dannette little & rey allen
Rolfing is a process-based approach with the goals of changing lift-long patterns of tension and bracing in order to change how you use and experience your body. Whether from past injuries, surgeries, poor habits, or chronic stress, or persistent pain, after a series of sessions you can expect better movement, improved coordination, increased body awareness, less pain, and more adaptability to life’s stressors, as well as more resiliency.
Basically, Rolfing is about change, changing the way you feel and the way you move. Rolfing systematically addresses your body as a whole, usually over a series of sessions.
Through intelligent and sensitive touch, we are able to bring relief to pain and discomfort, develop awareness of the areas you hold and using your body. Rather than treating symptoms, Rolfing practitioners work to help your body integrate internally between systems, and externally toward your life’s challenges.
The Benefits of Rolfing
Physical injuries, trauma, and habitual daily stressors require us to adapt how we move and hold ourselves upright. These adaptive patterns can become deeply ingrained—even long after they’ve fulfilled their protective and adaptive functions—to the point that basic movements like sitting, resting, and walking are more effortful and uncomfortable than necessary. Such prolonged effort can contribute toward feelings of stiffness, pain, fatigue, and lack of vitality.
Rolfing can help us learn to “let go” of chronic stress and tension in areas of our body we maybe not even be aware of. As a result, we experience a sense of ease, efficiency, and fluidity.
Who Benefits from Rolfing?
All types of people benefit from Rolfing. Some come to ease chronic pain and stress; others are hoping to improve their athletic performance; still others are simply interested in exploring their potential for awareness and vitality. Children and older people alike can benefit from SI.
Rolfing is contraindicated for those with infections, fevers, acute inflammation, and recent trauma. Some forms of rheumatoid arthritis, severe osteoporosis, or osteomyelitis are also contraindicated. If you are unsure whether or not Rolfing will be safe for you, check with your doctor and inform your Rolfing practitioner about your condition before working together.
A Typical Rolfing Session
During the Rolfing process, changes in your posture, movement, and physical experience are achieved through education, awareness, and therapeutic touch. The focus is on relationship—how you relate with your physical experience of yourself and your environment—rather than on any particular body part or region.
When working with a Rolfing for the first time, an intake process is performed, including your health and personal history, followed by an initial assessment of how you hold and move your body. Clients remain clothed to whatever extent they wish, though some kind of activewear is common. Typically, your standing posture and gait (walking), and perhaps other movements are observed. Your practitioner will use that information to help design a session strategy with you, then ask you to move onto the therapy table.
While Rolfing practitioners are trained in hands-on techniques, a range of techniques may be applied in service of the goals of the Rolfing process. The amount of pressure used may vary greatly. A practitioner may use touch that is lighter or heavier, slow-moving or still, depending on therapeutic intent and your preferences. You may be asked to move as pressure is applied, or to stand, move around, and notice your experience during the session.
While working with your practitioner, you may experience a variety of sensations ranging from warm and pleasant to mild discomfort. Your feedback will allow your practitioner to adjust their pressure accordingly—the pace of the session is always under your control.
Usually, Rolfing is performed over an initial series of ten to thirteen sessions that systematically address your body as a whole, with each session building upon the previous. Rolfing practitioners often tailor their approach to address individual needs and preferences. After your initial series, you might continue to work with your Rolfing to further support your goals.