Saturday, September 21, 2019

In all the years I have been Rolfing, one of the most frustrating things I encounter, are the misconceptions about Rolfing.  Either you have heard of it, tried it and loved it, or have avoided it due to the myths that surround Rolfing.

The later is unfortunate.  Rolfing is a powerful and effective modality.  I would like to address and deconstruct some of these myths with you.

Myth #1:  It Hurts.

This hurts.

Rolfing really came into stride during the 70's.  It was a time of intense exploration and the human potential movement was in full swing.  Rolfing was still being developed by Ida Rolf, and was in a continuous state of evolution.  It still is.  During this time Rolfing often did hurt.  Most new modalities that were coming into form weren't perceived as being "real" unless it was INTENSE.

"Man, I was ROLFED the other day and it was intense.  It hurt like hell, man, but wow I feel totally aligned and one with the universe.  It was worth it man, totally worth it!"

Rolfing did help many people.  Yet, fortunately, it has evolved over the decades.  During this time, it has become more sensitive, intelligent and attuned.

Now, there is a great deal of science supporting and emphasis on working with a client's nervous system and not against it.

There have also been an influx of other modalities that help us achieve the goals of Rolfing.  Visceral Manipulation, cranial work, movement work, and neural work to name a few.  All of these modalities look at ways in which to intervene in the most gentle and intelligent ways possible.

More often than not, I utilize Visceral Manipulation to achieve the goals of Rolfing.  This is a very gentle yet highly effective modality.  Even when I do more direct work, I work with the client's nervous system in a methodical and mindful fashion.

I am always dialoguing with a client as well.  To make sure they feel as if they and their body are being heard.  If at any point something feels too intense or even painful, I encourage clients to speak up and please let me know.  This is a very important part of the healing process.

There are, at times, moments of discomfort even with the more gentle forms of Rolfing.  This is a rich area loaded with potential.  This could be an area that has been "stuck" for a very long time and is finally finding motility and vitality again.  Any discomfort should be temporary, your boundaries respected, and your nervous system titrated, not overwhelmed.

I wouldn't be doing this work if I was "hurting" clients.  This is in direct contradiction to who I am.

Myth #2:  Rolfing is like Massage.

Nope, not at all.

Even though Rolfing is a type of body work, it is not a type of massage.  Deep tissue massage is not Rolfing. The goals of Rolfing and massage are very different.

Massage is a manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to enhance a person’s health and well-being.  With massage, and their are many different forms of massage, the intention is to help a client find relief from pain and become more relaxed.

With Rolfing, the intention is to change a client's structure, so they are in unison with gravity, rather than fighting against it.  Thus, Rolfing should be better known as Structural Integration, rather than massage.  Massage might change a person's structure, but as an unintended result.

Myth #3:  Rolfing is only for pain relief.

Rolfing is meant to help restore a person's entire health, not just alleviate pain.  It is therefore holistic.  Rolfing, again, is meant to bring your body back into alignment.  Because of this, it just so happens that pain and discomfort tend to dissipate.  Which is, of course, a wonderful result.

Yet, what other benefits can be gleamed from Rolfing?

Better range of motion, a greater sense of ease, healthier boundaries, better athletic performance, a deeper sense of peace, feeling more grounded, less anxiety,  There are many more...

Even though client's often come in for pain relief, as your Rolfer, it is my job to keep an eye out for the bigger prize, and not just chase around pain.  We are looking for structural integrity for your whole body, not just the parts that hurt.  Therefore, when we achieve the goals of Rolfing, a wide spectrum of other benefits may arise, not just pain relief.

Quite simply, client's just feel better.