human body is not static It's Plastic, and that plastic quality
enables a person body to be realigned into a more optimally functioning
and feeling human being. Rolfing accomplishes that realignment."Ida
as developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D. is a method of integrating
human structure for body, mind & spiritual wholeness. Using
skillful touch, the deep connective tissue system is manipulated
to release out-dated physical and emotional stress pattern of the
body. Clients report experiencing vastly improved posture, a release
of chronic tension, increased physical performance and a state of
deep relaxation. They feel whole, alive, younger and lighter.
is a "hands-on" method of bodywork that systematically
aligns the human structure through tissue manipulation and movement
education. Rolfing works within the body's complex web of connective
tissue known as fascia. Fascia surrounds, penetrates and connects
every part of the body - our bones, muscles and organs. It gives
the body its shape.
body loses architectural integrity through sickness, emotional difficulties,
continued poor posture or physical trauma, fascia constricts to
immobilize the injured area while it heals. This not only establishes
restrictive and unbalanced relationships locally, but compensations
are created throughout the body as it struggles against the downward
drag of gravity. As a result, people develop physical patterns that
do not serve them.
length and elasticity can be restored to shortened and thickened
fascia because it is pliable and responds to the skillful touch
of a Rolfer. As pattern restrictions release, the body changes shape
and functions with ease rather than disease.
are significantly out of balance with gravity, but when the stress
of physical disorder is reduced, less energy is required to support
the structure and a more balanced human being emerges. Rolfings
works to reduce structural imbalances while honoring the body, mind
Rolf series consists of ten sessions designed specifically for the
individual. The results of the work are cumulative with each session
building on the previous and preparing for the next. One-hour appointments
are spaced one or two weeks apart.
of Rolfing are immediate, lasting and progressive. Clients typically
report that they continue to feel improvements for several months
after their last session and the changes from Rolfing are felt for
years. As bodies change and people have physical injuries and emotional
stress, additional work may be beneficial.
are the benefits?
and pains. You will have less pain and tension in your body as it
becomes more balanced, allowing bones and muscles to do their jobs
according to design.
benefits from Rolfing?
Integrity, flexibility and energy. You will experience sitting
and standing more erect without struggle, while breath is felt
throughout a lengthened and spacious body. You will enjoy greater
range of fluid motion and ease in your body. Feelings of well
being reflect the body's higher energy level.
stress and Improve emotional health. You may experience considerable
psychological growth as the emotional history stored in the body
is released. A freer, more responsive and more comfortable body
will support you in every part of your life.
all walks of life and all ages come to Rolfing not only for relief
of pain, but to enhance the quality of life. Babies and young children
experience relief from birth traumas and injuries, while adults
gain postural integrity and body shape. Athletes and performing
artists seek Rolfing to improve their physical abilities and prevent
injury. People in psychotherapy may also benefit by facilitating
a deeper connection to their emotional feelings, and the work can
effectively deepen practices such as meditation, yoga and tai chi.
does Rolfing feel?
speaking, when the body's organization is being improved, the process
feels good! New methods have replaced the old in the Rolfing profession
making pain a thing of the past. While there may be soreness momentary
discomfort, it is no longer painful. I work with you not on you.
Immediate effects commonly reported are feelings of openness and
spaciousness allowing for more breath, ease of movement, and increased
is practiced throughout the world and is widely acknowledged as
an effective form of somatic therapy.
studies conducted at the UCLA Department of Kinesiology and University
of Maryland validates the benefits of Rolfing. For research publications
contact the Rolf Institute 800-530-8875.
long benefited actors, artists and athletes. Dr. Rolf herself worked
with Greta Garbo and Georgia O'Keeffe, among others. Contemporary
sports figures includes Charles Barkley, Edwin Moses, Mario Lemieux,
Ivan Lendl, Tom Seaver and the crew of America, winner of
the 1992 America's Cup.
has been stretching out muscle fibers that haven't been stretched
for 30 years. When I started, my muscle fibers felt like petrified
rock. Now they are getting progressively softer, suppler and gaining
elasticity." Leon Fleisher, Concert Pianist
wonderful benefit I had right after the first Rolfing session was
a sense of lightness, particularly on the ice. I felt very compact
and totally in control, I had increased energy, better balance,
and extra agility. " - Brian Orser, Olympic Silver Medallist
Rolfed has given me a new desire to move and swim instead of collapsing
at the end of the day...I have lost a habitual slump and suffer
less from headaches." - -Sue Turner, Aquatic World
I can say is it's fantastic. Week to week I could notice the difference.
It releases stored-up emotions in the body, takes the stiffness
right out and is good for everyone...I feel like 38 going on 23.
" -David Brenner quoted in Inside Running.
emotional effects are often as dramatic as the changes in body structure.
In our experience, Rolfing produces changes in a briefer time than
any other system we are aware of. " -Ron Kurtz and Hector Prestera,
MD, The Body Recalls.
YORK TIMES ROLFING ARTICLE
By AUSTIN CONSIDINE
A FORMER dancer of 14 years, Anna Zahn is in touch with her body.
To gain more flexibility, and to counteract some of the strain
from dancing, she has tried a number of remedies: Reiki, Acupuncture
Anna Zahn, 20, a former dancer,
receives a Rolfing treatment.
