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Everything You Wanted to Know About Rolfing but Didn’t Know Who to Ask!

Fair Oaks, Calif.- After Rolfing was featured on Oprah Winfrey on April 26th the phones began to ring in offices across the country my own included! Although Rolfing has been practiced for more than fifty years, most people have many questions about it. Here are some of the most typical I receive. An interview with local certified Rolfer, Gary Gilbert, R.N.

What is Rolfing?
The full name is Rolfing Structural Integration and it was developed 50 years about by Ida P. Rolf. It focuses on the connective tissue and releases, realigns and rebalances the whole body so the entire system is a smoothly functioning coordinated whole.

How does Rolfing work?
Rolfing addresses the body’s internal system of flexible support known as fascia. This amazing substance surrounds every muscle fiber, encases all joints and even has a role in the nervous system. To correct misalignment, a Rolfer uses mild, direct pressure to melt or release facial holdings and allow the body to reestablish balance.

What does Rolfing do?
Rolfing can resolve pain and discomfort from many causes including back pain, repetitive motion injury, trauma and aging. A few of the many side benefits people experience are an enhanced sense of body awareness and improved posture.

What is the difference between massage and Rolfing?
Massage and Rolfing both touch the tissue, separate the fascial layers and tend to muscles that have been pulled out of position by strain or injury. But Rolfing is deeper than deep massage and focuses on structural integration, improved posture, and ease of movement.

Does Rolfing hurt?
Several factors determine the level of comfort or discomfort during a Rolfing session: the degree of trauma in the system, how long the fascial distortions have been in the client’s body, and the degree of emotional charge associated with an area. The intensity experienced is usually transitory, moving quickly from brief intensity to a decrease in sensation and finally to an easing of long-standing holdings which can prove both profound and transformative.

What about the psychological and emotional effects of Rolfing?
It is impossible to touch the physical body without touching the emotional body and emotional changes are quite common. When emotionally charged areas of the body have been identified by the client, or intuited by the practitioner, they are normally accessed slowly and with constant communication between the Rolfer and the client.

What is the Rolfing Ten Series?
The goal of Rolfing is to systematically balance and optimize both the structure (shape) and function (movement) of the entire body over the course of ten sessions. Each session focuses on freeing restrictions or holdings trapped in a particular region of the body.

Who should consider Rolfing?
Most potential clients come to Rolfing for two reasons. 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. This group might include former and current athletes, musicians, performers or those who do not believe the quality of their lives must suffer simply because they are aging. Rolfing is also an excellent foundation to complement yoga, pilates and other personal wellness practices.

The second group includes those who are on a spiritual path and who find that their physical limitations prevent them from attaining a higher level of spiritual or emotional peace. When the body transforms physically it transforms on other planes as well. Rolfing frequently has an even more dramatic effect in seemingly unrelated areas such as the spiritual.

Gary Gilbert is a Registered Nurse, certified by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado as a Structural Integrator and Movement Therapist. Gary has been involved in therapeutic bodywork since he was a student nurse in 1975.  In Rolfing, he found a way to bring together his thirty years of education and experience, for the benefit of his clients.

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