There’s a new fascia focused treatment in town that aims to realign your posture and re-centre your energy. We find out why rolfing is set to become all the rage in London, a revived concept that was established in 70s New York
The concept of rolfing has been around for decades, despite it being relatively new to the modern city wellbeing scene. Coined by American biochemist Dr Ida Pauline Rolf who specialised in cell change, she was determined to find a solution to help her family that was plagued with mobility problems.
She was fascinated by the early Indian settlers in New York and began observing the way their yoga treatments impacted the body, soon realising the significant impact it had on the way people moved. She launched the The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in the 70s, a form of alternative medicine centred around ten hands on physical manipulation sessions.
The Hogarth Clinic’s Prue Rankin-Smith has practiced rolfing for 30 years, though training in rolfing only began in the UK very recently. She says that the treatment essentially aims to realign your posture and change the way your bones move while also restoring balance to the body, and believes that Ida Rolf worked on the principle that the body is placid, adaptable and mouldable.
‘Rolfers encourage your natural posture to change by the deep tissue work that we do,’ Rankin-Smith explains. ‘We don’t work on muscle, but we work on fascia, which is the wrapping of the muscle. We are not treating a problem, rather we are treating the person to establish a better way of moving, which has an enormous effect on one’s general wellbeing. We work on you as a whole person, emotionally and physically. Rolfers use a long term approach, we are not quick fix it people. We aim to cause a change in the whole body, not just in one area.’
When I first experienced rolfing, it changed how I felt about myself, the way I was walking was quite defensive. I walked more softly, taller, and it didn’t take much effort for me to stand tall with good posture like it used to
She says: ‘When I first experienced rolfing, it changed how I felt about myself, the way I was walking was quite defensive. I walked more softly, taller, and it didn’t take much effort for me to stand tall with good posture like it used to. A lot of your emotional history will come out during these treatments too because emotional baggage really does affect the way you physically carry yourself.’
She leaves me with a simple summary or rolfing, stating that ‘it is about mind, body and soul, sitting hunched over at your desk in the office day in and day out is actually not how the body should naturally sit. Rolfing is like a full MOT for the body. We service our cars every year to prevent breakdown, yet we only focus on our bodies once something has gone wrong. There is a better way.