Rolfing may sound like something you do when you’ve had a little too much to drink, but it’s actually one of this year’s hottest trends, helping to boost overall health and wellbeing. Also known as ‘structural integration’, Rolfing falls into the alternative medicine category, taking a more holistic approach to health and happiness and focusing on strengthening the connection between mind and body.
It’s said to be able to help treat everything from digestion and chronic pain to balance problems and emotional issues… it could even teach you how to be more mindful! So what is Rolfing, and is it really as good as they say?
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Beauty and Wellness Expert Sarah Pelham shares what is rolfing and how it can help heal your problem areas.
What is Rolfing?
Rolfing is a form of manipulative therapy that was developed by American biochemist Ida Rolf. Rolf was famous for her belief that in order to treat a specific ailment, you needed to focus on the whole body rather than just the problem area itself, and this is exactly what Rolfing does.
Rolfing is a type of deep tissue massage, similar to myofascial massage, that works on the body’s peripheral nervous system and myofascial structures, and is about realigning the body’s energy field with the earth’s gravitational pull.
How is Rolfing Carried Out?
Rolfing is generally a 10-session course which is split up into three separate stages:
Stage 1 (sessions 1 – 3): Massage focusing on the superficial tissues
Stage 2 (sessions 4 – 7): Massage focusing on the deeper tissues and pelvic area
Stage 3 (sessions 8 – 10): Massage across the whole body
While the treatment is similar to a deep tissue massage, Rolfing isn’t about relaxation! The manipulation of the skin can feel slightly uncomfortable, and some people might also experience a little bit of pain.
The main focus of Rolfing is the fascia; the connective tissue in the body. Although not everyone believes in traditional medicine, those that do say that it’s this connective tissue that’s responsible for distributing ‘Qi’ throughout the body. Qi is the Chinese concept of the vital life force; that everything in the world is bound by a single force, and which all come together to create energy, health, happiness, and wellbeing. Rolfing has been around since the 1940s, but not much research has been undertaken as to whether or not it actually works. So does Rolfing really have powerful healing powers for both mind and body?
Does Rolfing Work?
The research that’s out there suggests YES! Although there’s not much funding for research into complementary therapies, studies have found that Rolfing can minimise pain and boost posture. And the great thing about Rolfing is that it’s not about treating specific problems. Rolfing can be used for anything, even if you just want to feel better about yourself, or feel more comfortable in your own body.
Tips for Self Rolfing
Rolfing is likely to be most effective when undertaken by a qualified practitioner, but if you’re not sure about spending out on alternative treatments like this, it is possible to try it out at home before looking for treatment options in your area. Self Rolfing is easier than you think, and all you need is a tennis ball!
1. Roll the tennis ball across your body. You can do this everywhere, including your arms, legs, stomach, and even feet! Don’t press so hard that it hurts, but try to apply consistent, decent pressure as you roll.
2. Pause when you hit a ‘trigger point’. Trigger points can be anywhere on the body, but you should know when you’ve hit one as you may find that the area feels uncomfortable or sore when under pressure.
3. Rest the ball on the trigger point for around 10 – 20 seconds, applying heavy pressure to smooth the fascia. This can feel a little uncomfortable. It’s a good idea to Rolf on your days off from exercise.
Rolfing isn’t for everyone, it can be painful, and there’s not much research out there which says that the practice definitely works. But if you fancy trying out one of this year’s hottest massage trends and testing to see if Rolfing could help you feel happier and healthier, then why not give it a try? It’s so simple.
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