Evolista What is Rolfing
Health/Fitness

What is Rolfing and Why I Got Rolfed


Way back when I heard about Rolfing, it sounded like an interesting form of massage that really made a lasting difference. So, what is Rolfing and why is it actually different than massage? In a nutshell, Rolfing is a technique that works on your connective tissue that can be an opportunity to reset your muscles/flexibility and get a fresh start. Doesn’t that sound like the best thing? Getting a reset on all those bad habits that gave you bad posture, bad flexibility, aches and pains! The only catch was that I heard Rolfing was painful. I’m writing about Rolfing now because two things have significantly changed in the last 20+ years.

  1. As a society, we have had a huge decline in posture, especially young people. Awesome technical advances like computers and cell phones have taken their toll. Rolfing can help that.
  2. Rolfing changed into a kinder, gentler technique that achieves results without pain.

What is Rolfing?

Over time we get less flexible, less fluid or stuck. Think of a baby or a toddler that naturally has perfect posture and flexibly in spades. As we get older, as early as our teens, we start to get stuck in our typical movement patterns. If we slouch, it becomes harder to straighten up. If we stop stretching regularly, we get to the point where we can’t touch our toes. Rolfing restores that mobility and loosens things up to give our bodies a better range of motion.

The Rolfing Method is essentially a form of massage that realigns the connective tissues in your body, called fascia. Coined by its creator, Dr Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing acts as a release method on your body. It allows the body to reconnect to its natural shape to allow more flexibility.

Rolfing is similar to what we are doing with foam rollers before and after exercise, which is myofascial self-release. We find spots that hurt and roll them out. The difference is that the foam roller can only take you so far since we generally don’t know what we’re doing with them and it’s not possible to reach all the places that need to be released. An experienced rolfer finds those points in your body over an initial course of 10 sessions to release them. After that period of time, they can continue to work with you to restore balance and health to your body.

More About Fascia

Fascia is the soft tissue component that is a part of our connective tissue. It runs through the entire body structure. Essentially, it’s like the casing around our connective tissue and muscles. Rolfing manipulates the fascia to create balance in the body.

Originally, fascia was not considered a major factor of chronic back and body pain. However, there was a significant change in research and doctors and scientists concluded that a majority of back pain starts with the fascia. It’s now considered one of the most important sensory organs. When it comes to having good health and decreasing pain, the goal is to strengthen and stimulate the fascia. Rolfing, unlike deep tissue massage which targets muscles, stimulates the fascia. With a stimulated fascia your muscles will work more efficiently, you will have a shorter recovery time after injury, your coordination and performance will improve, as well as your posture.

My Rolfing Experience

I ended up with some injuries from rowing and needed help for shoulder pain and tight hip flexors. I found advanced rolfer, Bob Alonzi in Santa Monica that explained the process and how it could help me. Bob made me feel very comfortable and the treatment was surprisingly collaborative. He would explain what he was doing and when there were trouble areas, he would focus on restoring proper mobility.

I was treated by Bob for a series of 10 sessions which are explained below. This is the initial Rolfing series. Some of the treatments were subtle and uneventful. Others created an immediate difference, like the work around my ribs that helped me breathe more deeply. Over time, I noticed that I was much more opened up and much more aware of the way I was carrying my body. I really became present to the things I did on a daily basis that were contributing to aches and pains.

After our 10 sessions were up, I was traveling for a month and I really noticed that I felt so much better when I was doing Rolfing. I felt more open, my posture felt better and my body felt healthier. For me, it seems to come down to flexibility. When my muscles were so tight, it was hard to get back to that more flexible state. Going forward, I think the perfect solution is to continue Rolfing in conjunction with Pilates or Yoga to maintain the results.

Who/What does Rolfing help?

