Chronic neck or back pain?
Hip or leg dysfunction?
Thoracic, shoulder or arm problems?
Nothing that happens in your body happens in isolation. What is happening in your foot will affect your leg, what is happening in your leg will affect your hips, what is happening in your hips will affect your spine, shoulders and neck etc. and vice versa.
As well, the three body wide systems – the circulatory system (blood and lymph), the nervous system and the fascial system – affect each other in complex, diverse ways and impaired function in one of these will lead to impaired function in the others creating a self-perpetuating cycle of pain and dysfunction.
Myo-fascial therapy intervenes in this cycle at the level of the fascial system, that is, the muscles, tendons and ligaments which make up the bodies structural foundation. The application of slow, sinking pressure to the shortened, ‘glued’ fascia re-hydrates and ‘melts’ adhesions, lengthening tissue. Hydrated and lengthened tissue results in better body alignment, improved movement, improved circulation (increased blood and lymph flow) and a less reactive nervous system (reduced pain). An experienced myo-fascial practitioner can work at all levels of the tissue from superficial to deep but because pressure is applied slowly and evenly pain is usually experienced (unlike deep tissue massage) as appropriate, ‘good’ pain and is not excessive.
As well as advanced myo-fascial therapy I also use a number of other modalities including Gua Sha, scar tissue therapy, joint mobilisation, visceral manipulation and lymphatic drainage. All of these are compatible with and complement the myo-fascial work that is the basis of what I do and some of them may also be utilised within a session.
Myo-fascial Therapy and Rolfing
Rolfing is advanced myo-fascial therapy. Dr Ida Rolf the founder of the Rolf Institute for Structural Integration basically invented myo-fascial bodywork in the 1930s and 40s. Her method which became known as Rolfing remains the most advanced and sophisticated form of myo-fascial therapy. Although I have embraced many different techniques and modalities and incorporated them into my work Dr Rolf’s wholistic approach to the body remains the bedrock of my practice.
The basic therapeutic premise underlying Rolf’s process is that, in the absence of significant pathology, when the various parts of the body are brought into alignment and balance then pain and dysfunction will be significantly reduced and even disappear entirely.
Consider the patterns that have been ingrained in your body during your lifetime either because of childhood habits, injury, occupation or sporting activity.
Obviously, major trauma to the body will have significant consequences in terms of pain and function but even apparently inconsequential habits create a great deal of tension and bracing resulting in misalignment, strain and pain.
Dr Ida Rolf and Rolfing
Developed by Dr Ida Rolf through half a century of study and practice Rolfing is a hands-on process of manual manipulation of the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia) using precise, deliberate and penetrating touch which has the effect of re-hydrating tissue and dissolving fascial adhesions that restrict movement, impede function and create pain. Movement becomes easier and more fluid. Pain disappears entirely or is greatly reduced.
I have suffered from chronic neck and back pain for more than ten years and have spent over $30,000 on different therapies. Amongst the many healthcare and medical professionals I have seen in that time Gary is the only therapist who has successfully treated the pain and headaches I was living with daily. Thanks to the Rolfing series I received and the subsequent Gua Sha treatment Gary provided I am about 80% recovered and continuing to improve. I cannot recommend him highly enough”
M. Boughton – Cremorne, Sydney.
Rolfing Treats Patterns Not Symptoms
Rolfing treats patterns of strain and imbalance – not simply the symptoms these patterns produce. Underlying movement patterns are the root cause of many musculoskeletal problems.
Posture rather than being the problem in itself is actually the reflection, the snapshot of a pattern of movement and it is this pattern that needs to be changed to bring permanent improvement to a body.
As well as using manual techniques to release tissue Rolfing employs self- awareness and perceptual techniques that encourage the self-organizing capacity of the body to re-pattern the nervous system.
It is for these reasons that the results of Rolfing treatment are generally more effective and longer lasting than the results of other physical therapy treatments.
Rolfing then works in two ways. Firstly it is a process of physical differentiation. The various components of the body have to be released from the restrictions imposed by their surrounding tissues – the legs must be freed from the pelvis, the arms freed from the thorax, the head from both arms and thorax. Only when the parts of the body are independent of each other are they actually able to work with each other to create a more coordinated, integrated structure. Secondly, Rolfing is a process of education. The differentiated parts of the body can only sustain new relationships when new patterns are laid down – only then will whatever changes have been achieved during the Rolfing process become permanent features of a more integrated system.
