If your friend told you that they’d been Rolfed, you’d probably be concerned for their health but in fact, Rolfing is a form of body therapy that bring relief to patients all over the world from Europe to the United States, and now at Holistic Central in Hong Kong.
Steven Bremner, Holistic Central’s Rolfing therapist recommends Rolfing for almost anyone. “All bodies have some degree of muscular disorder and compensation, and virtually anyone will benefit from Rolfing: business people, those suffering chronic pain and stress, athletes, dancers and even musicians.”
The original term for Rolfing is structural integration and this does paint a better picture of what the therapy is all about. One example of where core and functional muscles can become disordered or imbalanced, says Steven, is through leading a sedentary lifestyle or spending too many hours at a desk. Alternatively, we may suffer an injury or develop unnatural postures from overusing the wrong muscles and underusing the core musculature.
“Many of us have simply lost touch with what are bodies are really designed for— moving!” says Steven.
This is where Rolfing can help reestablish proper use and alignment again in the body. It is no wonder that Rolfing is popular with professional athletes and dancers who find that their performance vastly improves after the Rolfing series. One of Steven’s patients, Ironman and marathon runner Chris Johnson, credits Steven with “putting the tiger back in her tank”, saying that since coming to Steven for treatments, she is now more successful in her athletic career than ever before.
In fact, Steven was formerly a professional principal ballet dancer for over 20 years. Steven says that dance taught him a lot about body awareness and its amazing capacity for change expression through movement and function.
“My whole life has been about exploring the wonders of the human body through movement and dance. I have pushed my body to the edge on a daily basis, and the main reason this has been possible is through knowing my body and constantly listening to, and respecting it when it tells me what it needs to work optimally.”
Therefore, when Steven decided to extend his skills beyond a dancer’s career, he chose Rolfing as a therapy to study and become certified in because: “While there are a few other reliable systems out there that use manipulation for treatment, Rolfing attracted me the most because it involves everything from the myofascial structural work, breathwork, movement integration, working with subconscious patterning , balancing in the gravity field, energy, etc. It presents a more holistic approach.
“There are some similarities between Rolfing and say osteopathy or the Alexander technique, but Rolfing goes much further beyond the soft tissue manipulation. Steven explains that gravity is one of the key players in the outcome of a balanced system. He says: “In fact Rolfers often say that it is gravity that is the therapist. We’re not meant to live this sedentary life and like animals our bodies are meant to move – to flow in harmony within the gravitational field. “
So what happens when you are Rolfed?
Rolfing has been described as comprising of three parts: palpation where the therapist feels for imbalances; discrimination where the therapist decides and finds the primary structural causes and gently eases muscles and fascia towards balance again; and finally, and most critically, integration where your body is put back together to a higher level of function as it should be!
Ida Rolf , the founder and creator of Structural Integration often said that “anyone can take a body apart, but few can put it back together in a better place than it started at.”
The skill of the Rolfer is in their ability to feel and sense imbalances in tissue texture, quality and tension which will guide the therapist in the appropriate techniques.
Typically a patient will take “the recipe” or the Rolfing Ten Series which is a series of ten 90 minute sessions which allow for a logical sequence of myofascial release, and movement integration:
- In the first three to four sessions the therapist works on the superficial muscles to create balance, space and efficient movement.
- Once achieved , the next four to five sessions are used for accessing the deeper core structures. Because the superficial muscles have properly prepared to give space and room for the core, the core can come through and “wake up” again. We start to see restored balance differentiation and better function of the body again.
- The last few sessions are to focus on movement integration, to bring it all together and prepare the body to function better out there in the real world beyond the therapists door.
The Results: For many the results are a more powerful, efficient, free flowing and graceful body. A Rolfing client often experiences a heightened sense of wellbeing, clearer thoughts, enhanced creative abilities, better digestion, improved metabolic rate, lymphatic function, circulation, breathing, and improvements in fitness levels, even for the most sedentary persons.
If you are interested in Rolfing therapy, please call Holistic Central to make an appointment with Steven. In your initial consultation, Steven will discuss your health, lifestyle and posture and together discuss an effective tailor made treatment course for you.