We’re all guilty of changing the way we hold, move and relax our bodies. When we are born, our bodies are created in such a way that we are always properly aligned with the forces of gravity and can maintain proper posture without any discomfort. Over time, however, we begin to change our bodies based on our daily activities, such as sitting in a car or hunching over a computer desk. This is the reason why by Dr. Ida Rolf created Rolfing.
Rolfing is officially called “structural integration”, but the more common term is Rolfing, named after the doctor who created it. Rolfing is a fairly intensive way of “fixing” the body so that it is realigned correctly. Using a variation of massage and sports therapy techniques, the therapist works to realign and readjust the body to its original natural state. Usually completed over a series of ten sessions, Rolfing can be uncomfortable at times, but patients typically report feeling much better when it is over.
To avoid discomfort during the sessions, patients are encouraged to “breathe through” the exercise and remain as loose and relaxed as possible. When the body tenses, it is resistant to change, and the therapist will have a much more difficult time realigning the posture and physical posture of the body.
Since we typically “learn” new body positions and movements over time, they become an ingrained pattern to which we always fall back. They might actually be more comfortable than the correct way to sit or stand, but eventually they will create more stress on the bones, joints and muscles. Muscles may become uneven – shorter or longer depending which muscles you favor – and the tissue that holds the muscles together may fuse or become patently useless over time.
A Rolfing treatment is designed to not only release the adhesions and relax the muscles, but also to learn more effective body mechanics so that the patterns the patient unlearns do not return.
Patients can request specific body areas when they first meet with a Rolfing therapist, or the therapist can determine a treatment plan that will best help the patient.
Some of the most common benefits of Rolfing are:
– increased flexibility
– a more balanced posture
– relief of pain, including muscle tension, joint spasms and headaches
– smoother and more relaxed body movement
– a more balanced emotional outlook, stemming from relief of pain
Although Rolfing isn’t as relaxing as a massage, the effects are purportedly up to ten times as great. The purpose of Rolfing is to not only relax and ease the muscles, but to make a conscious and purposeful change to the body’s form, function and movement.