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Rofling Methof

General overview

Also called structural integration, Rolfing is a musculoskeletal method. It is a deep bodywork technique that can resemble a dynamic massage. Its goal is to reshape the body by placing it back on its central axis. It works by re-educating posture and movement.

This method was developed in the 1950s by the American biochemistry doctor Ida Rolf who discovered the plastic nature of connective tissue. 

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Main objectives of the method
  • Rolfing is a massage technique halfway between yoga and osteopathy. Its goal is to put the body back on its central axis by reshaping the posture and re-educating the movement.

  • The manual action would lead to a modification of the configuration of the muscle in its envelope and therefore an improvement in the health of the individual.

  • Initially, the treatment consists of preparing the body for a new adaptive strategy. In a second step, the patient is asked to change his or her postural habits.

Specificities of the method
  • The subject is lying on a massage table or padded mat. The practitioner is moving around him or her - standing, sitting or squatting. 

  • Sessions last about an hour and the classic treatment lasts 10 weeks at the rate of one session per week. 

  • This is accomplished through a variety of palpations, slow pressures and manipulations that are more or less vigorous but are not meant to hurt. It involves pinching, smoothing, massaging, kneading, pressing, both with the fingers and palms and with the fists and elbows - in particular to stretch and soften the connective tissue. 

  • There are also educational sessions, structured in a progressive programme of about ten meetings, which aim to explore the body's mechanisms (breathing, walking, sitting posture, etc.) and to learn more effective gestures. 

  • All realignment work must be accompanied by new posture and movement habits. In addition to the work done by the therapist, this may require the practice of certain exercises.

Who is this method for ?

Rolfing is primarily for people with chronic pain. Especially for top athletes, artists, teenagers... 

Rolfing is for people who want to be relieved of musculoskeletal pain or who wish to improve their body comfort.

Studies have also shown that Rolfing is useful for treating poor neuromuscular coordination in children. This method would increase muscle tone, restore body alignment, and promote speech in young children.

What parents say about it

There is little testimony concerning children, the method being little known in France. 

"Halfway between yoga and osteopathy, rolfing is a deep massage that allows you to regain physical and mental well-being. This method, thanks to the talented Carla, allows to relieve tensions and various pains, especially in the back. To correct posture problems, I am much straighter and I feel my feet more anchored to the ground than before. It's a real discovery in 10 sessions : the body evolves, changes and one feels a feeling of well-being and balance ".
Nasturtium B.
"Rolfing has worked for me on several levels. Physically I felt free of tensions due to postural habits. The fact that these tensions were reversible gave me psychic satisfaction, like a rejuvenation of the body. Finally, it is an experience that, by anchoring me, contributes to making me more present to the world here and now".
Anne-Cécile S.

Scientific references

Neurological problems

Relieve some neurological problems. Ida Rolf has conducted several research projects with children suffering from poor neuromuscular coordination. According to Dr. Rolf's reports, these treatments improved muscle tone, body alignment and speech in these children. Results from a non-control group study of 10 children with cerebral palsy showed that Rolfing could help those with mild paralysis to improve their speed and pace of walking. However, moderately affected children benefited little from the treatment while severely affected children did not benefit.

Perry J, Jones MH, Thomas L. Functional evaluation of Rolfing in cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 

Dr. Ida P. Rolf: Reestablishing the Natural Alignment and Structural integration of the Body for Vitality and Well-Being; ( Dr. Rolf's definitive written work on the theory and principles of Rolfing structural integration ). 

Cerebral Palsy

Functional evaluation of Rolfing in cerebral palsy.
Jacquelin Perry, Marcus Herbert Jones, L Thomas.
The results show that Rolfing can improve performance in moderately affected patients because they have the neurological capacity to make use of this increased tissue mobility. However, in moderately or severely affected patients, the benefits of treatment are diminished because their muscles are particularly contracted. 
10 patients with mild, moderate or severe cerebral palsy 

To know more about the topic

Information sites
Directory of certified professionals : 
For a list of practitioners and various associations in Europe. Several informative texts are in French.

Any remarks or comments ?

This work is based on a collaborative approach to sharing research and family experience.

If you have any comments, suggestions for modifications or corrections or clarifications to make, please let us know by email at

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