Rolfing: What Is It and Should You Do It?

| Well Being

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When yoga just doesn't cut it and your body is physically experiencing the stress of the daily grind, you might be ready to be Rolfed. Rolfing, also called structural integration, is a system of soft tissue manipulation used to align the body and help treat injury and stress. Almost one century ago, Ida Pauline Rolf was born into the world of biochemistry and alternative health when she received her Ph. D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. Her interest in the human body and alternative healing led her to assess the effect of gravity on the body and find ways to bring the body back into alignment, heal itself and alleviate pent-up stress.

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According to Alliance Integrative Medicine, Rolfing can improve posture and movement, ease pain and discomfort from injury and improve body function with stress reduction. After years of movement, pressure and possible injury, your body will begin to lose its natural alignment and bow under stress, in a sense. Rolfing is a hands-on, holistic technique massaging deep into the tissue to realign and balance the whole body. The process can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but the goal is to leave feeling better and more in tune with your body. The practice of Rolfing is different from chiropractics and massage therapy because it works and manipulates fascia, not just bone alignment and muscle.

Photo Credit: Future LMT
(Photo: Future LMT)

If you've experienced an injury in the past and can't seem to overcome the seemingly lasting effects, Rolfing might be worth a try. Dr. Rolf actually pioneered the alternative method to treat injury in an effort to relieve her own chronic pain. She concluded that when you experience an injury, the fascia tightens around it like a bandage or cast until it heals, but then maintains that rigid position and causes pain and discomfort. The deep massaging of the fascia incorporated with Rolfing helps to correct the misalignment and restore balance.

While it is hard to find reliable statistics on Rolfing, the results are subjective and if you choose to try it out, it would be wise to stick it out for every session (there are typically 10). Rolfing could be your answer to avoid taking medications for pain relief. Maybe you dream of the day that your body moves more easily and you no longer feel like a coiled spring, ready to burst with the next indication of a stressful situation. Consult your doctor and check out the certified Rolfing practitioners in your area.

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