I had my second rolfing session yesterday.  I had rolfing on my list of things to do for about a year now.  It was actually recommended to me by my massage therapist.  The only thing holding me back was my lack of knowledge of what it was, and the time commitment.  Most reports say that for rolfing to be effective you should go through 10 sessions.

So far, so good.  The results of my 1st 2 sessions have been fantastic.  The first session focused mainly on my upper back, shoulders, and arms.  Then 10 days later on my 1st long run of the winter, I went 11 miles easy in 90 minutes.  As my run was coming to an end, I took a physical inventory of my body and realized I felt good…dare I say great.  I could have run another 30 minutes no problem.  And amazingly, my upperback which gets sore like clockwork after about 60 minutes of running was almost pain free.  Infinetely better then it has been, usually after a 90 minute + run I can’t turn my head to the side without my upper back screaming from tightness.  Needless to say, I was impressed and attributed my pain free run to rolfing since that was the only change I had made.  Nice.

The second session focused on legs, mainly lower legs, but whole leg was worked on.

After every session I get “homework”, which is basically what I need to do to help the progress last.  My 2 homeworks so far are things I know I should do but don’t because they aren’t fun.

1.  Rolling my IT band with a foam roller, ouch

2. Strengthening my weak calf that had the ruptured Achilles

But she is right…those are necessary for me to get faster and stay healthy

Let me explain what rolfing is,  better yet, let wikipedia explain Rolfing.

Basically it is myofacial release  Here is the Rolf Institutes explantion of rolfing and how it differs from massage

Rolfing and Massage

What is the difference between massage and Rolfing?

Rolfing is not a form of massage
One of the most common misconceptions about Rolfing is that it is a nothing more than a type of very deep massage. There are many varieties of massage, which are particularly effective for loosening tight tissue, reducing stress, detoxing the body and an increased feeling of relaxation and well-being. Since these benefits are also a byproduct of Rolfing, the general public experience confusion as to the precise difference between our work and the proliferation of effective touch modalities currently available.

Rolfing balances the body in gravity
Ray McCall, an Advanced Rolfer in Boulder and former student of Dr. Rolf, once said that what Rolfers do can be summed up in three words: palpation, discrimination and integration.

  • We palpate, or touch the tissue, feeling for imbalances in tissue texture, quality and temperature to determine where we need to work.
  • We discriminate, or separate fascial layers that adhere and muscles that have been pulled out of position by strain or injury.
  • Finally, we integrate the body, relating its segments in an improved relationship, bringing physical balance in the gravitational field.

Other soft-tissue manipulation methods, including massage, are quite good at the first two, but do not balance the body in gravity.

Rolfing reshapes and reorganizes
As Dr. Rolf used to say: “Anyone can take a body apart, very few know how to put it back together.” The true genius of her method is the art and science of reshaping and reorganizing human structure according to clearly defined principles in a systematic and consistent manner.

Rolfing can teach you to help yourself function more effectively
In addition to our skill as structural integrators, Rolfers are also educators, a point Dr. Rolf stressed frequently in her training classes.

The role of teacher is something every Rolfer takes seriously. In each session, Rolfers seek to impart insights to clients to increase their awareness and understanding, to help the client make the work we do their own. Our job is to make ourselves obsolete, by empowering our clients to take charge of their own physical and emotional health. Influencing the structural evolution of man on a global level was Dr. Rolf’s fondest dream.

  1. December 22, 2009 at 12:58 am

    So great to hear about your experience with the 10 series. Proper running requires the body to be allowed to find it’s natural balanced state free of twists and torsions in the joints and larger segments. There needs to be S-P-A-C-E in the joints otherwise they compress and grind. Rolfing is a fast predictable therapy to achieve this desired effect. I would pick up some barefoot technology shoes (i.e. vivo barefoot) and test them out on the treadmill. This will help your calves and feet figure out how to unwind. And skip the foam roller on the IT Band (it can’t lengthen no matter how painful you make it) and use it only on the Tensor Fascia Latae or lateral quads/hamstrings.

    Mike Bulger, Board Certified Advanced Structural Integrator (Rolfing sans trademark)

    • December 22, 2009 at 8:22 am

      Hey Mike!
      Thanks for the advice. I actually own a pair of the 5 finger shoes. I do short workout in them from time to time, although I haven’t used them since the marathon in November. Can you expand on the IT band and foam roller…since most everyone I know thinks that is something that is useful.

  2. Shannon McVannel
    December 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I had to get rolfing done before because I could hardly bend over without my back being in so much pain… I think Rolfing is fantastic and should be done at least once a year in competitive athletes

  3. December 29, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Hi Chad,

    Thank you for sharing your experience of receiving Rolfing® structural integration with the world. More people need to know we exist, and that they are capable of being well. Who do you have the pleasure of working with?

    It was great that you copied the content from The Rolf Institute® website so that the info you give will be accurate. I do take one exception. Rolfing is not myofascial release either. Here’s a blog post I wrote speaking to why that is the case.

    Do keep us updated on your progress!

    Be well,

    Carole LaRochelle, BCSI, NCTMB
    Certified Advanced Rolfer™
    Rolf Movement® Practitioner

  4. Rolf Schneider
    January 14, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    ROLF IT UP, YO!!

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