Getting Rolfed often arouses emotional responses in clients that can be mild and practically unnoticeable as well as strong and cathartic. Changes in the body, through various neurobiological mechanisms, affect the functioning of the brain, with particular effect on the regions associated with emotions and feelings. The result is that clients often report feeling happier, uplifted, and more stable. [Read more…]
In this interview with Dr. Ginger Campbell, M.D. of the Books and Ideas blog, Germany’s first Certified Rolfer, Dr. Robert Schleip, PhD discusses the role of science in the world of complementary medicine. Topics include a German study on the efficacy of acupuncture, the dynamics of fascia in injury and healing, and the ways in which his scientific research has changed his understanding of Rolfing and other complementary therapies.
Update: The study Dr. Schleip references can be read in its entirety here. The German Acupuncture Trials pitted standard medical protocol, real acupuncture, and fake acupuncture against each other in the treatment of low-back pain. Standard medical protocol scored about a 27.4% success rate. Real acupuncture scored 47.6%. Fake acupuncture?
The short answer is no.
The long answer is that it can involve intense sensations, but today’s Rolfers never want that intensity to turn into grimaces and protective tightening in clients. Such physical responses are viewed as counterproductive to bringing about lasting change. [Read more…]
Rolfing works by addressing range of motion restrictions throughout the body to establish a more balanced, efficient whole. It is believed that Rolfing and myofascial release techniques work by contacting fascia, the filmy white stuff that surrounds and is continuous with ligaments, muscles, bones, and organs. You’ve seen fascia if you’ve ever prepared raw meat. It’s that icky white stuff under the chicken skin and on your slab of raw steak that is always a struggle to cut away no matter how sharp the knife.
Though fascia is 3D and loops around and about all over the body, it may be helpful to envision it as latex. The entire body is wrapped in latex. The structure of the body is being held together by constant tension. When, say, a shoulder is moved out of place, the latex still keeps the shoulder sucked into the torso, but the shoulder doesn’t move right. The hips are a bit skewed. The knees are bowed. The neck is craned. There are a host of structural issues being held together by the latex wrapping. Rolfing loosens up the latex (fascia) around all this to help all the parts of the body find their ways back home. Basically, when the latex gets loose, the pull of gravity brings everything towards the plumb-line.
How exactly the actual touch techniques work, however, has been up for debate for decades.
According to the latest research, Rolfing and other forms of myofascial bodywork work by contacting mechanoreceptors within fascia, thereby changing the way the body’s self-regulatory mechanisms function. [Read more…]
Robert Schleip was Germany’s first certified Rolfer. He turned into a histological researcher after 13 years of teaching Rolfing and becoming dissatisfied with the “pseudoscientific mentality behind what [he] was doing.”+