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The definition of Rolfing is to use physical pressure to stretch and guide the connective
tissue in the body to allow for a better, more flexible movement in the body. Moving and
breathing techniques are taught to the patient in order to help facilitate the process.

The myofascial system of the body supports all soft tissues, defines how the bones are
positioned and spaced, and basically is the cause of the shape of one's body. When the
patient has been realigned properly, they report less depression and anxiety and have
more energy. They have also reported less pain and better coordination.

Patients who seek Rolfing as an alternative medicine usually do so as a result of stress
or injury (neck pain) from physically demanding jobs or jobs where they must be in one
position for long periods of time, such as at a computer. Sports injuries are also cause
for seeking relief through Rolfing.

Students of a balanced life use Rolfing as well. People who seek a balance and
harmony in their physical and emotional life consider Rolfing along with yoga to be the
ultimate in good health keeping. Professional Rolfists treat all age groups from infants to
the elderly.

Ida P. Rolf (1896-1979) is the founder of the 10 stage treatment model. She was an
American biochemist and a PhD who discovered the connective tissue that connects the
muscles to the bones could be strengthened and manipulated. She believed that the
body could become pulled out of its intended shape by gravity, and muscle and
connective tissue reshaping was necessary for good health and balance. Unlike the
connective tissue massage therapy, she developed 10 sessions geared toward deeper
layers of the body, the patient learns to posture better, and control the invisible line that
grounds and connects them to the earth. The sessions are structured so that manual
manipulation of connective tissue along with lessons in relating to gravity will cause the
patient to become more balanced-both physically and spiritually-to the point of the now
healthy body beginning to be able to heal itself.

As connective tissue tends to become dehydrated, shortened or twisted (as in sports
injuries) as a result of the everyday stress and strain of living, it is unable to perform its
job of allowing the muscles to move fluidly, causing all kinds of havoc in the body.
Rolfing treats the tightness and inflexibility of the connective tissue in the muscles so
that the body can begin to live fully. As with CST therapy, patients often have emotional
outlets during sessions including crying, resurfaced memories, and have reported
feelings of becoming childlike again.

The 10 sessions consist of evaluating the patient's structure through photos and
questions, positioning and repositioning the limbs of the body and using pressure to
indicate where the problems areas are located. Then the patient is taught breathing
techniques which will help facilitate healing, and in the first seven sessions pain and
strain are released from the body. These sessions typically last one to two hours and are
spaced approximately two weeks apart. Rolfing is so popular that most patients choose
to continue the process after the initial 10 sessions as a preventative measure and
holistic approach to well being.
It is important to note that at first Rolfing can be painful or at least uncomfortable, a lot
like deep tissue massage. The muscles must be released and if they have atrophied
from lack of movement (the old joke about a patient telling the doctor "It hurts when I do
this" and the doctor replying "Well then, don't do that" is so true with muscular stiffness.
When it hurts to move a certain way, we often stop the movement, causing our muscles
to stiffen) and this can be painful at first. If you have a strong dislike for being touched or
have cancer or arthritis, Rolfing may not be the best course of treatment for you.