What is rolfing?
Ida Rolf discovered through her studies as a biochemist and her interest in Hatha yoga, that the cause of physical and emotional discomfort could be directly linked to the balance of the fascia (connective tissue) and gravity. External factors of life disturb the natural alignment that is available to all of us which can result in poor posture, pain and discomfort. In Rolfing we try to regain the optimal natural alignment through structural hands-on work and prevent returning to a pattern of misalignment through gentle movement reeducation.
What made Rolfing different from other hands-on approaches at the time was the fact that Ida Rolf considered the whole body in gravity rather than as different parts in isolation. The fact that there is a constant force that pulls the body straight down towards the ground, makes it more appealing to have a body where all the units are stacked exactly on top of each other in perfect alignment, rather than a situation where the different parts are considered individually.
Rolfing is a holistic approach that aims to rebalance the individual parts of the body as parts of a whole, to allow the body itself to heal injuries and relieve pain rather than targeting a specific injury in every session.
” When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then spontaneously the body heals itself”
Ida P. Rolf
Rolfing is a 10 session process of soft tissue manipulation that balances and realigns the body by releasing tension patterns and reeducating movement patterns .Rolfing was developed by Ida P. Rolf PhD in the 1960's in the United states. She initially called her technique structural integration, but it got known by her name as Rolfing, which is the name used today.
What is fascia?
Fascia is a web of connective tissue that surrounds muscle groups, individual units of muscle, organs and bones. The sheets of fascia should slide on each other to keep the body mobile and healthy. However, fascia responds to stress placed on a person’s body (e.g. the pull of gravity on a badly aligned posture) by creating more or less of itself in the areas of the body that are under stress to protect joints and other structures. This results in the fascial sheets sticking to each other and pulling on each other, which can disturb the body’s natural alignment and possibly lead to injury.
The Rolfing touch aims to restore the elasticity and the sliding capacity of the fascia and to realign the body in such a way that it can function optimally.
Who can benefit from Rolfing?
Anyone can benefit from Rolfing. Rolfing often resolves recurring injuries and pains if these are caused by misalignment. Dancers, athletes and other active people often find that the subtle changes to their movement patterns, facilitated by Rolfing, leads to an improved performance. After completing 10 sessions with a Certified Rolfer™ a client can expect to experience a greater sense of all over freedom, better posture and improved movement as well as better body awareness. Many clients also report positive emotional and psychological changes after completing the course.
What can I expect from a typical Rolfing session?
A Rolfing session lasts 60 or 90 minutes. The Rolfer will do an assessment, which will include the clients presenting problems and posture analysis. The posture analysis is done in underwear or shorts and sportsbra.
Rolfing has often been described as very painful, and at times it can feel quite intense, however there are also gentle parts of the process and the Rolfer always works within the clients pain limit. Rolfing is an active process which requires teamwork between the Rolfer and the client.
Can I continue to do sports and my other daily activities during the time I get Rolfed?
Some people feel energized after the sessions, while some feel so relaxed that they need to schedule a gap in their day of 30 minutes or more after the session before they return to the office. After the first session you will know how you react to the work and we can plan the following sessions accordingly.
It is advisable not to do heavy sports on the same day as receiving the session as the changes in the body need to settle, however gentle exercise such as going for a walk or a swim is useful especially if these activities are done slowly enough to allow awareness to the new patterns in the body. Generally my experience is that it is beneficial to continue your daily activities throughout the Rolfing process, but to do them with a different awareness to your body than usually.
Session 1: Freeing the breath.
Breathing is the basis of any change. In this session we work on opening the structures that are limiting the clients breath. We mainly work on the chest, neck ribcage, arms and hip.
Session 2: Finding support from the ground
In this session we address mainly the lower legs and feet in order to facilitate a better foundation and support for movement
Session 3: Balancing the sides of the body
We connect the breathing with the support from the ground to get the sides of the body balanced. This includes mobility of hips and the ribcage
Session 4 and 5: Balancing the midline of the body
In session 4 we work on the lower midline of the body and the pelvic floor, while in session 5 we address the upper midline of the torso
Session 6: Balancing the back
In this session we aim to free the back of the legs and the pelvis as well as the entire back of the torso
Session 7: Putting the head on
In this session we work on the head and neck to create ease of movement and a sense of space and lightness in the neck and shoulders
Session 8 and 9: Integration
These sessions focus on integrating the postural changes into movement and we address problem areas specific to the individual client.
Session 10: Closure
The final session aims at connecting all parts of the body and finding ways to integrate the changes into the daily life of the client.