What is Rolfing – and can it fix my running injuries?

If physiotherapy, acupuncture or massage isn’t doing it for you, this technique – that focuses on correcting the positioning of the myofascial layers in your body – might be worth a try.

I love sharing others experience about Rolfing with my Denver City Rolfing clients.

Check out this excellent article from The Running Blog by Lucy Fry.

Tuesday 9 September, 2014

Rolfing? What on earth is that?

A treatment process developed in the middle of the 20th century by a lady called Ida Rolf, Rolfing is all about returning your body to its optimum structure, via the realignment of the connective tissues (or myofascial layer) that hold the muscles in place. It is usually done in a series – taking the form of 10 one-on-one sessions that follow a specific plan, moving through different body parts and muscle groups with methodical rigor.

What is it used for?

Often used as a method to treat chronic pain, like that associated with nasty RSI or muscle imbalances (as seen in professional musicians, or athletes) or for arthritis and back pain. For me, it was a debilitating hip injury, combined with some nasty stiffness in the upper back – oh and – let’s not forget that weak ankle – that led me to looking beyond the more well known treatment methods to something, perhaps more far-reaching, that might get (literally) get under the skin of the issue.

What about Rolfing for runners, more specifically?

If you’re a runner, the chances are you’re already familiar with different types of treatment methods, like physiotherapy (which takes the long, slow, but often very successful view), acupuncture (which aims to release tension from muscles, often with high levels of pain, and thus swearing, on my part) and sports massage (that kneading thing you love to hate). Maybe you even know a bit about muscle activation techniques and myofascial release therapy, and perhaps you can administer a bit of love to your knotty bits yourself, via the ubiquitous foam roller or a hard ball.

Rolfing is slightly different from each of these methods, in that a practitioner can actually lift up and move the myofascial layer back into its correct place, as well as helping to flush out waste products, as any tough massage might.

“I have worked with many amateur runners who report better economy of movement in running, as well as the resolution of various niggles such as ankle, knee or hip pain,” said experienced London-based Rolfer, Alan Richardson, when I inquired as to how his chosen method might be able to help.

Obviously, when niggles are sorted out and postural issues addressed, it’s possible to run better (especially – disclaimer! – if you’ve taken a few running technique lessons). This then leads to a reduced risk of injury, not to mention a general upsurge in style, speed and panache. It is a little bit chicken-and-egg though; you need to run with good form, to avoid overuse injuries and postural imbalances developing. But if you’ve got those problems already, the injuries are around the corner…


Does Rolfing work? Where’s the proof?

The main website has a range of links to studies done on Rolfing and its effects but there are relatively few that focus on running. There are anecdotal reports of increased balance and flexibility, as well as research conducted by Rolfer Valerie Hunt demonstrating how it can alter pelvic angle – all of which can be positive for runners.

As with many “alternative” approaches however, the true value is largely subjective. Certainly I found my series of Rolfing sessions to highlight those gnarly points or issues that had the potential to affect my running (and life in general). It took a while though – thank goodness I decided to do the entire series before I made a final judgement because it wasn’t until session 6/7 that we really started to get to the crux of things – my neck, chest and shoulder area are “holding” huge amounts of … Something? Energy? Tension? Fear? Whatever it is, it’s causing problems.

“Do you know the meaning of the word relax?” Alan jokes, as I try to allow him to release my pectoral muscle whilst exhaling, lying on my back on the treatment table.

I think we’ve found a sore sport. Chest tightness however, is also typical of those who, like me, sit at a desk typing for hours on end. But it’s not just part time desk jockeys and part time fitness junkies (like me) who wind up on Rolfers’ tables. Olympic silver medalist in diving, Leon Taylor, has been treated by a huge variety of sports therapists during his career. Having recently completed a Half Ironman triathlon, he’s now considering a full Ironman. He says of the Rolfing sessions he had with Anna Collins,


“In general, I felt I’d had my creases ironed out. In terms of running in particular… I’ll admit the weakest part of every triathlon for me is definitely the run, that’s where my body starts to really play up! But after Rolfing at least I feel I’ve got more movement in the lower back and hips, which is obviously very important for running.

To learn more about the benefits of Rolfing, visit my Denver City Rolfing website.

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Healthy Joints and Inflammation


When I talk to my Denver City Rolfing clients about joint health, the topic of inflammation always comes up. It helps to have a strategy. As we age our joints become sluggish. Manual therapies like Rolfing can be a great way to help keep your body moving.

In addition to a change in diet, natural supplements can reduce pain and inflammation. Work with your healthcare practitioner to determine dosage, efficacy, and potential drug interactions and side effects.

I recommend adding these 4 – All Natural Ingredients to everyone’s diet.


The anti-swelling components in this root are called gingerols. These strong antioxidants can help halt cytokine production.


For centuries, this tree’s resin, frankincense, has been used to treat inflammation. Modern studies confirm its ability to inhibit swelling. Boswellia is available as a capsule, tablet or in topical creams.


The anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric is curcumin. This compound interrupts NF-kB activity and heads off the release of cytokines. Only 3% of turmeric spice is curcumin, so most clinicians advise supplements.

Green Tea

The phytochemical EGCG in green tea is another potent antioxidant that holds NF-kB at bay. Most prepared green tea drinks usually don’t contain as much of the phytochemical as a cup you brew yourself.

For more information on the benefits of Rolfing, visit my Denver City Rolfing website.

