People come to Rolfing for all sorts of reasons. To achieve greater freedom and comfort in their bodies, is a common reason. People come to gain relief from specific problems such and back/neck pain and sciatica. Athletes get rolfed and experience greater performance. Actors and dancers are drawn to Rolfing as a tool to open up greater expressive capacities in their bodies. The elderly can benefit by experiencing more fluidity in their bodies. Some people come to Rolfing as a way to facilitate a change in their lives. Others use Rolfing as a way to help deepen current practices, such as psychotherapy, meditation, Aikido, or tai chi.
If you have heard anything about Rolfing, you’ve heard that it hurts. And sometimes it does, although I’ve had clients tell me their massage “hurts worse than this.” Anytime you are making a change in someone, particularly when you are dealing with life-long patterns in the body, there may be intense sensations.
Tension is stored in the body by the way of tight muscles and connective tissue. Sometimes releasing this tension may cause discomfort. To get a sense of this release, you can reach across your shoulders and feel a hard tight place. Press your hand on this spot and you will feel discomfort, then after holding the pressure briefly, you will feel a release and no discomfort. This is similar to the Rolfing experience. I work with clients at a pace that allows them to participate. I also work with very small children and again they are able to benefit because they immediately feel the release of pain causing tension.
When Rolfing was first developed over 30 years ago, the methods were less refined than they are today. In the early days of Rolfing, we tended to work very deep to get at the restrictions causing discomfort. Today, practitioners are trained to pay close attention to the reactions of the nervous system and work to the level of availability in the tissue. Many new indirect procedures have also been developed to make Rolfing a more pleasant experience.
The basic Rolfing program consists of a ten-session series, generally spaced a week to two weeks apart. Dr. Rolf brilliantly conceived of this systematic method of bringing a person greater ease in their body. Each session has specific aims and goals so that no two sessions are the same. The sessions have a logical order with an eye towards overall well-being and comfort.
The body continues to change in a positive way following the basic ten session series and that’s just what it is: a basic series. The body continues to evolve and many people find regular sessions a part of their on-going commitment to health and well-being. I have clients who schedule a session each month, others who return every six months, and others who come back when they feel the need. Post-ten Rolfing can be a great tune-up or another chance to work with a specific concern.
Almost certainly. If the problem is structural (and most are) you will become pain-free. However, in severe cases of collapse and rotation, it may take more time to do so.
Yes. Most people feel a profound sense of well-being after each session and increased energy. After Rolfing you should be able to go on with your life as you wish. I do caution clients not to engage in a heavy workout for at least 24 hours after a session. Following a session the body is in a new place and under the stress of a heavy work out may try to regress to its last place of stability. An ‘exploratory workout’ is probably best.
I think more than permanent, my experience is that the body continues to change in a positive direction over time following Rolfing. You will look better and feel better. Photographs show that the changes of the basic series are still present many years after the series is complete. On the other hand, as bodies change, and people have further injuries, accidents or stressful times, additional work may be useful.
Age is no barrier to Rolfing. Like most things in life it is better to start young, however I have worked with people in their eighties and nineties with effective permanent results. My favorite clients are in their 50’s and ’60s they have had enough of pain and misery and want their bodies back.
Rolfing can be a major influence in correcting childhood imbalances and injuries. I’ve had an active practice with children from 12 months to late adolescents.
I find the emotional effects of Rolfing to be very powerful. This kind of therapeutic bodywork is often instrumental in assisting people to get through the effects of trauma and abuse and to create a new relationship with their bodies.
Rolfers work with many different physical problems such as: Carpal tunnel syndrome, Neck and Lower back pain, Spinal curvature (scoliosis), TMJ, Headaches, Sciatica, and Joint pain.
To be fully licensed and certified, Practitioners must complete 2 years of comprehensive study at the Rolfing Institute. This is followed by a 5 year continuing education program before advanced certification. Areas covered are Behavioral and Biological sciences, Rolfing Theory and extensive supervised clinical work.
While Rolfing is primarily concerned with structural changes, any change in the physical body affects the whole person. A human being is comprised of many aspects including; attitudes, emotions, behavior, and structure. They are all related to each other. Rolfing clients often report positive changes in their outlook on life and in their ability to handle emotional changes.
It depends on the insurance policy and the circumstances. With a physician’s prescription and referral, workman’s compensation and personal injury cases are usually covered. With personal health insurance, I advise clients to ask if physical manipulation or structural integration is covered and give them the procedure code: CPT code # 97140 (manual therapy). After you have completed a number of sessions, at your request, I will provide you with a letter and statement of the charges. For health insurance coverage, payment is required at the time of the session. If you fill out your own health insurance forms, there is a better chance that Rolfing will be covered.
Rolfing is a technique that works on the connective tissue, not only the surface structures, but also deeper structures that massage does not address. The goal and result of Rolfing is to balance the over-all structure of the body. Massage and Chiropractic do not generally produce balance and alignment in the body. Rolfing is a compliment to these disciplines.