According to Dr. Ida P. Rolf, all bodies have some degree of disorder and compensation in their structure; therefore she believed that everyone, children and adults, should receive Rolfing® Structural Integration. For most of us, Rolfing® SI, offers a long-lasting solution for pain and postural problems.
Even if someone has not experienced injury and/or trauma, Rolfing® SI may offer benefits to enhance overall body conditioning and functionality. Whether you are athletic, perform tasks with repetitive-motion in daily activity, or are just looking to feel more “at home” in your body, Rolfing® sessions may restore flexibility, increase balance, revitalize energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body.
How does Rolfing® work?
Rolfing® Structural Integration strives to align and balance the body’s structure until the entire system is smoothly functioning as a coordinated whole. For example, the legs are aligned to the hips, shoulders to rib cage, the body is positioned over the feet, and then all of these joints and related tissue are integrated to one another. A few of the many benefits people have experienced are reduced pain, increased flexibility, an enhanced sense of body awareness, and improved posture.
Physiology explains why: our bodies are constantly breaking down and rebuilding themselves. Bodies determine how to build themselves based on the way weight and stress is distributed through the structure. When we loosen, lengthen, and shift connective tissue, we affect relationships between structures and change strain patterns. Next time, the body rebuilds itself a bit differently. This is how Rolfing® affects structure over the long-term.
If body-use changes due to injury, illness, or stress, additional work may be useful.
Does Rolfing® SI hurt?
Historically, people have correlated Rolfing® as a painful practice, and at its inception, it was less subtle and more intense. However, as Rolfing® evolved, many practitioners have found ways to provide the desired results with a more subtle touch. Additionally, your Rolfer™ will proceed slowly and deliberately, at the pace you need so there is ample time to relax into the pressure.
Throughout a session, feelings can range from pleasurable release to honest-to-goodness discomfort. Fortunately, the work proceeds at your level and pace. I instruct clients to gauge the pressure and to communicate if anything is too uncomfortable. Skillful Rolfing® never feels sharply painful or invasive. When discomfort occurs, many clients describe it as a “good hurt” that the body wants and needs. Others say Rolfing® significantly reduces the pain experienced in their daily lives or increases athletic functioning to such an extent, that discomfort on the table is worth the trade.
What is the difference between massage and Rolfing® SI?
One of the most common misconceptions about Rolfing® Structural Integration is that it is a nothing more than a type of very deep massage. However, the goals for massage and Rolfing® are often very different. Massage is usually about relaxation; Rolfing® is about aligning structure and improving long-term function. Both modalities are valuable and one does not exclude the other. Regular bodywork (massage or Rolfing®) is recommended after some pause from your Rolfing® series.
It is 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 connective tissue 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.
In addition to our skill as structural integrators, we 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, we 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.
Is Rolfing® SI suitable for infants and children?
Absoultuely! Rolfing® can be particularly effective with children due to the rapid rate at which their bodies grow. Early intervention by a Rolfer™ aware of the unique needs of infants and children can make a profound difference in a child’s awareness, comfort level and self-esteem. Rolfing® can also help children who have had accidents, or seem to be unusually detached from others and their surroundings.
Rolfing® can assist children and adolescents with growing pains, scoliosis, poor posture, leg imbalances such as knock-knees or pigeon-toes, and headaches, among others. Work on children is gentle, and always within the comfort level of the child. Parents are to remain present throughout the session.
Is Rolfing® SI helpful to musicians and other performers?
Musicians, dancers, actors, and artists of all disciplines come to Rolfing®. Some use Rolfing® to increase their competitive edge—greater comfort in and awareness of their bodies allows them to more fully embody their art. Others try Rolfing® for more fundamental reasons, such as allowing them to keep working. Musicians, in particular, can struggle with repetitive stress injuries.
As a musician myself, I can attest to the benefits of Rolfing® personally. Musicians often face a number of unique physical challenges brought on by years of diligent practice and performing. Sometimes, even the best musicians develop habits which lead to chronic pain, mostly in their hands and wrists, forearms, neck and shoulders and lower back. Rolfing® Structural Integration and Rolf Movement® Integration can help in a number of ways. Physical adaptations to a musician’s chosen instrument, including the voice, which often lead to discomfort and imbalance, are normalized in a traditional Rolfing® Ten-Series. The Rolfing® Ten-Series can be specifically adapted to address such patterns as carpal tunnel, chronic muscle imbalances and long-term effects of odd stances and body position caused by the exigencies of playing a given instrument. Musicians who have experienced the basic series have consistently noticed profound changes in their level of physical comfort, energy level and internal awareness.
Questions about Rolfing® Sessions
Can I workout before or after a Rolfing® session?
Although you should avoid particularly ‘intense’ workouts on the day of a session, movement is key to integrating the work. We highly recommend taking a walk after each session at the least, and in general, walking, hiking, climbing, jumping, stretching, and dancing are excellent options to keep your body and mind feeling good. Typically, exploring the changes experienced through the activities you enjoy—with greater awareness and slowed down a bit—is a great way to integrate sessions.
What should I wear to my Rolfing® session?
Wear clothes you can move freely in, but give access to more tissues. Traditionally, work is done in your undergarments, but most people seem more comfortable in athletic clothing.
Wear comfortable clothing.
How does a typical session go?
Each session begins with an intake and an evaluation of your structure and movement patterns while standing. Then you can take time to change if needed and get comfortable on the therapy table. The Rolfer™ will use hands, fingers, and arms to apply slow, specific pressure to different parts of your body with the goal of easing restrictions in your connective tissue and realigning the body. You may be asked to participate during the session, for example, to breathe into a particular area or to make small synchronized movements.
How long are the sessions?
Plan for sessions to last about 75 minutes.
How much does it cost?
The cost of Rolfing® varies according to the Rolfer™ and the locale. Most Rolfers™ charge session by session, and fees range from $100 to $225. Rolfology’s current rate is $140 but feel free to talk to us about possible discounts if the cost is a burden.
Can I pay with insurance?
Currently, Rolfology can only accept insurance at our Park Plaza West, Beaverton location. Rolfing® work may be covered by your health insurance, but often it is not. Many times a letter of medical necessity is required from your doctor or chiropractor; it is best to check with your insurance provider to identify their requirements. Sometimes it’s a matter of wording—”myofascial release” or “neuromuscular re-education” may be terms your provider prefers.
Check to see if your employer provides flexible spending accounts (sometimes called a “health saving account”). These plans set aside a portion of your annual income tax free to be used for medical, dental and childcare expenses. Plans such as these usually cover Rolfing®, don’t require a referral, and can be used at both our locations.
You may download, print and fill in these 2 PDF forms prior to your first full Rolfology Rolfing® session. Alternatively, you may download, fill in, save, then email us your digitally completed PDF forms at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rolfology Consent Form
This application form explains the aims of Rolfing® Structural Integration and formally obtains your permission for physical bodywork. ~ (1 page, 149k PDF)