olfing releases the varied forms of chronic stress, and its negative effects on your body, by restoring order to the structure of your body. When your body is structurally integrated and aligned with gravity, it functions more efficiently.
Through a series of 10 one-hour sessions, your soft tissue (muscles, tendons and fascia) is slowly and firmly manipulated. As I apply pressure to your tissue, your body releases its tension as you relax. Each session builds on the previous session, and focuses on specific goals and areas of your body.
My particular addition to the classical goals of Rolfing is to focus on reversing the cause of chronic problems through the release of old stress and old injuries. Then, I’ll focus on educating you so that the problems are unlikely to return—how to reduce your stress, how to handle your stress, how to walk, move and sit so your body stays in alignment, and you continue to feel good.
How We Pick Up Stress
As we travel through life, our bodies pick up the effects of stress. This includes: stress from physical injuries or repetitive motion; it may be the psychological stress that we all experience; even not breathing fully can have a detrimental effect. These effects may result in you looking and/or feeling older than your actual age.
Eventually the healthiest body will reach a place where there isn’t any more room for stress. At this point, the tension doesn’t go away. It stores itself in the soft tissue (muscle and connective tissue) of the body. The body will remain tense until these “micro-traumas” of stress (and possible major traumas) are released.
Just as a major injury produces scar tissue, so do all these micro-traumas. Through applying slow, steady pressure on these areas of acute and chronic tension, I encourage the tension to release using my particular technique, Natural Release. The effects are significant and permanent in your body because the structural and behavioral patterns that perpetuate the pain are released. You’ll learn simple ways not to recreate these limiting patterns.
There is a history of Rolfing adding clients with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Bessel van der Kolk professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School in this interview shares his experience with Rolfing:
Dr. van der Kolk: I’ve always explored every treatment that I explore for other people. What’s been most helpful for me has been rolfing.
Ms. Tippett: Has been what?
Dr. van der Kolk: Rolfing. Rolfing is called after Ida Rolf. It’s a very deep tissue work where people who tear your muscles from your fascia with the idea that, at a certain moment, your body comes to be contracted in a way that you habitually hold yourself. So your body sort of takes on a certain posture. And the idea of rolfing is to really open up all these connections and make the body flexible again in a very deep way.
I had asthma as a kid. I was very sickly as a kid, because I was part of this group in the Netherlands — finally after the war in the Netherlands during which I was born, about 100,000 kids died from starvation, and I was a very sickly kid. I think I carried it in my body for a long time and rolfing helped me to overcome that actually. So now I became flexible and multipotential again.
A series of Rolfing sessions for your body is like having a good tailor work on your too-small suit: altering your “fascial suit” by releasing all your tension allows your skeleton to finally have the room it needs to move freely and stand straight.
Dr. Rolf and her fellow Rolfers® have been championing the importance of fascia for decades. In part because of the success with manipulating it and there by helping clients along with many Rolfers being leaders in the field of fascial research, fasciai’s now getting the attention it’s due. This German video translated into English is an excellent introduction into fascia.
An old friend and colleague of mine, Robert Schleip, Ph.D. describes the latest research on fascia and Rolfing’s effect on it in this video.
Robert also has this page of excellent resources about Rolfing.
For more than 60 years, Rolfing® has been helping people to enjoy relief from pain and to achieve a higher level of performance. Rolfing is named after Ida Rolf, Ph.D., who developed the technique to help her family and friends. As word of her success grew, so did the profession. Today in the holistic health field, Rolfing continues to be the leader in structural integration, thanks to the research and efforts of many scientists and hundreds of Rolfers.