  • People with chronic pain or injuries from car accidents: Some of the most interesting work in Rolfing because this is the group of people that are suffering on a daily basis and have tried almost everything to get relief. Rolfing is not an overnight miracle but can make a significant difference over time.
  • Athletes for injury prevention, recovery and to improve performance: Athletes have great results with Rolfing because it helps them avoid overuse injuries. It breaks down scar tissue, releases tight muscles and improves range of motion.
  • Those with bad posture, stiffness and muscle imbalances: Most of the time, we experience pain because of years of bad habits. Rolfing unravels the areas in the fascia that leave people feeling stuck or tight in areas. Left untreated, these problems can lead to injuries like my shoulder, back problems, hip issues, knee issues, etc…
  • People with Scoliosis: Rolfing adjusts the alignment to relieve discomfort and ultimately avoid more serious intervention if the scoliosis is left untreated.

The Rolfing 10 Sessions

Rolfing starts with an initial series of 10 visits. Depending on the severity of your situation, you can extend beyond those visits to gain further results. With Rolfing, you can see a change in energy, attitude, stress level, posture, and structure. Some people experience a shift in their emotions, energy when areas are unblocked because emotions can get stuck in your muscle memory.

  • Sessions 1-3: The initial sessions work to loosen and balance the surface layer. A majority of the time focuses on opening up the upper leg, hamstring, neck, and spine. The third session addresses the “side view” of the upper body and hips.
  • Sessions 4-7: The “core” sessions focus on the pelvis and the head. It also focuses on the deep tissue in the legs as they provide support. They focus on finding your balance and support in your body.
  • Sessions 8-10: The “integration” sessions blend everything from the first seven sessions and combine it with the news ones to find a natural and balanced coordination. During the 8th and 9th session, the practitioner, develops a unique step based on your body and its progress to reach integration.
  • The final session is where you achieve complete balance and order. You will see and feel the new benefits. After the final session, you can continue with Rolfing to treat areas that cause more issues.

Rolfing was a totally new experience for me and I’m so glad I incorporated it into my life. Feeling good makes life good. If you are looking for other health and fitness articles to feel your absolute best, and want to see the other things I do, click here.

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44 Comments

  • Reply
    Meri Wild
    March 11, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Sounds very interesting! I need to try 🙂

    http://www.meriwild.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 11, 2019 at 5:59 pm

      Hope you like it as much as I did.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 10, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    This sounds really interesting dear. Thanks for the informative read!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 25, 2019 at 6:49 am

      I’m glad you liked it! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Zorica
    March 9, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Thanks for the introduction.
    xx
    https://theonethattravels.wordpress.com/

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 10, 2019 at 6:05 pm

      Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Kara
    March 9, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    I’ve never heard of Rolfing before but I am so intrigued! I love all the benefits that can come from this. One of the main things I struggle with is shoulder pain, which probably comes from my posture since I work at a computer most days. Thank you for all the great information!

    x Kara | http://karascloset.net

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 10, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      I struggle with the same thing. With “computer posture,” your muscles around your collar bone and shoulders get shortened and pull forward while your back muscles get weaker. It gets harder to sit up straight and things start to hurt. The results you can get from Rolfing are pretty amazing, especially if you do it in conjunction with yoga or pilates.

  • Reply
    Paola Lauretano
    March 8, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Sounds interesting!
    Kisses, Paola.

    Expressyourself

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 8, 2019 at 10:20 pm

      I’m glad you liked it!

  • Reply
    Gemma Etc.
    March 8, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Gosh my achy muscles could really do with this right now! It sounds amazing xx

    GemmaEtc.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 8, 2019 at 10:19 pm

      I definitely get it! Rolfing definitely helps with achy muscles!

  • Reply
    Jade
    March 8, 2019 at 7:58 am

    Wo w this sounds amazing I need this done myself thanks for sharing

    jadieegosh

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 25, 2019 at 6:49 am

      It’s so helpful! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Bri
    March 7, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Wow, interesting! It’s the first time I hear about it 🙂 Feel like I really might need it too!

    xoxo,
    Bri | https://blog.brigitadaisy.com/

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 8, 2019 at 2:51 am

      I think you’ll definitely like it, I found it to be life-changing personally. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Nina
    March 7, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Really interesting post dear! I’ve never listened it.
    Have a great day! xx

    La ilusión de Nina – http://lailusiondenina.blogspot.com.es/

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 8, 2019 at 2:50 am

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you liked it.

