Rolfing

I saw my Rolfing practitioner, Alan, a couple of days ago and it occurred to me that I haven’t written anything here about Rolfing yet.

Your first obvious question has a detailed answer right here on Alan’s website.

So, what have my experiences with Rolfing been like?

Very positive, actually. I’ve been seeing Alan once every couple of months for several years. We started out with the standard Rolfing Ten Series and I’ve continued to see Alan for Movement work and general tune-ups.

It took me a while to notice the effects of Rolfing. I started from not really having much awareness of my body. Alan demonstrated this to me with a little exercise when we first met, that really surprised me at how unaware I was. He held up my arm and asked me to relax and let it go limp. Which I thought I did, but then when he let go of my arm it dropped down an inch or two, then stayed put. Clearly I wasn’t as relaxed as I thought I was.

Since then I’ve become a lot more tuned in to what is going on in my body. I certainly couldn’t claim to have acquired the grace of a dancer but I definitely do now know when I’ve been sitting at my computer for too long and need to get up and walk around.

It is difficult for me to describe the effect Rolfing has had on me as it is a slow process and I’ve had all sorts going on at the same time. I took a series of photographs during and after my ten series that show how my posture and body have changed. The changes aren’t huge in the pictures but I can definitely feel the difference.

I also remember making some big changes early on in the process. In particular with finding it a lot easier to breathe during heavy exercise. I hadn’t suddenly got fitter but I think the release in tension somewhere around my ribs and chest was allowing me to breathe in more air.

Longer term, Rolfing has been great for helping keep me in balance. Alan is very good at spotting (and fixing) things that are starting to go out of align. This tends to happen to me if I change how I exercise. Either doing less, or sometimes doing more, or heavier exercise at the gym can cause imbalances.

Alan was also able to help me out on at least one occasion when I’d gone to him with a sore neck. Probably just something I’d done in my sleep but it hurt enough and was a relief to get sorted out.

Various accounts will tell you that the Rolfing process can hurt. I’ve found that it can be a shade uncomfortable on occasions but rarely enough to count as actual pain. I can’t see it being in a Rolfer’s best business interests to hurt his clients, so if you’re thinking of having some Rolfing, don’t let the idea of it being painful put you off.

Best way I can describe any discomfort is like what you get when someone massages sore muscles where the second they take the pressure off it feels much better afterwards. Alan is good at finding the spots in the body that hold tension and sometimes it can take a bit of releasing. Mostly, though, it is like been given a massage by someone who feels like they have a purpose, rather than just waving their hands over your body. The Rolfing moves all feel like they are doing something specific.

If you want to know more about Rolfing, I’m happy to talk to you and I’m sure Alan would be keen for you to drop him a line, too. I highly recommend him as a Rolfer. He has a very good understanding of how the body works and has explained all kinds of things to me about which bits are connected to where and what they do. I’m not a medical or Rolfing expert but I’d say that not only is Alan very professional but he also comes across as being highly proficient at what he does.

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