Last week I went to the Front Ogden, stripped down to my skivvies and tried something new. Lala had me lay on a heated bed filled with crystals and stones and she got to work doing a form of bodywork called Rolfing. So, what is it exactly? Basically, she massaged and moved my muscles back into place. It was strange and very healing all at once. Normally I find myself drifting off to sleep during my massage appointments but this time we were completely involved in conversation. We chatted about my ailments and as she worked she explained every detail of the work she was doing down to the structure of my muscles. Despite being wide awake, I felt incredibly relaxed after but not only that, I stood up straighter and my muscles felt stronger. When I got home, I took a bath and as soon as I got out I fell asleep for four whole hours. Four hours! As a mom, that is practically eternity. Take a peek at the Q&A I did with Lala below to find our more about this mysterious bodywork and how it can help you.
What is Rolfing and where did it originate?
Rolfing is a form systematic deep tissue manipulation, the technique includes movement education (as well as hands-on work) and is named after an American Professor Dr. Ida Rolf, Rolfing is also called ‘structural integration.’ Dr. Rolf was a professor of Biochemistry in the USA in 1920 and a bodywork pioneer. She was dedicated to finding the best way of aligning the body with gravity so that it moves most efficiently.
Dr. Rolf’s technique focuses on the layers of connective tissue called Fascia.
Fascia is like a giant dense spiderweb-like structure that is continuous from your head to your toes. It interweaves through and surrounds every blood vessel, organ, bone nerve and muscle, so rather than thinking of the body as a bunch of separate structures, we know that via the fascia that literally everything in the body is connected.
Fascia is responsible for keeping us upright (posture) and flexible (movement). It is also made up of collagen so having healthy fascia means we look good and feel good. Fascia is prone to damage and shortening over time, which can come from poor posture, injury, emotional trauma, stress, and aging. When the Fascia is damaged, it becomes ‘glued down’ blood flow is impaired, pain and discomfort/tension can be experienced, posture, movement patterns and sometimes mood ultimately suffer.
Traditional Rolfing includes 3 or 10 sessions, which lengthen and re-hydrate the fascial web. Promoting blood flow to damaged fascia helps balance the body and restore energy to surrounding tissue. This helps improve the body’s structure and alignment, creating more space for muscles that may have been restricted (reducing movement limitations and improving movement after injury and surgery), often eliminating pain and tension as your fascia’s health improves.
When did you discover Rolfing and how has it impacted you?
The impact has been literally life changing! The entire trajectory of my world has changed.
I got my first Rolfing 10 sessions (called a series) 5 years ago. I was going through a rough patch, and I was gifted the ten series by my awesome mum. I had gone to university and become accredited as an Exercise Physiologist, so via my work, I had been able to try lots of different east and west body rehab/wellness treatments. At the time I was really into weight lifting, so I was always tight and sore, I was also being treated for depression.
After my sessions I felt, more connected to my body, less sore, happier and calmer, but also less burnt out. In the months that followed, I kept noticing little shifts in myself. I loved that the work was somewhere in between a massage and a deep physio session but that it also affected me on a much deeper emotional level (without me having to do anything but show up).
After I had noticed such awesome results, I asked some of my clients to try Rolfing alongside our exercise training, and I saw my clients also getting amazing results too! I made the decision to pursue this work, and when the time came, I quit my job and sold all my stuff in Australia and moved over here to the USA so I could learn from the absolute best mentors in the world.
Rolfing isn’t the only bodywork that gives great results, but it is the one I’ve chosen to practice, I think it’s a great combination of being able to treat the physical body and the emotional/spiritual body at the same time.
Now as a practitioner of the work, I’m in awe all the time, this work is so special and always surprises me with how it can affect people’s body and their lives. I feel so privileged to be a part of my client’s healing process.
Who is a good candidate for Rolfing?
People generally try a traditional ten series of Rolfing when they want to reduce aches and pains, reduce headaches and/or chronic stress, to increase function in their every day and to improve athletic performance. Often aches and pains are part healed and sometimes completely resolved by doing the traditional ten series.
A lot of the time I see back pain and neck pain, Rolfing works well to address the structural issues that lead to these. People who are living with scoliosis and nerve impingement/disk related concerns, pre and post surgery (scar tissue is Fascia), new mumma’s who are carrying bubba’s all the time, people who have experienced both physical and emotional trauma, or who are or have been going through difficult times are all great candidates.
I’ve worked with a lot of chronic injuries, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, numbness or tingling sensations in the body, asthma or chronic respiratory infections. We treat both diagnosed and undiagnosed pain.
There are tonnes of bonus benefits alongside healing the primary concerns, like improved sleep, better digestion, feeling a greater sense of wellness, better balance and flexibility, expanded awareness and personal growth, increased confidence, more range of motion, less fatigue, more mental clarity and focus, sometimes even increased fertility.. the list goes on!
What can someone expect at their appointments?
Typically clients wear loose clothing, and we schedule 1-2 hours. Rolfing is a little different to massage; you will be lying on your back and be asked to move into slightly different positions during your session (like lying on your side). We usually begin by working on the hands and arms and move to the diaphragm, abdomen and so on. Many clients say that Rolfing ‘gets in’ to places where tension exists that they can’t figure out how to stretch out otherwise. It is common to doze off or feel very relaxed during the session.
I’ll always take my client’s lead on noise, chatting, etc. Sometimes people enjoy an hour of silence to themselves and other times they love to chat or have music on.
Each session of the ten series has specific objectives which are different for each body structure; we work towards these objectives through the hands-on work and small movement awareness techniques.
After the first session, many clients report feeling really relaxed, more upright, a sense of more movement and comfort in their body.
I have a great respect for my client’s commitment of their energy, time and resources to completing the 3 or 10 series and I am dedicated to providing you with a wonderful experience in professional holistic treatment.
What are some memorable results from clients that you can share?
I’ve had all kinds of awesome change happen on the table, sometimes physical and other times emotional. The most rewarding change (to me as a practitioner) is that which happens in the weeks after the sessions!
My friend C has given me permission to share his story with you guys. C was banged up in a skiing accident, and over the years his movement had become more limited, he had lower back pain and neck pain, and recently his hands were loosing feeling (he is a bartender, so this was no joke!). We proceeded with caution and the ok from a doctor; Rolfing was to be the last option before surgery. After several sessions C noticed less pain in his whole body, he said it was easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. He was receiving compliments on his posture and appearance, and best of all, C slowly began exercising and returning to activities he had felt he couldn’t previously (because of the pain and limited movement). In the month’s post series C got the feeling back in his hands and says he feels more confident, has more space in his body and more awareness.
I want to mention that not everyone has such explosive results, I certainly didn’t when I had my sessions. It is more common to have subtle change. But what I think is so special is that no matter big or small, subtle or obvious, the change with Rolfing sticks around!
How can someone book an appointment with you?
Send me an email via my website or a message on Facebook or Instagram!
via Facebook: Melbourne Movement Studios
via Instagram: @lalarolfs
via my website www.melbournemovement.studio (send me an enquiry)
I divide my time between Australia, California, and Utah and take a limited number of clients through the ten series each time I’m in town. I recommend getting in touch with me and booking in for your first session ahead of time as the spots go quickly.
I offer discounts for Ogden locals too!