him. After a realization that her son's problems were due to pressure on his internal organs from a compressed physical structure, she began to massage and manipulate his myofascial system, until the pressure was released and his problems disappeared. She went on to develop Rolfing over a 30-year period. Ida Rolf founded the Rolf Institute in the late 1960's after many years of writing and lecturing. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ida Rolf and the history of Rolfing.

What can I expect?
A typical Rolfing session lasts 80 minutes and is done without the use of oils or lotions. While most of the work is done with the client on the table, it may be beneficial to work with the body in a seated position or while walking. To allow for freedom of movement, and to provide the Rolfer with direct access to the tissues, it is traditional for clients to be treated wearing only underwear. Some clients, not comfortable with this level of undress, opt to wear a two-piece bathing suit or something comparable. During the first session the Rolfer will take a brief health history discussing your goals, expectations and any concerns you may have for your work together. As it is common for clients to participate in treatment, you might be asked to perform specific movements or even report on what you are experiencing during the session.

Is there any research on Rolfing?
Research conducted at UCLA demonstrated that Rolfing creates a more efficient use of the muscles, allows the body to conserve energy, and creates more economical and refined patterns of movement. Additional research has shown that Rolfing significantly reduces chronic stress and changes in the body structure. For example, a study conducted at the University of Maryland showed that Rolfing significantly reduced the spinal curvature of subjects with lordosis (sway back). The study also showed that Rolfing enhances neurological functioning. Read about findings from recent research on the Research on Rolfing page.

Who might benefit from Rolfing sessions?
Rolfing structural integration has an unequaled and unprecedented ability to dramatically alter a person's posture and structure. Professional athletes, dancers, children, business people, and people from all walks of life have benefited from Rolfing. People seek Rolfing as a way to ease pain and chronic stress, and improve performance in their professional and daily activities. It's estimated that more than 1 million people have received Rolfing work. To learn more about how Rolfing can benefit you, click here.

Is there any type of emotional release?
Emotions are absorbed into the soft tissues of the body. Over time, chronic and emotional states such as stress, fear and sadness are recorded and become part of our habitual patterns. Specific trauma or events may be localized to a particular part of the body. During Rolfing, a client may remember the incident, trauma or accident that occurred in that area. Rolfers sometimes call this "muscle memory." As the Rolfing client's body becomes freer and more liberated, often that person's emotions will feel unburdened and his or her mind will feel clearer.

If I get Rolfed, will the changes last?
Rolfing is a deep manual therapy that produces permanent change in the underlying tissues. Its purpose is to provide you with the tools and foundation for structural and functional change, thus enabling you to perform more balanced and efficient movement patterns. Once Rolfed, the body is aware of its most economical state of being. This will empower you to be independent in establishing a state of health, and positive changes will occur even after you have completed your Rolfing sessions.

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Gary Witt Certified Rolfer, CMT  +  900 Noe Street @ 22nd Street  +  San Francisco, CA 94114  +  Tel: 415-385-6031