What is Rolfing®?
Rolfing® is the physical manipulation of the body’s soft issue (myofascial) with the intent of causing change in the body’s structure to improve its function in gravity. Think of a tent whose poles are not evenly balanced. Though standing, support is not even or straight. Rolfing® moves the soft tissue, usually referred to as fascia, to change the relationships between the segments of the body. The body thus releases blocks and holding patterns (adhesions) and becomes more efficient whether standing or moving.
Is it really just another form of Deep Massage?
Rolfing is not like massage because its goals are structural and functional.
If you have a neck issue, for example, and go to a massage therapist, they will usually work directly on the area of complaint. A Rolfer will analyze the structural relationships in the area to see the overall pattern between all the elements, including shoulder, spine, head, etc. A neck problem may, and in my experience usually will, have a lot to do with the shoulder girdle and the thoracic spine. The question that a Rolfer, when viewing his client, asks that a massage therapist does not is, where does the support come from for this person’s body and what restrictions prevents this support.
A second important difference is that a Rolfer is not just a therapist but also an educator. Without engaging in a process with the client of increasing his overall bodily awareness, particularly in terms of daily patterns and how he or she engages the gravitational field, the potency of the structural work will be unfulfilled. Unlike massage, the Rolfing process is a partnership between client and practitioner and communication is essential in the process.
Is Rolfing like Chiropractic?
While Rolfing aims at structural changes, it is not chiropractic. The Rolfer works primarily with soft tissue because fascia, ligament, tendon, and muscle change shape and form as the body goes through its dynamic movements. Usually, Rolfers never make high velocity, high amplitude adjustments. When there is a “pop” during a session, it is simply bone following soft tissue.
From a Rolfing® point of view, bones fill the spaces within the soft tissue. All elements, however, soft tissue and bone, perform the critical function of spreading gravitational stresses, load, throughout the body as equally as possible. Physical problems and the ensuing pain that arise are usually a failure of the body to rebound from these load stresses, whether from repetitive motion or demand for high performance. The Rolfer’s job is to get all of the body’s segments to work together to meet daily challenges. This is referred to by Rolfers as the Principle of Wholism.
What is the 10 session series and do I have to get all 10 sessions in order to get Rolfed?
The classic 10 session series is the traditional way of getting Rolfed when a client seeks fundamental changes in his or her structural patterns and not only elimination of pain or discomfort. Think of it as a thorough remodeling job of your body, establishing new relationships between body segments. . Dr. Rolf designed this sequence of session based on how the anatomy functions and Structural Integration practitioners consider the series or the “recipe” as some refer to it as the core of her genius.
Clients who want specific issues, back, neck pain, etc. without undergoing the 10 session series can still get Rolfed, usually a 1-3 session series. The concern for the practitioner is simply whether changes will hold over time without building a larger context of support that a 10 session series would provide.
I should also add that a 10 session series will sometimes take additional series all depending on the progress of the client. There are, in fact, some Structural Integration programs such as KMI Structural Integration, based on 12 sessions.
Is Rolfing painful?
The legendary pain of Rolfing is much romanticized, often by people who never have received a session from a certified practitioner. Since every session requires a high level of client involvement and dialogue, pain and discomfort are limited. More often it is simply because the practitioner goes directly to the area of problem/pain. Dr. Rolf once said, “Show me a body without pain and I’ll show you a body that does not feel pain when it gets Rolfed.” It is not unusual for clients becoming extremely relaxed or even falling asleep during sessions.
How much do you charge and how often do I need to see you?
I charge $220 per Rolfing session, usually 70-90 minutes. Sessions should be spaced far enough apart to allow the body time to reorganize and integrate work from the previous session. Optimally, that is every 1 or 2 weeks but preferably no longer than a month.
Where are you located?
I have a large beautiful office in San Luis Obispo at 2078 Parker st, second floor #210, with plenty of on site and street parking.
What got you started doing this work?
I suffered from back problems for many years until 1978 when I got Rolfed in Santa Barbara. Rolfing not only helped me physically but also transformed me emotionally and spiritually. I became a sculptor for the next twenty years. I received my massage therapy certification in 1990 and became a Rolfer in 2001. In 2008 I became a Certified Advanced Rolfer.