Rolfing®

Frequently Asked Questions

If I get Rolfed, will the changes last?

YES! Photographs taken of clients years after the Basic Ten Series show that changes are still present and structure is enhanced. The basic series addresses patterns of tension and restriction accumulated in your body since childhood, including past injuries and their many compensations. Fortunately, you won’t recreate that history again.
And indeed, your body, having been Rolfed, continues to improve. Your body’s shape and condition are constantly being maintained and recreated by its movement patterns. If the movement patterns are imbalanced and restricted, they will continue to break down the structure (typical degeneration attributed to “getting older”). After Rolfing, the movement patterns begin to improve and re-create a balanced structure. Through the improved movement patterns made possible by a more flexible and free structure, the Rolfing continues after the 10 sessions have been completed.

Does Rolfing hurt?

Much of the reputation for pain came from the early days when Rolfing was first gaining public recognition. Practitioners were a bit “over-zealous”, and techniques were crude (heavy-handed) by today’s standards. Since that time, the process has evolved significantly. More refined methods have been found, allowing the same or often better results to be achieved without the intense discomfort. Frequently tissue does not really need much pressure to change; rather it is the practitioner’s sensitivity to what is going on in the tissue and the ability to respond appropriately that is necessary.

If I have a sore back, can I just get work on my back?

Of course I can do work just on your back. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple; the changes won’t necessarily address the underlying problem, and thus won’t last. Due to the amazing complexity of the human body, everything is connected. Therefore, the locality of where you experience pain may not be the source of the pain.
For example, what is happening in your back may be related to what is happening on the front of your body. So by improving your ability to breathe by working on the front of your body, your back is ultimately affected for the better. Or, the problem may be below the back. The body, like any building or structure, needs the foundation underneath to be strong and stable for the top to be healthy and right. Amazing as it may seem, the source of back pain can often be relieved by working on your feet and legs.
One of Dr. Rolf’s famous quotes to her students was “Where you think it is, it ain’t”. This means we have to look beyond the obvious. We aren’t just trying to relieve symptoms, but change your entire structure so that it moves freely and effortlessly, and functions at a much higher level of ease and efficiency.

Why is fascia so important?

Most bodies are in a state of imbalance. Consequently, as we grow older, we often “shrink” in height and slowly lose flexibility. Our bones stay the same length and our muscles can still function, but the connective tissue (fascia) is what changes the most.
Fascia spreads throughout the body in a three dimensional web from head to toe without interruption. Trauma, inflammation, and poor posture over time can create a binding down of fascia, resulting in excessive pressure on nerves, muscles, blood vessels, bones, and organs. Unfortunately, all of the standard tests such as X rays, myelograms, CAT scans, and EMG’s do not show fascial restrictions. It is recognized that a very high percentage of people suffering with diverse pains, headaches, and various limitations in their movement may be having fascial restriction problems; regrettably, they are simply mis-diagnosed.

Is there anything beyond the basic series of Rolfing?

The basic series makes significant changes in the form, balance and alignment of the body, but realistically it is not a one-time cure-all for body dysfunction. After a period of adjustment and integration (three months to one year or longer) it is possible to continue the process.

  • Tune-up sessions “ This work is to minimize damage from new injuries, traumas, or prolonged stress. Accidents, or overly-demanding work (on the job or in the garden) will result in the body not functioning as efficiently as it had after the initial ten sessions. The focus of the sessions is to restore balance and freedom in the body, returning it to the alignment and fluidity available after Rolfing. Usually done in one to three sessions, and can be undertaken anytime.
  • Advanced work “ The body has been organized in the first 10 sessions; this frees up the structure from the limitations of the past. The advanced work takes the process much farther. While releasing any remaining patterns of tension, there is also an exploration of new choices and possibilities in movement on both the physical and personal levels of one’s life. It is “graduate work”. The series is typically done in a sequence of five sessions, though it can be less or more; discuss your needs and goals with Dick. Though often requiring less sessions than the initial ten series, the Advanced work often produces as much or more additional change as the original ten. Advanced work can be done anytime beyond a minimum of three months after the basic series.
Why is Rolfing sometimes specially used to treat the effects of psychological shock and trauma?

While Rolfing is primarily involved with physical changes in the body, it affects the whole person. The effects of shock and trauma are extensive, affecting the nervous system and many other components of the body. By very slowly and carefully working with their physical manifestations, underlying neural and psychosomatic injuries are given a chance to heal. It is important to mention that the body is always striving to restore itself to balance after an injury and will do so if provided with a safe and secure opportunity. Clients often report positive changes, stating less stress, greater self-confidence and improved ability to handle life’s changes.

What do I wear?

Traditional attire is underwear for men and a bra and underwear for women (or two piece swimsuit). It is important for me to be able to see your physical structure and the changes that occur to it during the session, but is also important for you to feel comfortable during the session. Please wear what you feel is appropriate; my years of experience permit me to adjust to whatever allows you to feel at ease.

Is there scientific proof about Rolfing?

Rolfing has been studied scientifically several times, with very positive results (more studies are currently ongoing). One example is a five year study conducted by Dr. Valerie Hunt and Dr. Wayne Massey at the UCLA Department of Kinesiology, called “A Study of Structural Integration from Neuromuscular, Energy Field and Emotional Approaches”. There were measurements before and after Rolfing of anxiety states, brain hemisphere activity, energy field photography, DC recordings of energy flow in electrical voltage readings, EMG recordings from sixteen separate muscles, electromyograms of neuromuscular patterning of energy, and electronic auric field study.
This study produced many results, difficult to briefly summarize. These are a few of the outstanding results:

  • Greater physical skill
  • Greater movement efficiency
  • Improved neuromuscular balance
  • Emotional calmness; decrease in anxiety state
  • Improved social interaction
  • Feelings of well being
  • Better memory recall
  • Enhanced ability to access different states of consciousness
  • Increasing right hemisphere brain dominance when needed for right brain activity
  • Positive changes in ways of processing data and the nature of thought processes that ensue
  • More energy; less fatigue
  • Greater energy flow and balanced distribution of energy