  • Reply
    Valerie
    March 7, 2019 at 1:12 am

    Wow, I’ve never heard of rolfing before! It sounds like it is really helpful! I would definitely love to try it! Thanks for sharing!

    http://roadesque.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 8, 2019 at 2:50 am

      I think if more people knew about it, they’d be Rolfing a lot more often. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Mariann Yip
    March 7, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Absolutely love this post! Thank you for sharing! I definitely want to try this now!!

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 8, 2019 at 2:49 am

      Thanks so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Heather Rowland
    March 6, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    I had never heard of Rolfing before this post but it sounds like something I’m desperately in need of – will have to give this a go sometime so thanks for the recommendation!

    Heather xoxo

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 8, 2019 at 2:37 am

      You’re welcome! I had never heard much about it either, surprisingly, but I’m glad I did it! Thanks for reading!
      xx Jenifer

  • Reply
    Yvonne
    March 6, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Rolfing seems to be a good thing that would benefit many people! Thanks for sharing!

    https://www.aproposh.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 6, 2019 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks for reading. Rolfing very helpful for a lot of people.

  • Reply
    Mai
    March 6, 2019 at 11:01 am

    I haven’t heard of this before, but it sounds interesting! Definitely need help with my posture since I hunch over at a desk all day

    Mai // maidoesthings.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 6, 2019 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks for reading Mai. I feel the saw way, which is one of the main reasons I was interested in Rolfing.

  • Reply
    Lovely Amusan
    March 6, 2019 at 10:21 am

    First time hearing about this Jennifer and it sounds like just what my husband might need as he suffers from back pain a lot.
    Thanks for sharing this insightful post darling!

    xoxo
    Lovely
    http://www.mynameislovely.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 6, 2019 at 6:52 pm

      I’m so glad this post was timely for your husband. Look for an advanced rolfer with good reviews. Rolfing should be gentle (possibly a little uncomfortable at times but never hurt) and get good results. Hope he gets better soon.

  • Reply
    Barbara Eskowitz
    March 6, 2019 at 5:28 am

    This sounds so interesting Jen! Posture improvement is something I could definitely use. Thanks for sharing.
    xx Barbara

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 6, 2019 at 7:36 am

      So glad you like it Barbara. Bob Alonzi, the advanced rolfer that I went to is right in Santa Monica. You would love him.

  • Reply
    Mercy
    March 6, 2019 at 1:15 am

    This is very interesting, it’s the first time I’ve heard about it. Nice review, I will check if it’s done in Australia.

    http://www.busyandfab.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 6, 2019 at 3:37 am

      Thanks Mercy! Hope you can find it in Australia too.

  • Reply
    Allie Mackin
    March 5, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    Oh wow this DOES sound good like a good massage but with even more benefits!

    Allie of
    http://www.allienyc.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 5, 2019 at 11:50 pm

      That’s the perfect way to describe it!

  • Reply
    Andreea
    March 5, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    My posture isn’t as good as it was some years ago. I feel like I need to do this. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    xo, Andreea | https://www.budistyle.com/en/

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 5, 2019 at 6:49 pm

      Glad you liked it Andrea. Maintaining good posture and flexibility does wonders for how you feel on a day to day basis.

  • Reply
    Margot
    March 5, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    That sounds really interesting !
    Something I would love to try.
    Xx
    Margot

    https://troughthepasturesofthesky.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 5, 2019 at 6:51 pm

      It’s definitely worth trying. I was really happy I finally did.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    March 5, 2019 at 9:13 am

    This really sounds like something that would benefit me hugely. I spend most of my day in front of my laptop and I always catch myself slouching! Such a great, informative post!
    xxx Lauren | http://www.laurencarmen.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 5, 2019 at 6:51 pm

      Glad you liked it Lauren. I think so many of us are in the same boat and need to do something to offset the time spent in front of a computer.

  • Reply
    Didier
    March 5, 2019 at 1:41 am

    Omg I feel like I need to do this. My posture is definitely to be desired!

    -Didier
    http://www.didieryhc.com

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      March 5, 2019 at 1:55 am

      I think we all could improve our posture and this was amazing to start getting things back on track. Thanks for reading!

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