Rolfing is the practice of massaging and manipulating the connective tissues of the body to promote harmony and structural balance in the body, to increase flexibility, and to decrease pain. Due to the effects of injuries, repetitive stress, and continual physical changes to the body caused by gravity, the fascia that envelopes and connects every muscle, organ and bone in the body becomes strained, misaligned, and misshaped, causing the corresponding muscles to similarly become out of alignment and balance, causing a host of physical problems, including pain, stiffness, decreased mobility, poor flexibility, and poor posture.
Rolfing is typically practiced in a series of ten sessions, conducted one week apart. Each session is adapted to the needs of the individual and will build on the advancements gained by the previous sessions. After the tenth session, the manner in which individual stands, sits, moves, and breathes will have been adjusted to promote health and balance, and release the individual from structural patterns that promote pain, restriction, and misalignment.
Ida Rolf, founder of Rolfing
Ida Rolf earned a PhD. in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1916. Somewhere in her scientific research, she made a fundamental discovery about the body: the same network of connective tissue which contains and links the muscle system when it’s healthy can be used to reshape it when it’s been pulled out of proper order. Dr. Rolf’s realization of the importance of the fascial system revolutionized thinking about the body. As she taught her insights and techniques, her students focused not on muscles, but on the fascia that enwraps muscles, supporting them and holding muscle-bone combinations in place. The term “Rolfing” refers to the system of hands-on bodywork and movement education that Dr. Rolf originally called “structural integration.” As we know it today, rolfing is the product of fifty years of study and practice by Dr. Rolf, and the efforts of many people who have carried on her work since her death in 1979.1
Some of the benefits that can be gained by the practice of Rolfing include relief from chronic pain, reduction of stress and increase of feelings of relaxation and well being, improvement of the alignment of the posture, creation of a more efficient use of the muscles, and an increase in the elasticity in the connective tissues that wrap all the muscles and bones of the body.2
What are the benefits of the Rolf Method?
Research has shown many physical and emotional health benefits from Rolfing including:
-Easing chronic pain
-Reducing stress, increasing feelings of relaxation and well-being
-Improving and aligning posture
-Creating a more efficient use of muscles
-Increases elasticity in the connective tissue that wraps all muscle and bone.
Like massage, craniosacral therapy, reiki and other forms of therapy that promote mind, body, and energy integration, Rolfing is a non-invasive technique which, in the hands of a skilled practitioner, should provide a sense of relaxation while it promotes healing. Each session lasts an hour to an hour and a half, and is conducted one on one with the practitioner. Costs for each session vary by practitioner, but typically a 90 minute session will cost approximately $120.00.
There are a number of certified Rolfing practitioners in the city of Boston, MA. Below are several listed with their contact information. Inquire directly for session lengths and prices.
520 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
The Rolf Studio
50 Concord Square
Boston, MA 02118
214 Market Street
Brighton, MA 02135
1. Boston Rolfer (2006). “History”. Available online: http://www.bostonrolfer.com/history. (Downloaded: April 9, 2006).
2. The Rolf Studio (2006). “What are the Benefits of the Rolf Method?” Available online: http://www.therolfstudio.com/rolfing. (Downloaded: April 9, 2006).