But she still felt tight, her body tense. So she started getting
Rolfed — a kind of deep-tissue bodywork that can be so intense
that some jokingly liken it to masochism.
“It’s not going to massage and lighting aromatherapy candles,”
said Ms. Zahn, a 20-year-old student at New
York University, who gets a Rolfing treatment every
week or so. “It’s tough to go to these sessions. It’s painful,
very painful, emotionally and physically. But you feel such a
relief when you leave that it’s just the most amazing feeling.”
Others are feeling it, too. Popular in the 1970s, Rolfing once
evoked hairy-chested, New Age types seeking alternative therapies
— perhaps most famously spoofed in the 1977 football movie “Semi-Tough,”
starring Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson.
But today, Rolfing is experiencing something of a resurgence,
especially among younger city dwellers for whom the novelty of
yoga has worn off, and who are now seeking more intense ways to
relieve the stresses of modern life.
“Back in the day, Rolfing’s growth was word of mouth,” said Rey
Allen, a Rolfing practitioner in lower Manhattan, who has noticed
an increase in its popularity. He attributes the rise partly to
the Internet, which has introduced the treatment to a new generation.
“Over half of my clientele are in their 20s,” he added. “Since
I opened my practice in the city a few years ago, the average
age of my clientele has always been 35. But that has drastically
changed since the summer.”
Could Rolfing be one Madonna
endorsement away from becoming the next Pilates?
Rolfing is named after its creator, Ida Rolf, a biochemist from
New York City who studied alternative methods of bodywork and
healing beginning in the 1920s. She died in 1979 at the age of
Dr. Rolf developed a theory that the body’s aches and pains arose
from basic imbalances in posture and alignment, which were created
and reinforced over time by gravity and learned responses among
muscles and fascia — the sheath-like connective tissue that surrounds
and binds muscles together. Rolfing developed as a way to “restructure”
muscles and fascia.
The focus on manipulating fascia is part of what distinguishes
it from chiropractics, which deals with bones, and from therapeutic
massages, which works on muscles.
That also explains why Rolfing has a reputation for being aggressive,
even painful at times. Fascia is stubborn material, particularly
if it is marked by knots and scar tissue. Rolfers gouge with knuckles
and knead with fists, contort limbs and lean into elbows to loosen
tendons and ligaments. Patients, meanwhile, need the fortitude
to relax and take it during the hourlong sessions.
Russell Poses, a 39-year-old international equities trader on
Wall Street, who started getting Rolfing treatments after injuring
his back, likened the experience to “paying $150 an hour for an
Indian burn.” But the benefits, as far as he’s concerned, are
well worth it. Chiropractors and years of physcial therapy couldn’t
accomplish what two or three Rolfing sessions did, he said.
Plus, he said he could still feel the results two weeks later.
“It’s something that actually lasts,” he said.
It is hard to find reliable statistics on the prevalence of Rolfing.
But the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, which was founded
by Dr. Rolf in 1971 to educate and certify practioners, says it
has noticed a rise in student enrollments at its Boulder, Colo.,
Kevin McCoy, a faculty member at the institute with a practice
in Milwaukee, said he had seen annual class sizes swell to 100
from 75 students in recent years. In the mid-1980s, he said, the
school graduated fewer than 50 a year. Despite the bad economy,
he said, “our numbers have been maintaining or growing.”
An endorsement in 2007 on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” by the cardiac
surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz certainly didn’t hurt. Now the host of the
syndicated daytime program “The Dr. Oz Show,” he says he sees
the growing popularity of Rolfing as “a general perception by
the public that taking medications for discomfort is not giving
you the panacea benefits that you would desire.”
In that regard, he said he viewed the treatment as an extension
of practices like yoga, which also offers relief without drugs.
“Yoga is in many ways analogous to Rolfing because it takes tendons
and it stretches them into a position of discomfort,” Dr. Oz said.
“They’re just doing it for you without your doing it yourself.”
Rolfing practitioners say they have also noticed a shift that
may explain why younger clients are seeking out their services.
It’s not just to treat injuries, but also stress. “Health is one
area where we can find a sense of control,” said Mr. Allen, who
has been practicing for about nine years. “The real trend is that
people are starting to look within the boundaries of their own
skin for meaning in their lives, and to find a sense of security
in the world.”
As with other holistic practices, Rolfing seems to leave the
door open for a certain mysticism. Even those who have little
use for New Age-type practices like meditation can verge on the
metaphysical when discussing Rolfing.
Beau Buffier, a 35-year-old partner at a corporate law firm in
New York, says he started Rolfing treatments after he injured
his neck and shoulder in a fall. Despite three MRI’s, surgery,
physical therapy, a chiropractor, acupuncture and deep massage,
the pain remained. Stress from his high-stakes job didn’t help.
But somehow Rolfing did the trick. “It’s dealing with the physical
manifestations of something that’s kind of emotional or spiritual,”
Mr. Buffier said.
He has since gotten in touch with his body in other ways. He
began exercising more and eating better. He lost 20 pounds. His
blood pressure dropped. “It’s almost as if your body locks up
emotions,” he said.