Alaska Orthopedic Massage Office
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Rolfing Information Page

Frequently Asked Questions About Rolfing

How does Rolfing Structural Integration work?

Rolfing Structural Integration strives to align and balance the body’s components until the entire system is a smoothly functioning 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.

These wonderful transformations are possible because Rolfing SI addresses the body’s internal system of flexible support, otherwise known as fascia. These connective tissues surround ever muscle fiber, encase all joints and even have a role in the nervous system. Think of the fascial system as an intricate internal guide wire network for the body. If one set of support wires becomes tight or out of place, the excess tension may appear as nagging joint pain, muscle soreness, or a postural shift.

To correct internal misalignments, a Rolfer uses mild, direct pressure to melt or release facial holdings and allow the body to find health through the re-establishment of balance. It is currently believed that the slow, deep strokes of Rolfing SI stimulate intra-fascial mechanoreceptors (sensory neurons of the muscle nerve), which in turn trigger the nervous system to reduce the tension of the related muscles and fascia.

Put another way, Rolfing SI allows the brain and nervous system to “re-boot” areas of the body that are receiving too much electrical stimulation (chronically tight or sore muscles). Once a healthy level of muscle contraction is established, the person’s entire structure is free to express a pain-free form.


The Rolfing Ten-Series

The hallmark of Rolfing Structural Integration is a standardized “recipe” known as the Ten-Series, the goal of which is to systematically balance and optimize both the structure (shape) and function (movement) of the entire body over the course of ten Rolfing sessions.

Each session focuses on freeing restrictions or holdings trapped in a particular region of the body. A practitioner also maintains a holistic view of the client’s entire system during each session, thus ensuring the transformational process evolves in a comfortable and harmonious way.

Who should consider Rolfing?

Those who have a history of injury or trauma and notice that the effects of their often minor injuries are beginning to interfere with their everyday lives should consider Rolfing SI. In many cases these individuals have tried traditional medical treatments or exercise to reduce or counteract the long-term effects of old injuries with varying degrees of success. This group might include former and current athletes, musicians, performers or those engaged in physically demanding jobs, and those who choose not to accept the notion that the quality of their lives must suffer simply because they are aging. In fact, all adults of any age who suffer from any limiting physical discomfort can absolutely benefit from Rolfing SI, as long as there are no signs of a nervous disorder or a deeper pathology. For most of us, Rolfing SI, combined with appropriate movement therapy, such as Rolf Movement® Integration offers a long-lasting solution for connective tissue 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.

© 2016 Rolf Institute of Structural Integration

How long does it take?

The only way to know for sure if it will work for you is to try it, however most people notice immediate results. Some people like to do 1 to 3 sessions first to get as much initial relief as possible. However a more thorough and lasting approach takes about 10 sessions. They can be done weekly or spaced out over a few months.

Tune-up sessions can be done whenever needed.


What to wear to your Rolfing session

The work is done with clients in underwear or suitable underwear-like clothing (two-piece swimming suit, loose running shorts, bra, tank top). Unlike most massages, Rolfing® clients always wear some clothing. All of the actual Rolfing® work will be performed on a padded table, while standing or while seated on a bench. Clients will be asked to get up and walk from time to time during a session.


Can I get less than 10 sessions?

If you have some kind of chronic condition, at least three sessions is preferable so that the patterns and compensations that put stress on the body’s structure can be addressed at least in part. Ten sessions allows us to accomplish a much more cohesive, coherent change in your entire structure.

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