Rolfing addresses one of the most influential forces acting on the human body, gravity. As the body is misaligned by gravity, the result is chronic strain, lowered vitality and impaired biological and psychological functioning. When the body becomes balanced, less of its vital energy is expended to support itself. Biological energy efficiency is often experienced as a higher level of alertness, awareness and vitality. Movements and overall functioning becomes easier.
Rolfing is typically done in a series of ten structured and systematic sessions in which the major segments of the body are released from life-long patterns of stress and misalignment. Rolfing is distinguishable from other forms of bodywork because it works with the fascia or deep connective tissue. This myofascial system runs continuously throughout the body from head to toe. Deep tissue is responsible for supporting the skeletal system, positioning the bones and determining the direction of movements. Fascia gives the body its shape.
The Rolfer starts by taking a medical history and by visually evaluating the client's structure. The client is then asked to lie on the table as the Rolfer sensitively applies just the right amount of pressure where the fascia is restricted. To accomplish this, the Rolfer applies slow sliding pressure using fingers, knuckles or elbows. The client may be asked to use his breath to help relieve adhesions from the inside as the Rolfer works on the outside.
Each of the ten sessions builds upon the results of the previous session so that results are cumulative. The first seven sessions remove strain from specific areas of the body such as the lower back, shoulders, neck and knees. The remaining sessions integrate the work of the first seven creating better balance and alignment.
Rolfing sessions last about one hour and are usually done about once per week. They are done in a private professional office similar to that of a physical therapist or chiropractor.
During Rolfing, you may feel sensations in your body ranging from pleasurable warmth to momentary discomfort. At other times there will be little sensation. The Rolfer will never work beyond the level of discomfort set forth by the client. After the sessions, clients often report feeling relaxed and lighter. Movements feel easier as if joints had been lubricated.
Scientific studies done at UCLA Department of Kinesiology found that Rolfing's claim to "create and maintain a more balanced energy system that conserves energy rather than expends it" was in fact achieved. Another study by the University of Maryland showed that Rolfing resulted in greater physical strength, less stress, and enhanced nervous system response. This study also noted an improvement in subjects with curvature of the spine.
Rolfing is appropriate for people of all ages and at all stages of life.