Rolfing Digs Deep to Restore Balance: An Alternative Healing Method for the Body
Dec 30, 2013 04:53PM
● By Lee Walker
Although less well-known than massage, Rolfing’s ability to restore lasting balance in the body bases its rising popularity among those in search of relief from imbalances resulting from physical injury, illness and the inescapable pull of gravity. Unlike massage, Rolfing’s hands-on approach wholly focuses on the body’s fascia—better known as the protective layer of muscle and various connective tissues.
It is fascia that surrounds our muscles, bones and organs, which shapes muscles and gives structure to the body. Rolfing’s job is to structurally change the body by shortening or lengthening fascia. It does this through a series of 10 one-hour weekly sessions performed by a certified Rolfer or Rolfing practitioner.
A Rolfer’s education and certification may come from one of several schools. However, the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration and the Guild for Structural Integration are the most well-known, having been around for several decades. Both are headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, where teaching facilities have been greatly influenced by the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf [1896-1979], founder of this “holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organizes the whole body in gravity.”
Rolfing’s progressive series of sessions is what sets it apart from other healing modalities. Each session builds upon the last and balances the body in segments. Sessions one through three begin with a focus on the upper body and diaphragm, move on to the foot and lower leg and then to the lateral sides. During sessions four through six, the Rolfing practitioner works on the inside of the leg, focuses on the stomach and the relationship between the muscles, rectus abdominis and psoas, and then moves on to the back of the body, head and neck, followed by the upper and lower areas of the pelvic girdle. The final session covers the whole body.
Vertical alignment is generally achieved by balancing the body from front-to-back, side-to-side, top-to-bottom and inside-out. While most clients receive once-a-week sessions for 10 consecutive weeks, some prefer fewer sessions, as well as a little more time for personal integration and adaptation of the results of this therapy.
The results of structural integration last. Upon the release and lengthening of affected fascia, the body is freed to return to its structurally optimal position and consequently requires less energy to move about. Good posture thus becomes effortless, breathing is easier and the body can once again enjoy greater flexibility, improved coordination, increased breathing capacity and more energy. Additional work might only be required in the event of a subsequent accident, lengthy illness or heightened emotional stress.
Resources: Laura Barnes, certified advanced Rolfer, 2335 Tamiami T.r N., Ste. 206, Naples; 239-825-8555.
Rolfing Naples, George Beahan, Certified Advanced Rolfer; 239-919-4413. RolfingNaples.com.
Rolfed In Paradise, Inc., Cindi Curci-Lee, RN, Advanced Certified Rolfer, 8660 College Pkwy, Ste 230, Ft. Myers; 239-777-4070.
Stuart Wright, Certified Advanced Rolfer; 239-272-6443.