Rolfing is a bodywork technique that focuses on proper body alignment and soft tissue massage to help reduce chronic pain. Two Redding, Calif-based therapists share their experiences with it.
According to a news story that appeared in the Redding Record Searchlight, Rolfing—pioneered by the late Dr Ida Rolf—is designed to help patients whose chronic pain is the result of repetitive movements, sitting or standing incorrectly, or unknowingly clenching their muscles due to stress.
“It’s designed to be done in a series of sessions, where each session works in conjunction with the previous session,” says registered nurse Diana Burkholder, a certified advanced Rolfer.
The technique assumes that the body functions best when its structure is balanced in gravity. When the body isn’t aligned correctly, problems like nerve compression, arthritic changes, and other painful issues can result.
Rather than trying to control pain, Rolfing tries to correct it, according to the news story.
“Rolfing corrects the soft tissue imbalances which are often the source of the pain,” states physical therapist Margo Franciose. ”If you camp and put your tent up and your poles aren’t straight or the ropes are not symmetrical in the way they pull on the tent from side to side, then your tent is going to be skewed. It’s the same with the body.”
Eric Jacobsen, a lecturer on global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, notes that medical study of Rolfing is still in its infancy.
“There have only been three clinical trials of Rolfing for any condition, so the scientific evidence is sort of weak at this point,” he says. However, “It’s often effective with muscular skeletal pain and disability, according to people who go to Rolfers.”
Per the story, Jacobsen also has a Rolfing practice in Boston.
Burkholder stresses that Rolfing is not a guarantee, but “it can offer the possibility for ease of movement without compensating around an injury.”
[Source: Redding Record Searchlight]