Rolfing 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.