Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between Rolfing and massage?
Rolfing is designed to unlock body-wide patterns of pain and strain. To do this, Rolfers are trained to assess a person's "global anatomy". This allows practitioners to work not just the area that hurts, but the wider patterns of compensation that often hold us in dysfunction and pain. It's been compared to sculpting, using the soft tissues somewhat like clay in order to re-mold, reorganize and balance the entire musculoskeletal framework. Massage is based on a model of relaxation and working a specific muscle in order to hydrate and increase circulation. Rolfing on the other hand, creates quantifiable changes in posture, structure and function of our bodies.
Does Rolfing Hurt ?
It's interesting that most people who have the opinion that Rolfing is extremely painful have never experienced the work first hand from an actual Certified Rolfer®. People most often seek out Rolfing because they already are in some type of chronic pain. The sensations accompanying working on painful areas during Rolfing can be intense, but in a way that provides a deep sense relief and release for the person receiving the work. A good Rolfer knows how much pressure to use and communicates well with his or her client in order that the work remain within their tolerable limit. Working too deeply is counter-productive and therefore has nothing to be gained from it.
Does Rolfing Last ?
Yes ! Photos taken of clients years after the Basic 10-Series show that changes in posture remain. What also remains is the ease of movement, improvements in range of motion and diminished patterns of strain that accompany good posture. Keep in mind that life changes, as do our bodies over time. Injury, illness, stress and daily wear and tear may necessitate an occasional "tune-up".
What About Rolfing And Yoga ?
A regular yoga practice in concert with Rolfing sessions is one of the best ways to access and address the restrictions, chronic stress and holding that live in our bodies. Many clients report a much improved and deepened yoga practice following Rolfing work. Flexibility, balance and range of motion are consistently improved.
What About Sports Performance ?
Athletes receive Rolfing to improve their performance in a chosen sport. Many professional athletes such as Mario Lemieux, Brian Orser, Michelle Kwan, Tom Seaver, Quadry Ismail, Elvis Stojko, Charles Barkley and others in pro football, basketball, baseball, tennis, skiing and skating have received Rolfing work to enhance and extend their careers. Balance and coordination are improved, and the body moves more efficiently. Rolfing also assists in coming back from injuries. Runners, bikers, golfers and all athletes' can expect real and tangible benefits.
Can I Continue My Exercise During Rolfing ?
Depending on a variety of factors, it may be necessary to 'throttle-back' your workouts during Rolfing. If the body-wide myofascial pattern is part of what is keeping you in pain and dysfunction, it only makes sense to back off strengthening and fortifying that pattern. Lighter workouts, on the other hand enhance the Rolfing process and allow your body to integrate the changes that happen from session to session. After your sessions are completed, normal training regimens can resume.
What To Wear For Your Session
Men receive work in their underwear; briefs are best if you have them. Women have several choices. Most women choose to wear a pair of gym shorts over underwear, and a tank top, camisole or sports bra. Looser fitting is better. You may also simply wear a bra and underwear as your Rolfing "uniform".
How Are Rolfers Trained ?
In order to be a Certified Rolfer, one must be a graduate of The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration®. Considered post-graduate in nature, Rolf training encompasses a rigorous curriculum in anatomy, physiology, interpersonal dynamics, postural assessment, ethics, hygiene and the technical arts of Rolfing. Basic training typically involves one to two years of study. At this point, Certified Rolfers begin their practice. After 3 to 5 years of working with clients, Rolfers can also acquire the necessary continuing education credits to qualify for The Rolf Institute's "Advanced Training." Certified Advanced Rolfers receive further education in fascial anatomy, spinal mechanics, joint mobilization and unwinding, cranio-sacral dynamics and new developments in the widening field of Fascia research.
How Long Are The Sessions? How Far Apart Should They Be?
Sessions usually last approximately one hour. They can be spaced anywhere from one week to one month apart depending on schedule and financial considerations. More important than the interval between sessions, however, is establishing a rhythm associated with regularly scheduled sessions. The client who commits to a regular schedule of appointments is usually happier with the results obtained.
What If I'm Also Seeing a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor ?
Rolfing and Physical Therapy are an excellent complement to one another. Rolfing excels at decreasing too much tension and tone in the myofascias, Physical Therapy on the other hand, excels in increasing strength and tone on the weak and under-toned myofascias . We often need some of both. On this basis, the two work hand in glove.
Rolfing and Chiropractic medicine, while very different, are also an excellent complement to each other. When soft tissue forces acting on bone are reorganized and balanced, Chiropractic adjustments are reported to become much easier with less force needed. Clients also find that adjustments will hold for longer periods of time.