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What is Rolfing?

Rolfing is also known as Structural Integration it is a form of bodywork that uses deep tissue massage to help the body realign and balance itself. It was made by Dr. Ida P. Rolf in the early 1950s and it is based on the belief that the body’s structure and alignment can affect its function and well-being.

Rolfing therapy involves applying pressure to the body’s connective tissues or fascia. Fascia is a web of fibrous tissue that covers and connects all of the body muscles, bones and organs. When the fascia is restricted or unhealthy it can cause pain, stiffness and other problems. It helps to release these restrictions and improve the body’s alignment.

How does Rolfing work?

A Rolfing session usually lasts for one hour and is divided into three phases:

  1. Body Reading: The Rolfer begin by assessing the client’s posture, movement and breathing patterns. This helps to identify areas of tension and restriction.
  2. Table Work: The Rolfer then uses a variety of techniques to apply pressure to the client’s fascia. These techniques can include deep massage, stretching and joint mobilization.
  3. Closure: The session ends with a period of relaxation and discussion. The Rolfer will talk to the client about their experience and answer any query they may have.

Benefits of Rolfing

This can be beneficial for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Sciatica
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

This technique can also help to improve:

  • Posture
  • Flexibility
  • Range of motion
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Energy levels
  • Overall well-being

Risks of Rolfing

It is generally a safe procedure, but there are some potential risks, including:

  • Bruising
  • Soreness
  • Mild discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • In rare cases, more serious complications, such as nerve damage, can occur.

Who is Rolfing for?

Rolfing is a safe and effective therapy for people of all ages and fitness levels. However, it is not recommended for pregnant women or people with certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis or cancer.

If you are opting for Rolfing it is important to talk to your doctor first. They can help you determine if it is right for you and recommend a qualified Rolfer.

Relationship between Rolfing and Physiotherapy

Both Rolfing and physiotherapy share a common goal of improving physical well-being they approach it from different angles. Rolfing primarily focuses on realigning and balancing the body’s structure through fascial manipulation which can help improve posture and movement patterns. Physiotherapy takes a broader approach and often addresses a wider range of conditions, injuries and dysfunctions through a combination of techniques and exercises.

It is worth noting that Rolfing is considered a complementary or alternative therapy and its effectiveness may vary from person to person. On the other hand, physiotherapy is a recognized healthcare profession with established methodologies and evidence based practices.

The choice between Rolfing and physiotherapy depends on individual preferences, conditions and goals. In some cases, individuals might find benefit from adding elements of both approaches into their wellness plan. But it is important to consult with qualified professionals in each field to make informed decisions about their care.

How much does Rolfing cost?

The cost of Rolfing varies depending on the location, experience of the Rolfer, and number of sessions required. In general, a single  session costs between $100 and $200.

How many Rolfing sessions do I need?

The number of Rolfing sessions you need will vary depending on your individual needs and goals. A typical course consists of 10 sessions, but some people may need more or fewer sessions.

What should I expect after a session?

You may experience some soreness and stiffness after a session. This is normal and should go away within a few days. You may also feel more relaxed and energized.


It is safe and effective therapy that can help to improve your posture, flexibility and overall well-being. If you are going for Rolfing, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can help you determine if It is right for you and recommend a qualified Rolfer.

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