What is Rolfing?
Rolfing is a technique of manipulating the fascia and soft body tissues with the aim of achieving better alignment and balance in the body.
The physical activities we engage in make us susceptible to injuries, backache, joint pains, and impaired mobility among other structural problems. Rolfing helps provide a fluid, light, balanced body that is free of any form of pain, stiffness, or chronic stress.
The question ‘what is Rolfing’ can, therefore, be answered in several ways as outlined in this section. It is an alternative medicine which was developed by Ida Rolf for structural integration.
Rolfing or structural integration takes place through a series of ten hands-on body structure manipulation sessions called the recipe. Rolfing massage borrows Rolf’s theory that explains how the body’s energy field is related to the direction of the Earths gravitation field.
This form of therapy plays a role in loosening tight fascia. Also, it brings a relief around painful joints hence allowing the structure to function naturally.
The practitioners of structural integration use a combination of deep manual therapy and movement prompts to provide a multifaceted structural therapy. Most clients who’ve undergone the procedure testify of a surreal body feeling after their first session.
Who should use Rolfing?
Rolfing is an alternative medicine that is suitable for everyone. It is a perfect solution particularly for athletes with muscle aches or joint problems. Also, it is applicable in getting rid of scarred tissue, remediating injuries and improving the mobility of athletes.
By maintaining an upright structural balance, such people can avoid injuries. Dancers and musicians are also another target group for Rolfing services. Since their dances require flexibility and graceful body movements, they need Rolfing to improve their performance. For instance, professionals like ballet dancers can avoid body pains during or after a performance by Rolfing.
Manufacturing industries have also adopted Rolfing treatment for their workers experiencing stress injuries. Emotions and energy levels possessed by an individual is strongly correlated to their physical support or flexibility.
Therefore, industrial workers may suffer from mental or emotional imbalance due to the physical conditions they go through. Today's therapists incorporate Rolfing in their routine treatments to reconcile the mind-body connection of such patients.
Therefore, it is imperative for you to note that the Rolfing effects are far reaching in managing body and mind related pains.
How Does Rolfing differ from Massage?
Rolfing massage or structural integration involves manipulating the alignment and function of the soft tissue to enhance overall body performance. Massage, on the other hand, focusses on relaxing stiff or sore muscles. Rolfing is a more holistic treatment as compared to clinical physiotherapy or massage. Subsequently, it provides you with both physical and mental advantages.
Another notable difference involves the training of the practitioners of the two. Rolfing practitioners are equipped with skills to effect ease and balance in the entire body. However, their masseuse counterparts are trained to relieve tension and fatigue of the muscles.
Structural integration is offered in ten sessions where the Rolfer deals with your physical structure procedurally. This involves releasing the outer fascia, enhancing the limbs support, and leading you towards a free movement in your daily engagements. Massage, on the other hand, is targeted towards specific body parts. It can be done all in one session.
What does a Rolfing Session Entail?
During a Rolfing session, the practitioner uses specific Rolfing techniques on specific areas affecting your posture or gait. The delivery involves firm and smooth movements with varying levels of pressure on the fascia, ligaments, and joints.
As the session begins, the Rolfer will advise you to stand so that they can assess your structural form. The therapist will also request you to walk as they inspect your gait. This procedure takes place before and after every session. That way, they can assess the effects of each subsequent session.
After that, you will engage in a one-on-one interview with the practitioner where you are to disclose any lifestyle conditions or pain that may affect the treatment. You should also inform your therapist about your expectations after the therapy during this session.
The treatment will follow in a ten-session plan where the therapist works your body from top to toe. It is imperative that the whole body is treated to ascertain that every issue and its causes are rooted out. Special attention may be given to areas of severe distress or pain.
The Advantages of Rolfing
After finding out about the question “what is Rolfing,” you also need to know its benefits. This section provides you with a review of the structural and mind benefits of Rolfing.
1. An improved Breathing Capacity
Structural integration opens up the tissues located around the lung area and the diaphragm. These tissues and muscles are actively involved in breathing. Therefore, enhancing their performance has a direct impact on your breathing capacity.
In addition to that, Rolfing sessions span the whole body to facilitate the flow of blood. When blood flows sufficiently, more oxygen is supplied throughout your body leading to more energy from active respiration. This therapy works best for athletes because they directly benefit from an increased breathing capacity.
2. An effective pain reliever
Pain killers work by numbing the part of the brain that detects pain. Rolfing, on the other hand, zeros down to the problem that is causing the pain and solves it. Therefore, it is a long-term remedy that cannot be compared to quick fix OTCs.
Structural Integration treats the body as a single seamless network of tissue such that a restriction or imbalance in one part affects the entire body. For instance, you could be feeling a lower back pain which is due to a collapsed arch either on your feet, or a tight arm string. In such as case, the Rolfer will lift your arches to their appropriate position as well as balance the leg muscles. This will provide you with a lasting relief from lower back pain. The effects of Rolfing in pain relief are almost indefinite.
3. Promotion of emotional well-being
If you always feel stressed out or get overwhelmed with emotions, Rolfing is an excellent solution. In addition to that, it is an effective remedy for those who have a problem with expressing their feelings. When emotions occur, they create chemical molecules within the body which prepares you to take action. However, when you fail to show them, the molecules are deposited deep into the tissues. That can keep bad emotions bottled up within you leading to poor health.
Rolfing opens up the tissues, thus releasing the trapped chemical molecules of harmful emotions. Treatments such as talk therapies or counseling will take a lot of time to relieve you of stress. However, in just a single Rolfing session, the emotions are released from your body quickly.
4. Enhancing the body posture
Poor seating habits, injuries, and strenuous activities often lead to a misaligned body structure. As a result, gravity with pull you down unevenly rather that maintaining your body upright. This affects your movement and physical well-being.
A misaligned structure also makes standing more tiresome. Therefore, you need to bring your body back together through Rolfing. After each session, you will get a happy feeling accompanied by smooth movement. A well-executed structural integration therapy guarantees a good posture.
5. Reducing the effects of aging on muscles and joints
The aging process brings about stiff muscles and rigid joints. As a result, you get a distorted physical appearance such as forward-tilting head, curvature in the upper back, reduced ankle movement, and hip extension.
With Rolfing, you can change this breakdown and regain a perfect stature. Rolfing therapy occurs in stages that build on each other as the treatment advances. Each step brings you closer to a perfect body balance.
6. Promotion of proprioception
Rolfing teaches you how to feel and be aware of your body. You will be able to answer questions such as ‘how do I breathe,' ‘how do I stand,' ‘how do I sit’ and ‘how do I walk’ among others.
Proprioceptive learning is enhanced via Rolfing techniques, verbal instructions and guided body movements from the therapist. You will be involved actively in the entire process to gain a new body perception. Proprioception contributes to better body awareness which is a vital long-term health effect.
7. Enhancing mobility
Rolfing helps resolve poor patterns in the body’s fascia network. After a Rolfing session, your fascia and muscle layers will glide over each other more freely and the joint movement will be promoted. Eventually, your mobility and flexibility advances significantly for the body as a whole. Your movements will be more fluid and graceful.
Therefore, Rolfing is a holistic body treatment that affects both your physical structure and mental state positively. You will experience remarkable results after a few sessions such as more self-awareness, better posture, less-strained movements, and no muscle pain. Rolfing is worth a go for long term body benefits. The procedure is painless except for a little discomfort in areas that require deep pressure.
You can learn more about Rolfing by visiting http://www.rolf.org