Denver City Rolfing joins Integrative Medicine of Cherry Creek

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I’m happy to announce Denver City Rolfing has joined the team at Integrative Medicine of Cherry Creek, offering Chiropractic, Internal Medicine, Nutritional Counseling and now Rolf Structural Integration.

Extended hours for Rolfing Sessions are now available: 9:30am – 6:30pm _ Mon. – Sat.

Conveniently located at:

4500 E. Cherry Creek S. Dr,  Suite 103
Denver, 80246

Parking is available in the designated “Guest Parking” spaces provided around the building.
Please do not park in the “Permit-Only” parking structure.


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Get Ready for Winter Sports With Active Stretching

Summer is here. Time to get reacquainted with your body!
Start with 3 – DENVER CITY ROLFING SESSIONS for $300.

Then begin at home with these 6 – Basic Stretches


#1: The Runner’s Stretch

(A) Step your right foot forward and lower into a lunge, placing your fingertips on the floor or on two firm cushions if your hands don’t reach.

(B) Breathe in, then, in one motion, exhale as you straighten your right leg. Slowly return to the lunge position. Repeat four times. Switch sides.



#2: The Standing Side Stretch

(A) Stand with your feet together and your arms straight overhead. Clasp your hands together, with your fingers interlaced and pointer fingers extended. Inhale as you reach upward.

(B) Breathe out as you bend your upper body to the right. Take five slow breaths. Slowly return to the center. Repeat on the left side.


#3: The Forward Hang

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your knees slightly bent.

(A) Interlace your fingers behind your back. (If your hands don’t touch, hold on to a dish towel.) Breathe in and straighten your arms to expand your chest.

(B) Exhale and bend at your waist, letting your hands stretch toward your head. Hold for five deep breaths.


#4: The Low Lunge Arch

Step your right foot forward into a lunge and lower your left knee onto the floor or a folded towel or blanket.

(A) Bring your arms in front of your right leg and hook your thumbs together, palms facing the floor.

(B) Breathe in as you sweep your arms overhead, stretching as far back as is comfortable. Take five deep breaths. Switch sides.


#5: The Seated Back Twist

Sit on the floor with your legs straight.

(A) Bend your right knee and step your right foot over your left leg. Put your right hand on the floor, fingers pointing outward, for support. Bend your left elbow and turn to the right, placing the back of your arm against your right knee. Inhale as you sit tall.

(B) Breathe out as you twist, pressing your arm into your leg and looking over your right shoulder. Hold for five breaths, then slowly return to the center. Switch sides.


#6: The Bound Angle

Sit on the floor with your legs straight.

(A) Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, letting your knees drop toward the ground. Hold your shins as you inhale and stretch your chest upward.

(B) Exhale as you hinge forward from your hips (without rounding your back) and place your palms on the ground. Hold for five slow breaths.

For more information on the benefits of Rolfing, please visit the Denver City Rolfing website.



Myofascial Release & Rolfing® SI

Here is an excellent article written by my friend and Rolfer colleague Anthony Buono, owner Gotham Rolfing in NYC. Enjoy!

Myofascial Release & Rolfing® SI

By Anthony Buono – Many clients considering bodywork for any variety of reasons want to know the difference between Myofascial Release and Rolfing Structural Integration. There are a few similarities but simply put, Rolfing is holistic in that the practitioner will focus on the entire body over ten sessions whereas Myofascial Release (MFR) is a massage technique based on Rolfing SI that addresses the “target area” of pain in an attempt to free restrictions or break adhesions.

AnatomyA quick definition of Fascia. It is a thin yet tough and elastic connective tissue that wraps all structures of the human body (including muscles and organs) while providing support and protection for these structures. MFR utilizes hands-on pressure and time to slowly elongate fascia and create better mobility. Rolfing uses fascia manipulation and movement education to restore flexibility and reduce compensations in an effort to leave otherwise healthy bodies feeling more comfortable and more useful. During a myofascial release session the client is expected to relax and allow the practitioner to work on them. This is called passive bodywork. During Rolfing sessions, on the other hand, the client is required to actively participate… not “check out” as you would during a massage. The client is part of the process and works together with the practitioner towards a common goal, whether it’s pain relief, increased mobility, or better functionality.

There (most definitely) are similarities between MFR and Rolfing Structural Integration. You can say that MFR falls under the Rolfing SI umbrella (because it was created by an osteopath who studied with Ida Rolf), but not necessarily the other way around. If I had to pick one main differentiating factor between the two it would be the ” Rolfing recipe”, the 10 session protocol created by Dr. Rolf, exclusively for structural integration, to organize the client’s whole body in gravity. “This is the gospel of Rolfing: when the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.” Ida P. Rolf, PhD.

To organize a body in gravity the practitioner must look at the body as a whole and take into account all relationships. The relationship of the shoulder girdle to the pelvic girdle, the pelvic girdle to knees, the knees to ankles, rib cage to spine, the head-on-shoulder girdle relationship and so on… Of course, the mind/body and client/practitioner relationships are considered as well. Bringing awareness to the client is tantamount and in my opinion, can be more important than the hands on soft tissue manipulation… but that’s another story. Although MFR may use the same techniques used in Rolfing and even have the same goals as Rolfing, the path to reach these goals is not the same, the strategy is not the same. The recipe has a cumulative effect and all decisions made and actions taken during sessions are not only based on what has been done prior but what is yet to come in future sessions. Structural Integration sessions are designed to build on previous work and progress gained while also preparing for what is to come. This is quite possibly the main reason why long-term changes are so common with Rolfing.

For more information or to schedule a Rolfing appointment in the Denver Metro area visit Denver City Rolfing.