Rolfing, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Natural Cure Doctor, Costa Mesa, Orange County, California, Dr. Robert Janda, Chiropractor, Natural Healing, Traditional Naturopath, Naturopathic Healing.
1. What is Rolfing and how is it different from other types of bodywork?
Rolfing is a type of deep bodywork developed by Dr. Ida Rolf which specifically targets correcting problems with the ‘facial matrix’ of the body. Fascia is the connective tissue of the body, which exists primarily as sheets, which surround all the muscles, tendons, nerves, organs and actually every cell of the body. Stresses in the fascia have far reaching implications for functioning in the body, but are particularly reflected in posture. The explicit intention of Rolfing is to realign the body to gravity. It is the only type of bodywork where postural changes will routinely be observable.
2. What is the function of fascia in the body and how does it become injured?
Fascia is connective tissue and is the adhesive tape of the body. It serves to support joints, hold muscles groups together, separate individual muscles and hold organs in place. It can become shortened, or attached to inappropriate structures. This results in distortions in posture. There is only one fascia in the body. Unlike the skeleton or muscular system which is composed of various discrete components. Therefore, stress in one part of the fascia can be distributed to remote areas of the body, much in the way a spider web is distorted when tension is put on one part of it.
Fascia can malfunction due to injury which causes shortening or gluing one fascial layer to the next. But fascia can also become distorted through inactivity. This is due to a class of cells called ”fibroblasts’ that operate like microscopic spiders. It is their job to secrete microscopic fibrils of connective tissue wherever they are and glue everything to everything. In injury such as tears and cuts, this leads to healing, However, if a body part is held in the wrong position for too long, this can lead to a loss of function. This occurs when a leg is put in a cast, or when incorrect posture is held for too long.
All of this fascial constriction results in a loss of efficiency for the body and a distorted gravitational alignment. The centering process that one feels when one is correctly balanced is lost. Instead of feeling uplifted, one feels compressed. And all this adds to the sense of stress. Rolfing is the art and science of systematically correcting these problems. People who have been through the 10 initial Rolfing session often report having more ‘room in their bodies’, or feel more free.
3. How long does Rolfing take?
Rolfing was originally designed by Ida Rolf to be executed in 10 one-hour sessions. Each session focuses on a particular part of the body, in a particular order, so the body is systematically worked through.
4. Does it ever take more than 10 sessions?
Some Rolfers work more that 10 hours on the original series. However, in most cases, 10 hours will be sufficient to put the body back in an improved mode of functioning.
5. What happens after the first 10 hours?
Some people choose to stop their Rolfing with that. Others find it has been beneficial and want more, or may need more following an illness, period of stress, or injury. I have never known a Rolfer who has only had 10 sessions, so it is a reasonable deduction that there is further benefit to continuing treatment at a future date, if you wish.
6. What conditions does Rolfing help?
Rolfing is primarily directed at improving function and structural alignment, and not at therapy, per say. On the other hand, many problems are due to poor structural alignment. As a rule, to the extent that the problem is due to poor biomechanical function and structure, it will be helped or even corrected. In some cases where the problem is due to fascial adhesions, Rolfing may be the most expedient form of treatment.
7. Does it hurt?
Rolfing has been evolving for 30 years. In Ida Rolf’s day it was often very painful. Practitioners have found that the same results could be achieved without the same intensity of pressure. So, the answer is generally, no. But people have a large variation in sensitivity and what may feel good to one person may be very uncomfortable to the next. People sometimes comment that the same motion on one side of the body feels good but hurts on the other. In general, the better the circulation and use of the body, the better Rolfing will feel. A Rolfer can also gauge the amount of pressure to the tolerance level of the client.
8. Is Rolfing permanent?
Generally, yes. But you need to understand that the body itself is constantly changing. Form follows function. If you abuse the body it will develop or redevelop problems. But Rolfing gives you a new start, and if you use it correctly it should serve you well. In some cases, people have continued to improve following the 10 sessions, even without further Rolfing.