Rolfing for Better Posture and Better Health
By Lovelyn Bettison
Rolfing is a form of bodywork that loosens fascia and aligns the body to help achieve proper posture. Its goal is to provide postural release and support to the body so that it functions to its full capacity. Structural misalignment can cause dysfunction and even pain. Loosening the fascia helps realign the body. Fascia wraps around all structures in the body, holding them in place. When it is tight it tugs on muscles and bones pulling them out of place. When the body is misaligned it fights against gravity. This causes more effort to be exerted for normal movement. When the body is properly aligned it works in harmony with gravity providing ease of movement.
Rolfing was created by Dr. Ida Pauline Rolf in the early 1950's. Rolf received her degree in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1920. Later she did research in organic chemistry at the Rockefeller Institute.
She was always interested in health and alternative medicine. She was especially interested in chiropractics, homeopathy, osteopathy, and yoga. After exploring all these forms of alternative medicine, she concluded that they were all based in physiology and anatomy and that proper postural alignment could help rid the body of dysfunction.
Rolf developed a system to release deep muscle and fascia adhesions. It was originally called postural release. Later it was called structural integration. It was nicknamed Rolfing by clients and therapists. Eventually the name stuck.
Rolfing is done in a series of ten sessions called the Ten Series. Each session focuses on releasing adhesions in specific areas of the body. The finial session concentrates on integration and alignment of the body.
Rolfing sessions can be quite intense. Many people report that the therapy is painful. You may feel discomfort during your treatment, but the techniques used in Rolfing these days are gentler than they were in the early days of the therapy. Your therapist will communicate with you at all points during the therapy trying to judge your level of discomfort. If you're feeling pain, let your therapist know.
During a session you can undress to your level of comfort. Rolfer's are accustomed to working around clothing. You will be asked to change position frequently so that the therapist can better assess your posture and get to deep layers of tissue.
Rolfers usually take a photo of you standing comfortably before treatment and another after you've received the Ten Series so that you can see the difference in your posture. After treatment you will notice that your movement is much freer. Some even say they're a little taller.
Rolfing benefits people with chronic muscle pain and people who have experienced a traumatic injury. People with heightened body awareness, such as athletes, dancers and musicians, benefit greatly from Rolfing.
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