SHOULD YOU TRY ROLFING? Healthy for Man magazine investigates Rolfing.
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SHOULD YOU TRY ROLFING? HFM INVESTIGATES THE BODYWORK PRACTICE THAT CLAIMS TO IMPROVE IMPACT OF GRAVITY ON OUR POSTURE AND PERFORMANCE.
The first time I’d heard of this little-known practice was from actress Gwyneth Paltrow who seems to advocate more alternative pastimes than I can keep up with. But with a branch of the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration now in the UK, we ask, what is Rolfing and what can it offer the average man?
The name Rolfing comes from founder Dr Ida Rolf, an American biologist who developed the idea in the 70s that gravity impacts different areas of the body in different ways. She was influenced by Indian yogis whose bodily wellness inspired her to seek help for her family, many of whom had an abundance of mobility issues.
By pressing into the fascia – tissue that holds muscle to the skin – a Rolfer claims to improve posture, strength, energy and ease muscle pain. While many praise the practice for fixing previously unshakeable aches and pains; others dismiss it as a spiritual pseudoscience that writes cheques it can’t cash. We went to a Rolfing clinic in London to put the technique to the test.
Our host Jaro Wojciechowski is not only a certified Rolfer, but also a Pilates teacher and personal trainer. The first thing he does is take a few snaps of my standing position and explains where my body’s main points of gravity are. As my general fitness exploits come in the form of weightlifting, he asks me to demonstrate how I deadlift and squat. He shows me where my imbalances are, and while he’s happy with my form, he gives a few helpful pointers about how to improve, and increase my stability.
At this point, Jaro takes the time to explain what Rolfing is and how it can work for me. I’m totally on board with his holistic approach to the body, and the idea that aches and pains aren’t necessarily best addressed by focusing on the area experiencing the pain. But Rolfing is also about emotional balance by way of accessing the body’s energy – and until this can translate into science, the jury’s out on Rolfing’s wellbeing claims.
I lie on a treatment table and Jaro begins massaging my upper body. So far, so relaxing. He then applies pressure to my pectoral areas with his forearm – not so relaxing! This mix of pleasure and pain is like other sports massages I’ve received in the past, only with much more pressure, rolling down the ‘superficial layers of connective tissue’. The other difference is that sports massage aims to ease muscle tension, while Jaro was concerned with how my body holds itself against the gravity pulling against it, referring to his analysis of my posture.
Immediately after my first Rolfing session, I felt limber and ready to take on an intense gym session, so Jaro’s handiwork certainly had a positive effect. Now, in the gym, I’m focusing on working my back and shoulder muscles, areas Jaro identified as imbalanced and affecting my lifting form. While the science behind Rolfing remains sketchy, Jaro’s was one of the better sport massages I’ve had. For that reason alone it was worth it.
For some more informantion about Rolfing please visit: https://www.rolfing-fitsmile-london.co.uk/rolfing-in-london/and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/rolfingfitsmilelondon/Share This: