What’s Rolfing? And How it Helped my Back Pain

Written by: Marsh

Like many of you reading this who have chronic pain; I’ve been there. I’ve suffered through days thinking I’d never feel relief again. I’ve tried many methods for alleviation some working better than others, but of everything I’ve tried, Rolfing has done wonders to build me back up.

My chronic pain attacks in different ways. From over exertion, to the foods and drinks I consume and staying in certain positions for too long. All of this brings on different severity of neuropathy, muscle tightness, and weakens. It is exhausting when your daily actions become a high stake science experiment, but understanding your condition’s limits is crucial for finding effective treatments.

I’ve tried multiple methods for recovery; most of them have helped in some sort of way. You can find more information about them by clicking the following links.

But for my specific case – where I hope readers who align with me can benefit, Rolfing gets my absolute endorsement.

 In August of 2013 I did a backflip on a trampoline and landed directly on my neck right on my C6 and C7 vertebrae; my lower back and hips were also rotated upon impact. Luckily I walked the trauma off and lied down on a nearby bench. The pain was bad but nothing I thought would last for multiple years. The doctors I saw following the accident were not helpful, they either gave me lazy answers and expensive prescribed me drugs, did not try very hard to understand my case, or due to their disinterest pass me along to a different doctor. All of this is an extremely frustrating ordeal.

Time went on yet the pain did not go away, it almost seemed like my injury was changing. What started off as neck and hip pain began trickling into my back, arms, and legs, I wasn’t sure what was happening and I knew doctors wouldn’t put in the effort to help. But after various medical tests, there were no notable signs of damage or anything displaced. At this point I’ve received the following diagnoses:

  • Bursitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Inflammation
  • Improper posture
  • Lyme disease
  • Neck and Hip Strain
  • Sprained Brain Stem
  • And of course… that it’s psychosomatic

After two years of chronic pain, the feeling of living painlessness becomes distant. But it needs to be mentioned that my pain levels vary and what I experience may be minor compared to other people. I had no idea what was wrong with me and didn’t know where to look beyond typical doctors. After two years of learning about my new body’s limits and understanding general physiology. I began to look into alternative treatment that could help me; I ended up trying many. Then finally, I read off a forum about the funny named method called “Rolfing”.

Rolfing is a method of myofascial release created by Ida Rolf in 1920. Rolfing is a deep massage that instead of targeting muscles, targets fascia. Fascia, an organ that is rarely mentioned is the thin net that keeps the body’s shape. (When you eat chicken and have ever noticed a sticky web on the underside of the skin, that’s fascia!) Rolfing redistributes fascia evenly throughout the body where it may be pinched, stuck, or torn. This has shown to alleviate pressure on certain nerves causing pain, enhance awareness, fix posture, boost organ functionality, and more!

The most common practice for Rolfing is the “10 series” which are ten sessions that subsequently work off each other to restore Fascia placement. This is what I signed up for. On the day of session one, I anxiously and excitedly walked into my Rolfer’s studio hoping this treatment would bring me relief, after an hour session. I was expecting to be pain-free instantly although my Rolfer did say it might take some time to kick in. I went to bed that night a disappointed.

The next morning I woke up and there was still no real feeling of improvement. It was a moral blunder, my body was still tight and I was painfully slugging it through the day. In the evening I went to my room and thought to myself, “wait a minute, where did my pain go?” I noticed my back tension was relieved, I could look up without my neck hurting, press into trigger points without feeling irritation, neuropathy was diminished, and a rush of endorphins ran through my body like it had jut been freed from being trapped under scar tissue and inflammation. I was absolutely astonished. I called my family after I noticed these effects telling them “80% of my pain had gone away”, it was a great moment and I’ll never forget it.

As I continued with the 10 series, I would learn more and more about my body; regaining awareness and strength that I hadn’t had in two years. After Rolfing sessions, I usually felt more relief, although sometimes this was not the case – the first session of Rolfing is frequently the most dramatic change. In every session, the friendliness and knowledge of my Rolfer astonished me, as she treated me we would discuss my injury from a holistic view, which helped me understand my injury more than going to a doctor specialist who could only provide information on their skill set.

When the 10 series had finished I felt comfortable enough to begin going to the gym and doing light exercises recommended by my Rolfer. From the first session where I felt 80% pain decrease – until the end, I felt I had a body that I could exercise, run, and be less attentive to. If I ever do have flare-ups Rolfing remains my go-to method to deal them.

 From the moment I felt relief from Rolfing I gained a perspective, I never had before, an open-mindedness to the legitimacy of alternative healing techniques (although there are definitely some bogus ones out there). From further reading I’ve done about Rolfing it has seemed to help a lot of people, although it is still not very well known about. I hope that in time, with the right publicity Rolfing and other effective holistic techniques receive research funding so we can affectedly match them to which illnesses they work best with; and maybe even one day think of holistic techniques as we do with drugs or physical therapy.

 Extra Information about Rolfing

Rolfing Institute Official Website

YouTube Videos of Success Stories

What Rolfing did to my body

What Should I expect from a Rolfing Session?

What is Rolfing?


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