Rolfing, also known as structural integration, is a holistic, therapeutic bodywork approach to relieving stress and pain, and improving everyday movement. But this is different from the average massage— Rolfing involves an element of chiropractic care.
One similarity between the human body’s muscles, bones, nerves, and organs is that they are all surrounded and supported by connective tissues. Much as a chiropractor may realign your spine, a rolfer works to realign these tissues.
According to the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, these tissues become misaligned simply from living, and that people are not aware of the movements and activities that can harm their alignment. Rolfing works to rearrange these tissues to optimize performance and enhance quality of life.
The other main difference between Rolfing and massage is that Rolfing works to balance the body in gravity. When misaligned, gravity works against the body. With proper alignment, gravity can work with the body and help it work efficiently.
Rolfers, those who are certified to perform Rolfing, follow guidelines developed by the founder of the practice, Ida Rolf, PhD. The goal of Rolfing also remains the same as when Rolf developed it— to create a renewed and stress-free feeling in the body.
Numerous athletes have used Rolfing to achieve this effect, including 2014 Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate. “I feel like I benefitted from it after just having one session . . . I still feel fresh,” Tate said on the Rolf Institute’s website.
Concert pianist Leon Fleisher turned to Rolfing after a hand injury ended his performing career. He remains devoted to the practice after seeing positive results.
Specifically, Rolfing is used to relieve stress, anxiety, osteoarthritis, and many different forms of pain. It also helps improve relaxation and comfortable in one’s own body.
Still don’t know if Rolfing is right for you? Opportunities to try it are increasing. As an expanding practice, rolfers and Rolfing clinics are becoming more available worldwide.