Rolfing is actually a method rather than a category or type. Nevertheless, Rolfing Massage Therapy is a popular form of therapeutic massage. Rolfing bears close kinship to two other forms of massage therapy, Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage.
Ida Pauline Rolf
Rolfing is a form of Bodywork, a part of something called Structural Integration. Structural Integration is a term invented by the founder of Rolfing – Ida Pauline Rolf (1896-1979). It also bears close ties to Aston-Patterning and Hellerwork. Both Hellerwork and Aston-Patterning stem from association with Ida Rolf and her technique of Rolfing. Joseph Heller, the founder of Hellerwork, was Rolf’s first student.
Rolf had formed the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado in 1972. Judith Aston worked with Rolf to develop Aston-Patterning. Another breakaway group focuses on Structural Integration. This was the Guild for Structural Integration formed in 1992.
Rolfing came into force in the 1960s. Rolf had traveled around expounding her theories earlier, but only achieved recognition after she visited Fritz Perls. He was the founder of Gestalt Theory. He was also director of the Esalen Institute. Ida taught every summer at the Esalen Institute. The Eslan Institute also created its own version of Swedish Massage in the 1960s. This is Esalen Massage Therapy.
Her own Institute operated during the 1970s under her guidance. She continued to teach her method well into her eighties. Her book on Rolfing did not come out until 1977. It was published under the title: Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structures.
It was not until after her death that Rolfing began to gain in popularity. Like many systems of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Rolfing gained in popularity during the 1990s.
What Is Rolfing?
The basic concept or idea behind Rolfing is simple. The connective tissue of the body, the fascia, has a relationship with gravity. This, over time and through illness, falls into disarray. The body becomes misaligned. It suffers from poor posture, a disconnect between the pelvis, or general problems. The practitioner of Rolfing needs to realign the body. Only then, can the body function at its best.
In order to accomplish this, Rolfing has to work with the fascia. It must manipulate it. A Rolfer will employ elbows, fingers and hands. These practitioners poke around the muscle tissues and touch the skin. They are searching for and imbalance in the tissue. They separate the fascial layers and work on muscles. They look for signs of strain and injury. The fingers and other body parts work to release tension and ease strain.
Rolfers work slowly. Their moves are gently but firm. This type of therapeutic massage is firmer than the techniques of Swedish Massage, but not as hard as those of Deep Tissue Massage. While Rolfing is stereotypically associated with some pain, this is not always the truth, particularly in the last few years. The Rolfer needs to be both gentle and firm to rout out any form of misalignment. They work their technique on all parts of the body. This includes the abdomen, back, head, legs pelvis and shoulders. Focusing on the abdomen, head, legs, pelvis and shoulders, practitioners of
Rolfing Massage Therapy Improves Health
Those who take a treatment in Rolfing often go for a variety of reasons. Rolfing is a full body massage. It addresses such issues as poor posture and the results or conditions of poor posture. Devotees of Rolfing Massage Therapy often come to achieve relief from muscle tension and pain. This sometimes applies to chronic pain sufferers. It is partly sought out by those who have problems in their neck and in either the upper or lower back.
Benefits to Rolfing
These include basic posture. People after their sessions in Rolfing stand taller. They are straighter and exhibit a better sense of self. Rolfing also helps in breathing difficulties. It may improve digestion. It also claims to create equilibrium in the nervous system. The overall result is enhanced emotional and physical health.
If you receive treatment from a classically trained Rolfer, you will be expected to attend 10 sessions. This is the minimum amount believed to be effective in producing positive results. Other practitioners of this system will allow clients to undertake less than this amount.
My website contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase any products mentioned in my articles, I may receive a commission. If you do, thank you!