This is a hard question to answer. I think the fairest response is that it will last as long as it takes for a movement pattern to take back over. In other words if you have a pattern that was caused by falling off your bike when you were 10 years old that pattern will not likely be back. However, if you have a pattern that is caused by slouching at your computer all day then you can very well undo the Rolfing. If the client stays aware and incorporates the newly given movement cues into their daily lives, the effects can last indefinitely, even if you don’t change what you do with your body all day, but you change how you go about doing what you do.
Dr. Rolf suggested that the her process should be completed within a 5 month period to get the most beneficial effect. I find that clients can go through the process as quickly as 2 sessions a week or as slowly as one session every two weeks.
Wearing underwear and bra or swimsuit is preferred, the more skin contact available the better.
The Rolfing series of 10 sessions is unique in that each session blends with the next to reorganize our human structure into a less competitive existence with the field of gravity. During the 10 session series, clients also learn how to use their muscle system in a more efficient way to reduce stress on their structure.
The source of the problem is rarely in the same area as where the pain is felt. Many times lower back pain is due to tightness in the hips or legs.
There are perhaps two main differences.
First, the system of ten sessions progressing sequentially from feet to neck is extremely well designed to effect long-term change in the body. The systematic approach to aligning and restructuring the segments of the body results in more efficient and study human structure and is not merely treating a specific problem area.
Secondly, the quality of touch is experienced as much deeper than most massage forms which focus on a muscular level. Rolfing works on a myofascial level, including tendons and ligaments; consequently the pace of contact is usually slower. In addition Rolfing differs even from deep tissue massage forms such as myofascial release or Tui Na because of the structure of the Rolfing Series.
As the genius of Ida Rolf ‘s legacy becomes more widely acknowledged within the field of complimentary therapy, this ten-series approach is likely to become more common.
Rolfing certainly has the reputation of being painful, however, in recent years practitioners have learned how to effect just as much change if not more by working within the comfort zone. There will likely be some times where sensation is more intense, but I will work empathically with you to make sure nothing is uncomfortable.
It is important to remember that the primary goal of Rolfing is to realign the body in gravity. Rolfers are somatic practitioners not psychotherapists. It is believed that emotions can be repressed within the body’s connective tissues, the medium of Rolfing, so emotional aspects clearly have direct relevance. An example of trapped emotions is a child being told not to cry and suppressing this natural emotion by willfully contracting certain muscles (e.g. the pelvic floor, shoulders or jaw), an action which, if repeated over time becomes an unconscious holding pattern.
When the chronically tight connective tissue finally releases during Rolfing treatment emotionally charged material can be resolved. In this sense Rolfing can act as a catalyst for emotional growth and change and Rolfers are trained to contain this process safely. This aspect is partly what makes Rolfing potentially such a profound experience.