The Rolfing Process – ‘The Recipe’
Every person is different and every ‘body’ is different with its own individual needs. Consequently, Rolfing is not a ‘formula’ that is indiscriminately applied in the same way to everybody. Rather the Rolfing process is a ‘recipe’ that can be adapted to take each individuals’ unique structure into account. Accordingly, the 1st session begins with taking the clients history and with a thorough assessment of the clients’ structure. However, while the Rolfing process can be adapted to the needs of each individual, Rolfing is not just concerned with addressing the symptoms that the client presents with but with the overall pattern of mis-alignment.
Rolfing is a process that attempts to re-organize the amazingly complex structure of the human body. For that to happen the ’layers of the onion’ have to be revealed and methodically peeled away. The process of manually releasing tissue requires a number of sessions that deal not only with particular problems but with the underlying pattern. Long-term patterns of movement cannot be changed in one or two ad hoc sessions aimed only at addressing the symptoms these patterns have produced. Consequently, each session is different, with its’ own territory and objectives and each session builds on the session that precedes it.
How Many Sessions Are Enough Sessions?
Dr Rolf constructed her ten session ‘recipe’ as much as a teaching protocol as a treatment protocol. She wanted to teach her students how to do what she could already do.
The ten series remains a comprehensive method for re-organising a body, an invaluable tool for new Rolfers and an enduring reference for all Rolfers, however, Dr Rolf never intended that her protocol should be the only process for working with the body.
She recognised that as practitioners became more experienced that they would move away from simply working through her ten sessions.
Advanced training through the Rolf Institute is partly directed toward teaching practitioners to work in shorter series without losing the effectiveness of the traditional longer series.
Depending on the degree of misalignment and dysfunction present in a body an Advanced Rolfer may choose to construct a shorter series of sessions which will achieve the same result as the ‘ten series’ while at other times the longer protocol may still be judged the better option. 3 or 4 sessions right through to the traditional 10 sessions might be required.
Having now practised as a Rolfer for over a decade and having completed the Advanced training I find that I mostly work in series of 3 to 6 sessions though I will still take a number of clients through the full ten series.
Heal Your Body, Heal Your Life
Rolfing is much more than a manual therapy aimed at ‘fixing’ musculo-skeletal problems. At that level of the therapeutic paradigm, it has a very high success rate but it has much more to offer.
The shifts and changes that occur during the twin processes of changing the bodies’ tissue and changing the underlying movement pattern can have a profound psychological impact on the recipient. As the thorax opens to the breath and the front of the chest floats forward or as the ankles increase their range of motion and the gait becomes more fluid so the client’s view of their body and of themselves also change. Changes in perception can become changes in attitude – confidence can grow and anxieties ease.
Rolfing then operates at more than one level. It is very good at resolving myo-fascial problems that arise in the human body which is enough for many clients but it can also be a life-changing experience. The anecdotal evidence is that a significant proportion of ‘Rolfees’ substantially alter the direction of their lives.
Rolfing Feels Good
A massage may be relaxing but at the end of a Rolfing session people stand taller, straighter, feel more energized and experience a great feeling of well being. Anyone, whether or not they intend to go through the full Rolfing process, is welcome to come and have a session and feel the difference.
Call Gary Hehir today to discuss how Rolfing can help balance your body
on 0422 742 045 or Book a Session.
Benefits of Rolfing Therapy in Orange
Rolfing has significant benefits for people who go through the process. While each individuals response to Rolfing is unique these often include;
Lasting relief from pain;
Greater ease of movement;
Heightened body awareness;
A greater sense of vitality;
Orange Practice Location
1/25 Sale Street, Orange NSW 2800
Parking is available at our Orange location. Click on the map below to get the details.
Effective in the treatment of many conditions including;
- Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Frozen Shoulder
- Sacro-Iliac Dysfunction
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Period Pain
- TMJ Pain
- Migraine headaches
Rolfing is a system of manual and movement therapy that was developed by Dr Ida Rolf through more than 50 years of study and practice.