Frequently Asked Questions
Who receives Rolfing?
Rolfing clients come with a variety of issues including poor posture, aches and pains, lack of flexibility, low energy, chronic stress, injury, and the inability to overcome past trauma on an emotional and/or physical level. Others who are symptom-free receive Rolfing for increased athletic performance, heightened body awareness, and a more developed capacity for efficient movement.
How does Rolfing work?
Rolfing restores alignment in the body by releasing restrictions in the myofascial system enabling muscles and fascia to function more efficiently. Rolfers accomplish this by applying pressure to areas of restriction, resulting in a release of tight muscles and, more importantly, a softening of the fascia. Casey believes that the Rolfer’s role also includes helping clients understand their unique movement and holding patterns so they can learn new ways of moving to maintain their new-found freedom and optimal alignment.
Rolfers focus on alignment of the entire body rather than on simply relieving specific symptoms. Proper alignment of the body allows other physiological systems to come into balance. The body will have better equilibrium, expend less vital energy fighting gravity, and move more easily. As a by-product of the integration process, clients often find relief from a variety of symptoms: Rolfing aligns the body so that it is capable of healing itself. Optimal alignment allows for optimal health!
Does Rolfing hurt?
Rolfing sometimes has a reputation for being painful, but it does not have to be. Rolfers can get high quality results by “listening” to the tissue to determine the appropriate and tolerable depth to provide input. Rolfing is a process finely tuned to each client. That being said, sometimes when restrictions are released from the myofascial system, discomfort can be a by-product as the tension lets go either during the session or in the days that follow. Often there is also a sense of relief. Clients learn to distinguish and welcome this kind of discomfort as a beneficial release. Casey attends to the specific needs and limits of each client to assure that during each moment of the session, the pressure and inquiry are acceptable to the client.
What can I expect from Rolfing?
“…when the body gets working appropriately,the force of gravity can flow through. Then spontaneously, the body heals itself.”
Ida P. Rolf
Responses to Rolfing vary and are difficult to predict. People who have received Rolfing tend to display increased breath capacity, more grace, finer coordination, improved balance, greater flexibility and range of motion, more consistent energy, better body alignment and posture, and relief from chronic pain and stiffness.
Many dancers, yoga practitioners, and athletes have been able to enhance performance by achieving better alignment and structural integration through Rolfing.
Rolfing is an experience that often enhances self-awareness and self-confidence, and fosters a more positive outlook toward the self and toward life -- often offering an opportunity for both physical and psychological transformation.
Is Rolfing permanent?
Rolfing helps your body find a path toward better alignment. It is a process of physical and cognitive re-education, optimizing body awareness and function. This is an ongoing life-long process toward an ideal. Unless a client has a new trauma, the body will typically continue its alignment course. The effects of Rolfing are progressive and cumulative. Awareness of old patterns and incorporation of new ways of being are also important: the client must engage to keep the process of integration on track. As integration occurs less and less focus is required.
“Structural Integration is a cooperative job between two people ... The practitioner’s job is to evoke understanding and the client’s job is to take responsibility.”
Ida P Rolf
How many sessions does it take?
Rolfing is typically a 10-session series strategy developed by Ida Rolf and based on principles of body structure and function. Over the decades, this strategy has proven to be very effective in creating and stabilizing structural change. Casey creates a unique treatment plan for each client. The number of sessions can range from eight to twelve based on individual needs. Each session builds on the results of the previous sessions, and prepares the body to receive the work of the next session. Therefore, it is important to commit to the entire 10-session series for integration and lasting change.
From time to time, clients only want to address specific areas of pain or symptom, without undertaking the full 10-session series of Rolfing. Rolfing can address the specific restrictions and often alleviate pain. However, pain may recur when only localized symptoms are addressed: clients may continue to have pulls elsewhere in their body (from unresolved compensation or misalignment which may have caused the symptom). It is not uncommon for clients to come to Casey for a few sessions to address a specific problem, and then decide to undertake the 10-session series for full body alignment.
What happens after the 10-session series?
In many cases, clients may not need or desire further Rolfing sessions after the 10-session series. Others choose to have more sessions, which can take different forms, depending on individual needs and body issues. It is important to allow sufficient time for integration after the 10-session series before introducing further changes to the body. Many Rolfers recommend waiting at least 6 months before receiving additional structural work, though movement sessions for further integration can occur any time.
Rolfing is not about continuous, regular input from the Rolfer. Rather, it is based upon introducing changes to the myofascial system, building awareness for the client, and then allowing time for these factors to bring about integration. Ida Rolf used to say that the 11th session occurs after the Rolfer has stopped putting information into the body.
Additional Rolfing sessions can be undertaken as: one or more movement integration sessions, one to five tune-up sessions, or a 5-session Advanced Rolfing series, depending on the needs of each client.
What is the origin of Rolfing?
Rolfing Structural Integration was developed by Ida P. Rolf. Rolf was born in New York in 1896 and grew up in the Bronx. She graduated from Barnard College in 1916 and went on to receive her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from Columbia University. Ida Rolf’s knowledge of homeopathy and osteopathy contributed to her early understanding of the body. Her study of yoga became an important component for the development of her work. Rolf created the 10-session strategy for Rolfing in the early 1950s. The knowledge and basis that Rolfers to work with today is a product of Ida Rolf’s studies and work that spanned more than forty years. She died at the age of 82 in 1978.
©2017, Copyright Casey Kiernan, Undercurrents