There are many similarities between rolfing and yoga, both in theory and in practice. Not only do both of these natural therapies involve the use of movement to strengthen the body, they both also employ breathing methods to lower stress in the body and to improve the body’s internal functions. But some of the most interesting similarities come in the common objectives of yoga and rolfing.
Both rolfing and yoga practices share purposes like the improvement of flexibility, coordination, and body posture and alignment. Many practitioners of both rolfing and yoga find they have greatly lowered stress levels, and they also can find relief from physical problems like breathing difficulties and chronic pain. One of the biggest benefits from both of these practices is increased energy, and along with increased body awareness, both practices bring about all-around wellbeing.
Rolfing and Criticism
Surprisingly, there is less criticism for rolfing that there is for many other types of alternative therapies and natural healing practices. This is partly due to the fact that rolfing has some proven success. Research has shown that patients suffering from illnesses like cerebral palsy and chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as patients suffering from chronic lower back pain, have noted improvement in their physical wellbeing. Unfortunately, there is not conclusive proof to solidify rolfing’s place as a medically recognized therapy.
There is no evidence that rolfing is harmful to the body, so any relief brought to a patient is a benefit. However, as with soft tissue manipulation techniques like massage therapy, people who have skeletal problems, blood clotting disorders, and pregnant women should consult a medical professional before receiving rolfing therapy. This is because there is little scientific study done on rolfing in general, let alone on rolfing as it affects conditions like these.
Rolfing + Yoga = Better Health
The practice of yoga focuses on bringing balance and strength to the body by using movements and poses. The practice of rolfing focuses on bringing balance and proper structure to the body through movements and soft tissue manipulation. This, of course, points out the similarities between rolfing and yoga, as well as pointing out the subtle differences. But the best part about these two practices is that they can be used – and often are used – together to produce the same effects.
Since yoga does not use soft tissue manipulation, it is thought by rolfers that it is not quite a perfect method of helping and therefore healing muscular and body structure problems.
However, combining rolfing with yoga adds the need to manipulate soft tissues to complete the lengthening process of the tissues, thus bringing the body into balance.
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