A common question I get is: how are Rolfing and physical therapy different?
Physical therapists (PT) focus on using exercise, stretching, some massage, and devices such as heat. Physical therapy excels in rehab from surgery. As the incident of joint replacements increases, so has the need for physical therapy.
When I had my clinic in Scottsdale, I had clients who were physiatrists (physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians). Along with orthopedic surgeons, they sent me clients who needed more than physical therapy; these doctors understood that chronic joint and soft tissues issues often stemmed from chronic tension and misalignment.
Not only did the docs realize that rehab and exercise would not address pain caused by a body that’s tight and out of balance, so did many of my clients who came from previous clients referring them. Chronic tension is not caused by muscles being weak – it’s caused by muscles being tight.
As a client explained many years ago, if you habitually lean to the left, strengthening your muscles on your right may – in the short run – create relief. Because you still have the tightness on the left side, the problem will return, or another problem will manifest.
By releasing the shortness on the left side, the body straightens itself. Once naturally aligned, the pain disappears, and easily sustains its alignment.
I learned much of what I know about physical therapy from the physical therapists we trained as Rolfers. I have a great deal of respect for physical therapists. I refer my clients who’ve had surgery to them, telling the clients they need to stick with their exercises to prevent future problems.
If you have chronic pain that may be caused by tension, structural misalignment, or stress – chronic or acute – Rolfing may be worth checking out. Give me a call if you have questions.