By: Dr Alex Robber
Rolfing: The Massage Technique May Relieve Fibro Pain
What Is Rolfing?
Rolfing is a method developed by US medical researcher Ida Rolf. Rolf was an experienced scholar in many respects, but she also retained some ideas that most would think today were quite strange. Rolf claimed that all humans had an energy field around their body that was interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere.
Based on this idea, Rolf developed a technique which she believed would help guide the body to work in harmony with the gravitational and energy fields of the Earth. She named this mechanism “Structural Integration.” It is supposed to help lengthen the connective tissue between the muscles, counteracting the Earth’s gravity propensity to compress them.
Rolf claimed that by expanding the muscle tissue you could reduce the amount of discomfort that someone experienced and making them safer overall. After the death of Rolf, other practices developed their methods and became known as “Rolfing.”
It engages the body, mind and spirit.
Since no one approach can cover all the bases, it is prudent to combine complementary approaches that maximize the beneficial effects of each other. Rolfing does just that, plus acupuncture. All fields complement one another when implemented as part of a treatment plan. The benefit of these therapeutic approaches is that all the body systems are de-stressed and revitalized. Our fabric represents our past.
Old memories and traumas are preserved in our tissue. Our interactions create us, literally. Rolfing works directly on the soft tissue to improve stability in each joint, as well as flexibility and mobility. As the structure changes, the people in their bodies tend to feel more relaxed and at ease.
It involves series of deep tissue massages
Today people who practice Rolfing perform a series of deep tissue massages intended to relieve muscle tissue tension. Yet “Rolfers” often assume the mental state of a person is bound to the body. Therefore, by teaching the body to be less stressed, Rolfers suggests that you can reduce the amount of stress and discomfort that you experience even if you don’t undergo treatments. But many scientists who have investigated whether or not Rolfing is successful have conclude that most of Rolf’s arguments about how the method works are in fact not valid.
Others have said that the Rolf method’s claims about how gravity affects the muscle tissues and how the body’s psychological state can be physically changed do not seem to be standing up to close examination or even contradicting established medical expertise.
It engages the fascial system
All acupuncture and Rolfing activate the fascial system. Fascia is a type of connective tissue which gives the body structural support. Although during Rolfing treatments fascia is regulated manually, facia is also believed to be the medium that conducts energy within the body. Acupuncturists inject needles along these paths into specific points to enhance the body’s health but also the mind and spirit.
Does Rolfing Help with Fibromyalgia?
There have been few studies about whether or not Rolfing is a successful fibromyalgia therapy. And the ones you did have mixed results. At least one study found that the therapy actually helped to reduce pain and anxiety in people with fibromyalgia. But other studies have concluded that, compared to other forms of therapy, Rolfing has no significant benefits.
It is an effective form of therapy for fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is currently considered as syndrome with generalized pain tolerance decrease. The most known therapeutic interventions are antidepressants and pain relievers, rest, relaxation, heat and massage. Massage is useful for treating patients with fibromyalgia, as it enhances sleep disorders, psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression, and pain intensity.
FMS pain -cause reflex protective muscle spasm, causing more pain and resulting in progressive restriction of movement, stiffness and inadequate posture. Many of Rolfers ‘ medical claims have been dismissed as’ quackery’ or’ pseudoscience.’ But if we disregard these claims and look at the therapy itself, then Rolfing is essentially just a form of deep tissue massage. And we are conscious that massage is an effective form of fibromyalgia therapy. When Rolfing is an effective treatment, then it is possibly because the procedure provides the same advantages as any massage of deep tissue.
So if you’re interested in getting a deep tissue massage for fibromyalgia, there’s really no need to track down a Rolfing practitioner, particularly when there aren’t many people who practice the procedure compared to traditional massage therapists. Try also looking for people who perform deep tissue massage who have advanced experience treating fibromyalgia patients.
They’ll probably know more about what helps with the disorder for their other patients and be able to offer you medication that can help relieve the pain. And while many traditional insurance policies won’t cover massage therapy, you’re much more likely to get coverage of a regular massage than a Rolfing treatment, which most medical authorities don’t accept as effective treatment.
How Does Rolfing/Structural Integration Work?
Rolfing, also known as structural integration, focuses its emphasis on the fascia, strong connective tissue that envelops and isolates the muscles, covers the bones and protects the heart, the lungs and other internal organs. Rolfing / structural integration loosens or unlocks the fascia through direct pressure, restoring the strength and elasticity lost through injury, repeated movement, poor posture or illness. Structural integration relieves pain and reduces stress during movement, by automatically correcting misalignment.
Reference: Rolfing(R) Structural Integration via Align