A basic Rolfing® series consists of about 10 sessions, with each session building on the last and preparing the body for the next. Each session has specific goals, but the approach to meeting these goals in individual. The reasoning behind this 10-session approach is that the body organizes itself in relationships. For example, a misaligned shoulder or hip causes compensations and changes in connective tissue throughout the body. Working on just the shoulder or hip can produce temporary relief; the Rolfing process leads to a longer lasting and more profound relief by working all of the structures that have been affected by the strained part. Conversely, a problem in one area may not produce local symptoms but may result in pain at a far away location in the body. Rolfing is like solving a puzzle and finding the root. In process, you’ll gain insight into how you participate in perpetuating your physical problems and learn simple remedies to apply when you notice yourself going down the wrong path.
Three sessions will give you a good idea whether Rolfing will provide the benefits you desire.
Sessions last about 75 minutes and are usually spaced one to three weeks apart to allow the body time to incorporate the changes.
What should I wear?
It’s helpful for your Rolfer to be able to see your movement and also important that you feel comfortable during your Rolfing sessions. Many people have sessions fully clothed in easy-to-work-through fabrics and sometimes in their underwear (for women, bra and underwear; for men, briefs or boxer briefs). Some materials work better than others – anything that’s not too slippery, not too tight, and not too thick usually works well. Jeans and sweatpants are generally too thick or unyielding. You can discuss this with your Rolfer during your first session.
What is a session like?
During your Rolfing session, you will spend a few minutes talking with your Rolfer, discussing the changes you’ve noticed in your body and movement since your last session, and addressing any questions you may have. You are, of course, welcome and invited to ask questions at any time during your sessions.
Your Rolfer will likely ask you to do some simple movements so she can see what’s changing in your movement, what’s working well, and what needs better support. These movements might include walking, turning your head, bending your knees, raising your arms.
Usually this will be followed by work on the table. Your Rolfer may use her fingers, hands, and/or forearms to work with your tissue. The pressure can vary from a very light touch to rather deep. Sensations can range from not feeling much, to a slight tickle, to rather intense. The work should always be within your level of tolerance. Your Rolfer will likely ask you to assist the changes by making some simple movements while she’s applying pressure. A dialogue about what you’re feeling and the changes happening in your body is encouraged. We want to narrow the gorge between what you’re feeling and what’s actually happening, so you get better at knowing yourself.
Sometimes work on the table will be followed by movement work. We may look at how you walk, sit or stand, bend, lift, kneel. Your Rolfer may suggest exercises for you to practice to further the work in between sessions.