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Rolfing Article

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The Benefits of Rolfing


Rolfing is both similar and dissimilar to deep massage therapy; developed about 50 years ago by Ida P. Rolf. This treatment manipulates the deep connective tissues of the body. The practice of Rolfing provides longer lasting pain relief than massage therapy. The effects of massage therapy lasts for about 24 hours; however the effects of Rolfing lasts over time to improve posture and to put the body back into balance.


The similarities of Rolfing to deep tissue massage are that the therapist puts his/her hands on you to manipulate the connective tissue beneath the skin. The therapist uses specific techniques to achieve this. Rolfing does not diagnose or treat disease, but many people who have been treated by a Rolf practitioner do report having pain relief. As with deep tissue massage, Rolfing can be very light and pleasurable, but it can also be a bit painful or even “hurt” in a good way. If the client feels uncomfortable from the pain, he/she just needs to speak up and let the practitioner know so less pressure can be applied.


A Rolf treatment is totally different than massage, even though it is sometimes thought of as a type of deep tissue massage. In massage oil or lotion is normally used, but in Rolfing no lubricant is used at all, unless absolutely necessary for tissue manipulation. A Rolf treatment is not like a massage, in that you don’t just lie back and get relaxed, many people do feel relaxed or full of energy, though, after treatment, but the goal is to help the body to realign to its center of gravity. Treatment over time should help you to hold your posture in its correct position in relation to gravity. Massage does not permanently change the connective tissue, where Rolfing usually does change the connective fascia to some degree.

Where massage therapist may not be interested in the function of your body parts, a Rolfer examine your posture, and ask you to walk and do some kinds of exercises to evaluate how your body moves. Massage sessions may last for 30 minutes, but these sessions may last up to 1 hour and 15 minutes.


Rolf manipulation is a technique to realign the body parts to each other in gravity. This treatment is used to improve posture, to improve range of motion in body parts, which in turn also helps to relieve pain. The practitioner works on the connective fascia of the body, and as he/she manipulates this tissue, instructions may be given on how to become more aware of your posture and how you hold certain body parts in relation to the rest of your body.


Rolf manipulation is a continuing process. The connective tissue changes over time as you become more aware of how to position your body. The frequency of the treatments is normally in a series of 10. You can stop your treatment at any time; however, you may not quite feel as well if you stop taking the treatments. Over time you adjust to the changes in your connective fascia and feel at home in your new and improved posture. Most sessions end with specific exercises to improve posture and movement. The practitioner will have you do before and after exercises to compare the alignment and movement of the body before and after the treatment.