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What in the World Is Rolfing?

I have been getting massages for over 25 years
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About 5 years ago I was introduced to rolfing, which is not some sound your cat makes when he has an upset stomach.

Rolfing is like a massage on steroids, in a good way. Named after its founder, Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing Structural Integration is a form of bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissues, called fascia, that permeate the entire body. These connective tissues surround, support and penetrate all of the muscles, bones, nerves and organs. Rolfing Structural Integration works on this web-like complex of connective tissues to release, realign and balance the whole body, thus potentially resolving discomfort, reducing compensations and alleviating pain.

While massage is relaxing and can work out some tight kinks, the aim of rolfing is to restructure your body to its proper alignment and balance. The typical and classic series in Rolfing is the 10-series.  Dr. Rolf organized a series of 10 sessions to systematically address the integration of the entire body. Each session prepares the body for the next, and builds on the progress of the last one. Along the way, they deal with any specific issues and goals a client comes in with. Injuries, chronic pain, and athletic performance goals all need to be dealt with on their own terms, while always relating them to the integration of the whole body.

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Rolfing’s approach to the body is founded on two basic elements:

  • integrating the entire body with respect to the field of gravity
  • working with fascia (the connective-tissue web permeating the body) to do so.

These two aspects form the unique basis for a Rolfer’s work. The body is always organizing itself with respect to gravity—and it lays down its patterns of organization (and disorganization) in its tissue, in the fascia.

I did the 10 series about 5 years ago. I am almost an inch taller and no longer have a curve in my back and I don’t wear the sides of my shoes anymore. After the ten series, periodic tune ups can be scheduled. Whenever my back gives me issues, I will make a rolfing appointment to correspond with a chiropractic adjustment. When my gymnast daughter chipped her foot, I took her to a rolfer to realign her imbalance from dragging that boot around. I also take her in periodically just to get worked on because her body is abused so much in her sport. Many people say that rolfing is really painful. Some of the old school rolfers trained by Ida believed if you weren’t in pain, they weren’t helping you. I love deep massage and never found rolfing painful (except that one spot in my right hip).

Whether you have muscle pain or a serious body injury that you are recovering from – call your local rolfer and check out the relief that they can provide. For those of you in Salt Lake County, rolfer Mary Phillips is fabulous. Learn about her at Rolfing Salt Lake.For those of you Davis/Weber county folks there is Structura Body Therapies (I love Joylyn).


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