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Adjusting your Posture with Rolfing

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 2 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Rolfing Alignment Body Connective Tissue

Rolfing, also known as structural integration, was developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf in the mid 1950's. According to Dr. Rolf, connective tissue can become tightly bound up and then restricts opposing muscles from working independently from each other. She developed structural integration as a method of manipulating soft tissue (fascia) with the aim of separating them in order to initiate proper movement.

Rolfing is basically a form of deep tissue massage which is designed to relieve muscle tension and improving mobility and posture. It is also said to improve energy efficient and to improve overall health. Practitioners of Rolfing apply a gentle pressure with their hands, elbows and sometimes even knees to loosen muscles.

How Rolfing Works

The theory behind Rolfing is based on the premise that the tissues surrounding muscles become stiffer with age and that this causes muscle and joint dysfunctions and misalignment of the spine. Rolfers believe that how well (or poorly) the body is aligned affects the total body health.

Practitioners believe that they can dramatically improve these problems by working the muscles and muscle tissues. This in turn makes the connective tissues more supple and improves circulation. The realignment of the body is intended to ensure that all joints and muscles are balanced and in line with each other. The aim is that people who undergo Rolfing will gradually feel suppler, their movements will be easier and that the therapy will improve their posture.

Studies have shown that Rolfing has improved symptoms in patients with cases of lower back pain, cerebral palsy and chronic fatigue syndrome.

A Typical Rolfing session

A Rolfing session usually lasts about 80 minutes. Unlike other forms of massage, no oils or lotions are used. The client will usually be lying prone on a table throughout the session, though occasionally she may be asked to assume a sitting position.. The client is guided through a series of specific movements while the Rolfer uses hands, knuckles or elbows to manipulate fascia, slowly stretching and repositioning it until it has returned to its normal length. The basic Rolfing series consists of 10 sessions, each lasting approximately an hour. Each of these sessions has specific goals that build on the work done in previous sessions, making the results cumulative. The standard series may be completed at the rate of one session per week, or spread out over a longer period of up to six months.


The following people should consult their general practitioner before undergoing Rolfing therapy:
  • People who have had procedures or diseases affecting the abdomen.
  • People with kidney disease.
  • Menstruating or pregnant women.
  • People with liver disease.
  • People with intestinal diseases.

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