Frequently Asked Questions

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Q.  What are some specific ailments that people use Rolfing for?


A.  Whiplash, TMJ dysfunction, lower back pain, chronic pain, depression, rounded shoulders, neck and shoulder pain, feet problems (low or high arches, bunions, ankle sprains, etc.), carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic headaches, pinched nerves, scoliosis, multiple sclerosis, knee problems, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, sinus blockage, and thoracic outlet syndrome. 


Q.  Who benefits from Rolfing?


  1. Athletes

  2. People who perform repetitive tasks, such as working with computers, or heavy equipment

  3. Dancers

  4. People who have been injured

  5. Children in competitive sports programs or with structural challenges

  6. Students of yoga, meditation, tai chi, and martial arts

  7. Musicians

  8. New mothers

  9. Business people

  10. People suffering from chronic pain and stress

  11. Older people who want to be more active

  12. People preparing or ready for a significant psychological change in their life


People of all ages and walks of life come to Rolfing for relief from their pain and stress and improved performance in their professions and daily activities.  Rolfing can also benefit people involved in emotional, behavioral, and spiritual growth by releasing the physical restrictions that often relate to emotional irritability or dependence.


Q.    Is Rolfing good for children and older people?


  1. A.Yes. For children, just like learning a new language, assimilation comes easily.  Wording with mild strains of scoliosis or structural patterns developed from sports or injuries at an early age can help a child lead a more fulfilling life.


Rolfing is also good for older people.  Reducing the curvature of the spine, that is concurrent with the shortening process, and increasing vital capacity or our ability breath more efficiently are two major benefits, particularly to older people.  Because Rolfing is a partnership, the Rolfer will be happy to discuss and may even require a meeting with the client’s physician if there are any concerns about the effects of Rolfing.


  1. Q.How does Rolfing differ from massage therapy and chiropractic care?


A.  Massage therapy primarily addresses muscles and attempts to relieve tension.  Many chiropractors primarily address joints, especially relating to the spine.  More chiropractors are performing some soft tissue work before or after adjustments.  Rolfers examine the whole body, not just the area in pain, and specialize in adjusting the connective tissue network, called fascia.  This includes tendons, ligaments, septums, aponeurosis, fascial sheaths, and muscles.  Rolfing actually changes the structure of your body and can help correct the sources of tension.


Other aspects of Rolfing include:

  1. Understanding the effects of gravity on our being

  2. Body education and awareness, in and out of movement

  3. A holistic approach:  top to bottom, back and front, inside and out, body and mind

  4. Your Rolfer will be happy to discuss other forms of treatment with you.  Like other forms of complementary therapy, Rolfing is not touted as the end-all treatment.


Q.  Is Rolfing painful?


A.  Many years ago, some Rolfers were very direct and thought that they had to push hard to get results.  People often reported that Rolfing was painful.  However, over the last ten years, Rolfers have learned more about the nervous system and new techniques that have changed how people feel about Rolfing.  Focusing on an area, breathing into it, and making synchronized movements while the Rolfer is applying pressure causes the consistency of your connective tissue to become fluid and moves the fascia. Rolfing is a partnership.  Your Rolfer will communicate with you to ensure the work stays in a tolerable range for you.  You are always in control.  The end result is the realignment of your body’s segments.


In areas that are not used to being worked or areas extensively used, you may experience sensations of pleasurable warmth to momentary discomfort, like a burning sensation.  People describe this feeling as a “release.”  The tingling sensation only lasts while the tightened tissue is releasing.  Afterwards, you feel warmth, length, and lighter, as well as balance and stability.


Q.  How much does Rolfing cost?


A.  Cathy’s fee is $ 110 per session, which lasts approximately 75 minutes.


Q.  Will insurance pay for Rolfing?


A.  Insurance plans that pay for alternative or complementary care may pay for Rolfing.  Insurance companies like the fact that Rolfing is not open ended; it usually has a finite number of sessions and goals.  It has shown to be cost effective, especially for cases that typically go on and on, such as repetitive stress syndrome and whiplash.


Q.  What do I wear in a Rolfing session?


A.  People usually wear their underclothes or a bathing suit.


Q.  Will I continue to feel good after I’ve finished my Rolfing series?


A.  Yes. The changes from Rolfing not only last, they are progressive. Old patterns that are created to protect misaligned areas are no longer comfortable. After your fascia is able to support your new structure, your body and mind continually find new ease.  When we feel more comfortable in our bodies, our spirits change.  We become more responsible and sometimes more relaxed.  Most people that use Rolfing choose to stay this way and not go back to the old patterns.


Q.  Do I have to keep coming back for more sessions?


A.  That is a personal decision.  Six months to a year after the initial series, many people want a refresher session or “tune-up .”  Tune-ups help you adjust to the changes and possibly get deeper into areas that were not accessible during the ten series.  Also, if you undergo some kind of trauma (physical or psychological) or suffer an injury, additional sessions can be helpful to maintain the balance and “feeling good” sensation you had after the ten series.


One to five years after the initial series, people frequently are ready for an “advanced” series.  Advanced series are usually between three to five sessions and focus on balancing movement in gravity as a result of the organization of the original series.


Q.  How did Rolfing get its name?


A.  Rolfing Structural Integration is named after its originator, Dr. Ida P. Rolf.  After earning her Ph. D. in biochemistry and physiology from Columbia University in 1920, Dr. Ida P. Rolf (1896-1979) worked in the chemotherapy and organic chemistry departments at Rockefeller Institute.  Her interest in family health problems led her to the idea of Rolfing, or Structural Integration.  Dr. Rolf’s pursuit of optimal health and evolution led her to investigate the effect of structure on function and the role gravity played.  In addition to teaching Rolfing worldwide for more than four decades, she established The Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado in 1972.  Rolfing is now taught internationally.

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