What's the deal with Rolfing?

Hi…anybody here a Rolfer or anyone here been Rolfed. I’m very interested but want to make sure it’s nothing weird like Scientology or something.

I don’t know that much about it, but I did have a best friend in college who got into it. As far as I could tel, it was sort of the New Age way to pay to have somebody beat you up.

He dropped it after a few months and really doesn’t want to talk about it.

To try and be fair, apparently it was deep body massage (see my first sentence again) and it hurts.

Have fun!

All my info is second or third hand as well.

My understanding is that it’s another one of those “psychotherapies” that sprung up among former hippies searching for meaning in the 70’s and 80’s, along with EST and a couple of others. There were a slew of them, the “fire walkers”, the Chanters (Those Om people, who insisted that it was NOT religeous, but psychological), etc.

Speaking from my lofty position of near-total ignorance, yes, I would put it in the same category as Scientology.

I await the wrath of the better informed.

Phew - for a minute, I thought this was about vomiting…

“Rolfing” was a slang term for throwing up during my student days - as in Talking to Rolf on John’s white telephone.

At least we haven’t sunk that low…


I think it has something to do with someone sticking something up someone else’s asshole…

I’m not an expert by any means, but to my knowledge, as Ringo stated, Rolfing is a massage method. However, I don’t know if it is supposed to hurt. Pain might be caused by an inexperienced practitioner, or that might just be how Rolfing works. Anyone with more details/experience want to chime in?

I’ll add a tiny bit more… I went to a sort of new age college and there were some people who had had this done around.

It seems to be a really deep massage. It gets to muscle groups that are not normally massaged. The tension stored in those muscles, the thinking goes, is related to issues and problems that have not been addressed. Releasing it brings these issues to the forefront, so it can be a profoundly emotional experience.

From what I understand, it’s pretty intense to get to these muscle groups also, I vaguely recall story from a friend where he said something like; “…and he had two fingers in my nose…”.

From Quackwatch (near the bottom of the page):

Uh huh.

I think I’ll point out now, though I don’t have any specific information about Rolfing, that just because the philosophy is a little “weird” doesn’t mean that there are no usefull results. Theoretically, the “muscle memory” idea could be BS, but the actual massage could be very beneficial. Then again, this post has a high WAG content, so you’re on your own:)

My stepmom is a reflexologist (pseudoscience), and even she considers rolfing a wate of time. She says that rolfers are generally aloof, they charge a lot, and it hurts massively.

It’s a form of massage therapy with some junk pseudo-spiritual overtones.

For the best, funniest and most perceptive account of rolfing or anything similar, you can do no better than read Isabel Losada’s superb book 'The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment". She experienced all of these ‘therapies’ and related ‘self-fulfilment’ courses first-hand to see what they were all about (including colonic irrigation, NLP, Tantric Sex, Insight seminars, rebirthing, etc. etc.). Funny, illuminating, wise. Not available from Amazon.com but you can get it from Amazon.co.uk .

I’ve been rolfed. About 20 years ago, when Ida Rolf’s idea of deep tissue massage was first making inroads. Apparently it hasn’t made deep inroads. I had it done by a guy in Champaign, Il, and was charged only $100 for the whole 10 sessions. Now, one session costs $100.

This is not malarky, quack watch, or any pseudo-anything. It is merely a very deep massage. And it does hurt, because the masseur gets into your muscles very deeply.

The idea behind it is to reform your connective tissue where they are not properly aligned. A picture is taken before the series of massages, showing your posture. At the end, another picture is taken, showing how much your posture is enhanced.

The guy that did it to me said I would make a good ad for the procedure since I did not show much pain. The trick is to relax. You really have to relax, because the masseur (or Rolfer) really gets into your tissues.

Rolfing, IMO, is to massage as chess is to checkers. If you think massage is good for you, and if you have the money, try Rolfing, if you can find anyone that can do it.

There’s a classical pianist (who’s name escapes me) who developed carpal tunnel and found that the only thing which helped correct the problem was Rolfing. Robert Anton Wilson speaks highly of Rolfing, and believes that it ties in with some of Wilhelm Reich’s theories about character armoring. I’ve not tried it, but would be willing to do so.

Ah, rolfing. Let me tell you about my experience with “rolfing”.

Years ago after graduating from college, the job market was tight and I ended up settling for a job working as the sole (and first ever) employee for a couple running a small business out of their home. Their house was full of crystals, orbs, and all sorts of new age stuff. I was told the wife was a “certified rolfer”, and had her office in a partitioned-off part of the house. Whatever. So I went to work there, but every now and then I’d hear screams and moans coming from the “rolfer”'s office.

Meanwhile, the health-insurance plan I’d been promised at the job interview never materialized. After several months of being stonewalled, I finally confronted the couple, insisting that they come through with the benefits. At that point, they sat me down in their living room amongst all the crystals and stuff and informed me that, actually, they believe in “wellness”. And that health insurance isn’t necessary if only I believed in “wellness” too. But alas, they are disappointed that I obviously didn’t believe in wellness since, gasp, I was a smoker (just an occasional cigarette, never at the office). They went on to say that being rolfed (by the wife of course) several times a week was a necessary part of wellness, and I should be grateful to be getting this valuable (and very expensive, they added) treatment free of charge from now on. And that, along with me quitting smoking immediately of course, should take care of the wellness issue. Rolfing then, was now a condition of continued employment and there would be no health insurance benefits provided after all.

Needless to say, I never returned to that office. I probably should have had the authorities nail them for fraud, harassment, breach of contract etc. But I was young and didn’t think of it, I just got the flock outta there.

For what it’s worth, that was my rolfing experience.

States vary as to the requirements of licensing masseurs. Some states (and I know Illinois is one) that doesn’t require any license, so anyone can set himself up as a massuese or Rolfer in those states. Nonetheless, this is a valid type of massage when done by a licensed masseur or Rolfer. As with anything else, it is always subject to abuse.

Oh, goody. Looks like I’m the first massage therapist to arrive. Just as a quick side note, rolfing is certified and licensed seperately from massage, though they will both fall under whichever authority handles bodywork. It does differ from state to state, and in some areas is handled on a city or county level.

Quackwatch is overstating here (hiya, Kamandi!) - some rolfers work that way, and some merely give a deep tissue massage. A deep, deep, tissue massage. A very horribly extremely deep tissue massage. An excruciating nightmare of never-ending pain.

I suppose the pseudo-spiritual overtones came in when recipients started screaming “Aaagh! Oh my God!” or “Please, Jesus, make it stop!”

It gets to some of the knots in the muscles that would never ordinarily be reached. But it hurts a bunch.

I’ve been rolfed. Can I enroll in the girl scouts still? :smiley:

It was as close to as a religious experience as I the Questioning Shirley ™ will ever get. I suffer from tendonitis and a former coworker of mine was in massage school. She practiced Rolfing on me. It can hurt like hell ( Like if you are a hairy guy like person, which I am not) but the releif I felt afterwards lasted for a very long time. YMMV.

I watched a friend get rolfed back in my college days.
:eek: Ouchies!!! :eek:

Remember the claims about those Phillippino ‘doctors’ who would perform surgery without a scalpel, plunging their hands into their patients’ abdomen and pulling out a hot steaming gobbet of flesh, miraculously leaving no mark or scar? It looked a lot like that, without the giblets. From where I sat, it looked like someone being fisted, without the benefit of an orifice.

But that’s just this man’s opinion.

Well, as I said, it may hurt a little.:wink: But the secret is to relax. And relax some more. You have to breathe out and relax when the pain is coming.