Is Rolfing® painful? No, Rolfing Structural Integration should not be painful. In the early days of Rolfing, deep pressure was often viewed as the only way to achieve results. Modern Rolfers™ have a better grasp of the body’s plasticity and nervous system responses, and use a variety of methods to help release holding patterns without pain. There may be some discomfort as renewed motion comes to a previously frozen area—this is the discomfort of the unfamiliar, which quickly becomes enjoyable as clients rediscover freedom of movement. Clients normally feel relaxed and experience a reassuring pressure from the work. Your comfort will guide the use of pressure in the sessions.
I've heard Rolfing® is done as a "10-series" of appointments. Why? Rolfing Structural Integration was originally designed as a series of bodywork sessions to help integrate the whole person into the most harmonious and efficient relationship possible at a given time. Painful patterns take a long time to solidify; they become embedded in contracted connective tissues and reactive nervous systems around those areas. While they usually helped cope with some past situation, they often hinder health and movement as they persist over time. Normally a few sessions are needed to unwind old patterns and introduce new options for movement and posture, and for the brain-body to acclimate to new ways of being.
Rolfing is generally most effective in a traditional series of 10-13 sessions that systematically addresses superficial and then deep structures in the whole body to safely relieve painful patterns. However, clients can also experience pain relief, acute injury support, or performance improvements in a shorter number of sessions. A series of three sessions is a good "reboot" and introduction to Rolfing’s benefits. And an initial session can deliver long-lasting improvements for the spine, neck and breathing.
How long are the sessions, and how far apart? Each session is approximately 75 minutes long, with the first session often a bit longer for reviewing a new client's health history and assessing patterns of movement and posture. Rolfing involves hands-on work on a massage table, and seated work on a bench. Unlike most therapies, clients are actively involved in Rolfing, and may be asked for different kinds of movement and breathing to support lasting changes from the work. The time interval between sessions can vary, from once per week, to up to four weeks between sessions, depending on health history, client goals, changes occurring with prior sessions, travel, and other factors.
What do I wear? Wear comfortable clothes that allow for basic movement, such as a sports bra, underwear and athletic shorts like running or soccer shorts (or a two-piece bathing suit) for women, and underwear and athletic shorts for men.