"Two years later...I am more active than I have been in 10 years, and continue to be pain-free."
-- Paul S.
Here are a few answers to the questions I am actually asked most frequently in my Rolfing practice. If your question isn't answered here, please feel free to contact me for more information.
Does Rolfing hurt?
In short, no. The method does not need to elicit pain to be successful. People experience different parts of their bodies holding more tension than others, and those may be more sensitive to touch. What you may at times experience is pressure or a slight burning sensation that is followed by a feeling of release and ease in the tissues. At no time during the session should you feel the need to hold your breath or constrict your body defensively (curling your toes, clenching your teeth, making fists, etc.); if that is happening, we are working beyond your nervous system's ability to effectively integrate the changes we're making, and the results won't be as long-lasting.
Are the changes from Rolfing permanent?
Your nervous system actually works much harder to create and maintain compensations and adaptations to dysfunction than it does to maintain balance and health. Rolfing brings your body into a more stable and functional alignment that your body will maintain with greater ease, and most clients report long-lasting results from the process. From time to time as you experience new stressors in your life, or if you continue old postural and movement patterns (such as sitting at a desk for work or playing a musical instrument), a tune-up can be helpful for keeping your body moving and working well.
How frequently should I receive sessions?
Each Rolfing session builds upon our previous work to bring your body to a higher state of function and integration, whether working in the context of a just a few sessions or a complete Series, so some regularity is beneficial. I typically recommend clients come in on a cycle of one session every one to two weeks.
Why the Series?
The goal of Rolfing is to balance your body’s structure in gravity, bringing you back to an anatomical "neutral" where movement is easier, efficient, and more comfortable. Often, this is a place where the body can more easily heal itself and pain relief is experienced. To do that, a Rolfer will look at how your entire body has compensated, shortened, and adjusted over time. The 10+ session format allows us to work comprehensively to deal with those compensations, not just to fix a local problem, but to get at your body’s entire postural pattern.
Do I need to do the entire Series?
No, you can try a session and see if Rolfing is for you. Some people come for two or three sessions and get what they want to achieve. Some clients with chronic problems choose to extend their Rolfing beyond the original Series. If you choose to do fewer sessions than an entire Series, we will come up with a strategy to get the maximum benefit out of the number of sessions that you can do. My goal is to have open communication with you so we can create an approach that is best-suited to your needs.
How is Rolfing different from massage and chiropractic?
Over the last several years, more and more manual therapists - massage therapists and chiropractors alike - have begun working with fascia, the connective tissue matrix that holds your body together, and that Rolfing first brought attention to. What distinguishes Rolfing from other therapies is not the medium in which we work, but the strategy and goals of our work - organizing the body in gravity so that it functions in an easier and more efficient way.
Is Rolfing compatible with massage, chiropractic, or acupuncture treatments?
Absolutely! While I usually recommend against clients getting multiple treatments on the same day, ultimately Rolfing is about gaining better awareness for what your body needs. So, if you're feeling the need to get a treatment from a different modality, go for it, and be mindful and aware of how your body reacts. If you feel that you will benefit from the additional work, I trust that you know what's best for you.
What are your recommendations for after a session?
I always recommend that clients hydrate well and do some light movement, such as taking a walk, after a session to help your body integrate our work. I may at times give you specific homework to do between our sessions to support the goals we've established. The most important thing to do is to be mindful about what your body is telling you to do or not to do after a session - which might be rest, or even activity. Listening to your body's signals and respecting those is the best way to achieve long-term results from Rolfing.
Free Your Body
Rolfing Structural Integration
Have a different question? Feel free to contact me.