CATEGORY: Body Work/Massage/Soft Tissue Manipulation
TYPES: Hands-On/Manual, DVDs/Videos, Books, Teaching Manuals & Various Tools
*All brand names are trademarks of their respective owners & used for review(s) & comparison purposes only.
> Known to work. Can make you feel good immediately
> Provides relaxation/stress relief
> Can provide short-term back pain relief
> Can improve posture and alignment by loosening fascia and adhesions (tight muscles)
> Practitioners are fairly easy to find throughout the US.
> Some users report relief from tension headaches.
> Long term effectiveness for back pain relief is questionable
> Fairly expensive – requiring multiple visits over the course of months (EX: Cost of 10 sessions ranges from $750 – $1650)
> Requires significant time and, in most cases, travel commitment (10 sessions are recommended at approximately 75-90 minutes each)
> Some find the sessions to painful as the work is done very deep into muscle tissue
> Contraindicated for those with blood clots, high blood pressure, someone taking blood thinners, and/or those with heart conditions
The philosophy of rolfing makes sense — if you can loosen up and improve your posture, your overall body movement improves, too. Rolfing could be shown to work for certain problems like low back pain, when combined with strengthening exercises and better posture.”
– Rob Landel, Head of Physical Therapy Department at the University of Southern California
Rolfing can be effective for achieving back pain relief but one has to ask the question of why the muscles & connective tissue surrounding the spine need to be ‘rolfed’ in the first place? The answer is simple: body misalignment. Misaligned muscles & connective tissue are forced to work in an unnaturally way against the constant downward force of gravity, 24 hours a day, just to keep you upright and functioning. This eventually causes knotting and binding to occur in these over-stressed & over worked muscles – and, therefore, creates the need for them to be rolfed. If you find yourself grossly misaligned and suffering from back pain, then rolfing massages may benefit you. It is a sound premise to work on loosening fascia and breaking up adhesions to allow the body to move and stand more naturally. Although rolfing has benefits, it’s not without limitations as it’s passive. You still need to actively tone and tighten your back and postural muscles to help maintain proper posture throughout the day.
A more complete approach for back pain is to maintain proper alignment of your muscles & connective tissue at all times in order to minimize muscular knotting and binding. The BODY-ALINE takes considerably less time & costs much less than rolfing. In fact, for the cost of about 6-8 rolfing sessions, you and yours will have a quality built back & posture exercise machine that has been over-engineered for a lifetime of consistent use. Plus, the easy exercise motion of the BODY-ALINE is generally well tolerated, whereas rolfing is often uncomfortable or even painful to receive. For these reasons, the BODY-ALINE makes more sense as a long-term back pain cure. Many have asked the questions: “Does rolfing really work for back pain?” and “Does rolfing work for scoliosis?” This analysis summarizes why, in our opinion, the BODY-ALINE is a better & more effective back pain solution compared to even the best body work massage & soft tissue manipulation methods like rolfing, although they both could work well together.
A Personal Review of Rolfing for Back Pain from BODY-ALINE Co-Inventor Jason Bowman…
I have never endured a rolfing session but I know people who have. They’ve told me it feels more painful than a full body massage but the results are very comparable. So, just like massage, I recommend rolfing for temporary relief. If it makes you feel good, then do it. However, be forewarned, rolfing work is done deep into muscle tissue and in order to really benefit you MUST be able to withstand some discomfort and/or pain throughout the entire 75-90 minute session. You also need to be ready to pay between $750-$1650 for your initial 10 sessions, along with the notion of having to continue the sessions beyond the original 10. This treatment is definitely NOT cheap.
All this withstanding, if you’re interested in rolfing by all means give it a try. Just be sure to do it in conjunction with daily use of a BODY-ALINE. The two modalities will have a synergistic effect. Rolfing without the BODY-ALINE will eventually lead to the need for more rolfing. Whereas rolfing in conjunction with the BODY-ALINE, will eventually eliminate (or drastically reduce) the need for more rolfing. If you can afford both, then do both. If you can only afford to do one, the BODY-ALINE is the far more sensible choice.