Benefits of Rolfing
Rolfing is a great therapy for people of all ages. Because each person is unique, as are the circumstances that affect our lives and bodies, the intention and outcome of Rolfing will be different for everyone. The goal of Rolfing is not perfection; it is to improve a person’s structure, function and wellbeing. Rolfing is an excellent foundation for and complement to Pilates, yoga and other wellness practices.
Rolfing can increase:
• Body awareness and responsiveness
• Energy and vitality
• Emotional wellbeing
• Range of motion
Rolfing SI has been shown to improve:
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Chronic muscle pain and tension
• Headaches and migraines
• Joint pain
• Low back pain
• Plantar fasciitis
• Repetitive stress injuries
• Vertebral disc injuries
What to expect
Is Rolfing painful?
Rolfing has a reputation as being painful, but the experience shouldn’t cause overt pain. “Intense but interesting” is a good way to describe the physical sensations that may arise during a session. Because Rolfing helps the body experience a new way of being, slight discomfort may be felt as the body transitions to this new state. If the technique feels painful, then your body and being are resisting the work. The Rolfer pays special attention to your nervous system response, body language and what you communicate to make sure you are completely comfortable and getting the most out of the therapy.
What is a client’s role?
Rolfing is not a spectator sport. You will gain the most value from the work by being present and fully aware of your body’s experience. There will be moments when you may need to tune in to breathing patterns, make subtle movements to engage muscles or internally focus through guided imagery. The connection between the Rolfer and patient is unique in its interactivity and communication. Ultimately Rolfing is both relaxing and invigorating, with benefits that can extend far beyond the physical if the client is fully engaged.
What is appropriate to wear for a session?
During the session your practitioner will complete a body reading to better understand your body’s current structure (shape) and function (movement). To accomplish this, the Rolfer will observe specific movements such as walking, arm rotations, knee bends, and neck and foot movements. This is best observed with the attire outlined below. Always dress to your comfort level for your Rolfing session.
Men: Boxers, running shorts or swim trunks
Women: Bra, panties, swimwear, sports bra, running shorts or tank top
How many Rolfing appointments are needed?
How often should appointments be scheduled?
Rolfing is typically completed in a ten-session series. After a “ten series” is complete, “post-ten” sessions can be scheduled, but it’s recommended to wait as your body may experience changes up to 6 months after the completion of the ten series.
Rolfing sessions can be scheduled 48 hours to 4 weeks apart. Your body and circumstances will determine what is right for you. It is best to complete cycles of Rolfing, so consider committing to three, seven or ten sessions.
Please email or call (612) 367-6535 if you have any questions about which series of appointments is best for you.
What is covered in each session?
A ten series of Rolfing follows a specific order to awaken the body and comfortably change it to a new state of being.
The first three sessions focus on the sleeve of the body. The sleeve is defined as the arms, legs and external muscles of the torso that affect the shoulder and pelvic girdles.
Session one addresses the body’s adaptability and prepares the body for subsequent changes. During this session the goal is to open the breath to allow for vitality. The rib cage, spine, shoulder and pelvic girdle receive specific attention.
Session two addresses support and the body’s awareness to spatial boundaries and the ground. The feet and lower leg receive specific attention.
Session three addresses the lateral line of the body. In this session the sides of the body are lengthened and the front and back of the body are balanced and defined. The sides of the body from the neck to the pelvic girdle receive specific attention.
Sessions four through seven focus on the core. These sessions systematically organize relationships of the torso, allowing for efficient transmission of energy through the body.
Session four addresses core support from the lower body and pelvis by focusing on the inner line of the leg. The foot, leg and pelvis receive specific attention.
Session five addresses core support from the front of the body providing lumbar balance to the pelvis. The shoulder girdle, rib cage, abdominal region and pelvis receive specific attention.
Session six addresses core support from the back of the body focusing on the dual function of the sacrum and pelvic relationships. The feet, leg and pelvic girdle receive specific attention.
Session seven addresses the core from above focusing on the cranium, neck and torso relationships. The head (including intranasal and mouth work), neck and shoulder girdle receive specific attention. This session completes the core sessions.
Sessions eight through ten bring the attention to integration. In these sessions there is less focus on differentiating structures and more focus on the function of structures.
Session eight addresses either the lower or upper body based on your needs. The focus is on transmission of energy and movement to create lasting changes.
Session nine balances the body by attending to the opposite territory of session eight but with the same intent.
Session ten brings closure and is unlike the previous sessions. This session integrates the shoulder and pelvic girdles and also works across your core from the feet to the top of the head.
After receiving a ten series you do not have to complete another ten series. A single session post-ten will usually address any issue. A three-series post-ten includes an upper, lower and integrative session.
What is fascia, and why is it important?
Fascia is a web-like complex that surrounds, supports, penetrates and connects every muscle, bone, organ and nerve. It connects every part of the body like a thin layer of continuous fabric, giving the body shape and enabling movement.
When it’s healthy, fascia is elastic and allows muscles, bones and organs to move and function as they are intended. When unhealthy, fascia loses this ability. It eventually becomes dense, causing a shortening of muscles, limited range of motion and poor posture, all of which can lead to physical pain and mental and emotional stress. Rolfing helps ease the fascia back to its original state of health and elasticity.
History of Rolfing SI
Dr. Ida Pauline Rolf, born in 1896, was a graduate of Barnard College and received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. She continued her education in Europe, where she studied physics and homeopathy, and also pursued learning holistic modalities, including chiropractic medicine, osteopathy, yoga, the Alexander Technique and Korzybski’s study of consciousness. The notion that proper alignment, physiologic function and anatomical structure are related is the basis of many of these healing methods.
Dr. Rolf believed that the body functions best when the bony segments are properly aligned. She uniquely observed that gravitational effects on the body required a close look to achieve the goal of lasting improvement in alignment and overall wellbeing. Dr. Rolf focused her work on the network of soft tissues that create compensations in the body: muscle, fascia, tendons and ligaments. She posed this fundamental question: “What conditions must be fulfilled in order for the human body-structure to be organized and integrated in gravity so that the whole person can function in the most optimal and economical way?”
In the 1940s Dr. Rolf began to treat individuals with chronic pain and disabilities and experienced breakthroughs using her unique technique. She eventually introduced the world to what would come to be known as Structural Integration. In the mid-1960s Dr. Rolf began teaching Structural Integration (SI) and collaborated on movement therapy to complement the bodywork.
The demand for Dr. Rolf’s teachings continued, and The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration® opened its doors in 1970. Dr. Rolf continued to write, research and teach until her death in 1979 at the age of 83. Dr. Rolf continues to be recognized as a pioneer and leader in soft tissue manipulation and movement education. The Rolf Institute continues to share Dr. Rolf’s life’s teaching and supporting research. It has certified more than 1,500 Rolfers and Rolf Movement® Practitioners worldwide with education branches in Brazil, Germany, Australia and Japan.
Rolfing structural integration is a form of bodywork performed by a certified practitioner called a Rolfer™. During a session, the Rolfer uses his or her elbow, soft fist, knuckles and fingers to stretch and open restrictions in the fascia, or connective tissue, throughout the body. The goal of Rolfing is to improve the body’s function and alignment, which allows you to experience the body’s intended way of being: healthy, strong and balanced.