Rolfing: The Massage Technique may Relieve Fibro Pain


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If you have fibromyalgia, you may have benefited from a deep tissue massage. There’s a significant amount of evidence suggesting that massage can reduce the pain of fibromyalgia. But have you ever tried Rolfing?

Rolfing has been suggested as a possible form of treatment for fibromyalgia based on the idea that it offers benefits similar to a massage. But the truth is that there is very little evidence to suggest that Rolfing is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. Let’s look at what Rolfing is and why people might believe it can help with fibromyalgia. That way, you can decide for yourself if you want to give it a try.

What Is Rolfing?

Rolfing is a technique developed by Ida Rolf, an American medical researcher. Rolf was in many ways an accomplished academic, but she also held some ideas that most would think were quite strange today. Rolf believed that all humans had an energy field surrounding their body that interacted with the energy of the Earth.

Based on this idea, Rolf developed a technique she claimed could help orientate the body to work in harmony with the Earth’s gravitational and energy fields. She called this process “Structural Integration.” This Structural Integration is supposed to help lengthen the connective tissue between the muscles, counter-acting the tendency of the Earth’s gravity to make them contract.

By expanding the muscle tissue, Rolf believed that you could reduce the amount of pain someone felt and make them healthier overall. After Rolf’s death, her techniques were expanded by other practitioners and came to be known as “Rolfing.”

Today, people who practice Rolfing perform a series of deep tissue massages that are designed to release tension in the muscle tissues. But “Rolfers” also believe that a person’s mental state is tied to the body. So, by training the body to be less tense, Rolfers argue that you can decrease the amount of tension and pain you feel even when you aren’t receiving treatments.

But many scientists who have looked into whether or not Rolfing is effective have concluded that most of the claims made by Rolf about how the method works aren’t based in fact. Many have said that the arguments for the Rolf method about how gravity affects the muscle tissues and how the psychological state of the body can be adjusted physically don’t seem to hold up to close scrutiny or even contradict established medical knowledge.

However, what matters when it comes to treatment for fibromyalgia is whether or not it works, not why it works. So does Rolfing work for fibromyalgia?

Does Rolfing Help With Fibromyalgia?

There haven’t been many studies about whether or not Rolfing is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. And the ones that have been done have had mixed results. At least one study has found that the treatment actually did help people with fibromyalgia reduce their pain and anxiety. But other studies have concluded that Rolfing has no noticeable benefits compared to other forms of therapy.

Many of the medical claims made by Rolfers have been dismissed as “quackery” or “pseudoscience.” But if we ignore these claims and just look at the therapy itself, then Rolfing is basically just a form of deep tissue massage. And we know that massage is an effective form of therapy for fibromyalgia.

If Rolfing is an effective treatment, then it is probably because the treatment is providing the same benefits as any deep tissue massage. So if you’re interested in getting a deep tissue massage for fibromyalgia, there’s really no reason to track down a Rolfing practitioner, especially when there are not many people practicing the technique compared to traditional massage therapists.

Instead, consider looking for people practicing deep tissue massage who have specialized experience treating patients with fibromyalgia. They will likely know more about what works for their other patients with the condition and be able to provide you with therapy that can help relieve your pain. And while many traditional insurance plans won’t cover massage therapy, you are much more likely to get a standard massage covered than a Rolfing treatment, which is not recognized as an effective treatment by most medical authorities.

With that being said, there are many people with fibromyalgia who will swear by Rolfing. It’s always best to weigh the information available and decide for yourself what treatment options you want to pursue.

So, have you tried Rolfing to treat your fibromyalgia? Did it work for you? Is it better than a traditional deep tissue massage? Let us know in the comments.