People come to Rolfing for a wide range of reasons. Many chronic pain sufferers turn to Rolfing as an alternative to surgery, shots, and splints. Many turn to Rolfing to rehabilitate from an injury or resolve problems from scar tissue. Some people use Rolfing to combat a lifetime of poor posture that seems to be worsening with age. Others simply want to feel better, to have more energy and flexibiltiy. Still other sense a need for change in their lives and in their bodies, emotionally, physically, and spiritually and ultimately achieve greater confidence, peace and joy. Many athletes and artists use Rolfing to improve performance and extend their careers.
It is interesting that most people who have the opinion that Rolfing is extremely painful have never experienced the work first hand. Much of the reputation for pain came from the early days when Rolfing was first gaining public recognition. Since that time, the process has greatly evolved. As far as the actual experience is concerned, the area being worked will vary in sensation and feeling depending upon the severity of the chronic stress, injuries, and other factors specific to your body. Feelings can range from pleasurable release to honest-to-goodness discomfort. Fortunately, the work proceeds at your level and pace. Nothing is ever forced, and skillful Rolfing never feels sharply painful or invasive. When discomfort occurs, many client describe it as a “good hurt” that the body wants and needs. Others say Rolfing significantly reduces the pain experienced in their daily lives or increases athletic functioning to such an extent, that discomfort on the table is worth the trade.
We promise, it won’t be painful…..we’re working hard on changing that perception!
Rolfing is a collaborative process. Your Rolfer uses physical pressure to stretch, lengthen and loosen both muscle and connective tissue. You use your breath and awareness to “meet” that pressure from the inside, waking up or releasing parts of your body much as one does in yoga. Many sessions also include some movement work as well–everything from coaching in how to stand, sit or walk, to exercise “homework” that you can practice between sessions to build on and maintain the results obtained in your sessions.
One goal of Rolfing is to relieve pain. Another larger goal is to make sure the pain doesn’t return. Rolfing does this by working with the patterns and causes of that pain, not simply treating the symptoms. Rolfing seeks to normalize the structure…and as structure is normalized, function will follow.
Rolfing usually feels like slow deep pressure. When we’re working in an area that is particularly tense or stuck, the sensation can be intense, but it is never unbearable. At other times, the sensation will be far subtler. It should not hurt, other than the kind of “hurts so good” feeling that can accompany the release of deep and long-held tension.
Every sessions begins with a short intake. This is an opportunity to discuss why you came in for bodywork and what our goals are for this particular session. I will then perform a brief assessment, which may involve watching you walk or perform other movements. And then we will begin the work on the table. You will most likely be awake and engaged for the entire session. I will ask you to move about or change positions on the table, make requests for certain small movements at times, and ask for feedback to see how you are experiencing the work. Every session usually ends with a brief re-assessment to gauge our progress.
Massage typically focuses only on relaxation and relief of muscle discomfort, while Rolfing is aimed at improving body alignment and function. Although massage is relaxing, you may find the same area bothering you again shortly after each session. This is because the area that hurts is often a secondary issue, which massage doesn’t address. Rolfing addresses the body as a whole.
Chiropractic manipulation is primarily concerned with freeing spinal joint restrictions and promoting nerve flow to and from the spine. It does not address the soft tissue patterns of the body as a whole and its influence on structural balance. Rolfing uses soft tissue techniques to treat bone-to-bone restrictions that are a part of the overall body pattern. Rolfing does not use high-velocity techniques. However, Rolfing and Chiropractic care are compatible and can be complimentary.
A typical Rolfing® Structural Integration session last between 60-75 minutes, but appointment’s may very by 10-15 minutes either way.