What is Rolfing?


What is Rolfing? Such a weird word to say, but such a great technique for body aches and pains. I have been to two Rolfers in my life and each time, the relief afterwards was incredible. Christie Tufano was the Rolfer I went to for Advanced Rolfing, when I lived in Long Island, NY. I asked her to write a guest blog post to tell you all what Rolfing is! I highly recommend it!

Christina Tufano has been a Massage Therapist and Rolfer for over 10 years. She attended the New York College of Health Professions and received her Associates degree in Massage Therapy in 2003. She then received her Certification from the Rolf Institute in 2006.

Currently, she is taking classes in Cranio-sacral therapy, and is starting to specialize in working with scars. For more information about Christina, visit www.longislandrolfing.com 


There are so many people in pain nowadays. The older you get, the more often you’ll hear one of your friends comment on how their body is breaking down in some way, or what pain they’re in.  There’s a tendency to say “I’m getting old!” But, what if those aches and pains aren’t normal? What if we can be more comfortable, and more active even as we age? (And, no matter how young you are .. .. you can still feel the weight of time on your body!)

As a 23 year old, I was fresh out of massage school, ready to start my career, excited and raring to go . . the only problem was that if I stood for too long, my feet and legs were killing me.  Not a good thing for a massage therapist. A friend of mine was trying this “new” thing, called Rolfing that her mother had told her about.  One day she turned to me and said “You know, this is right up your alley! It’s deep, medical, and it seems to be working!” I looked into it, briefly, and decided that I wanted to give it a try . . not only for professional reasons, but so that hopefully it could work on me! I could give you the blow by blow of my series, but suffice it to say, that it was a great experience, and today I’m a Rolfer!

By now, you’re probably wondering what Rolfing is . .well the term “Rolfing” refers to a system of body education and physical manipulation originally called Structural Integration.  It was created by Dr. Ida Rolf over 60 years ago to balance the body in gravity.  She observed that over time, the field of gravity actually accentuates the body’s imbalances and diminishes its flexibility.  Based on these observations she eventually created her ten session series known as Rolfing, to reduce gravity’s adverse effects on the body.


Rolfing is different than massage in a couple of ways.  The first, and most important, is its focus.  While massage concentrates on the musculature of the body, Rolfing works with the connective tissue, called fascia, that wraps the body.  A wonderful example of fascia is on raw chicken.  If you have peeled that thin, clear, slightly white layer off chicken before cooking it, you too have touched fascia!  Fascia is actually intertwined throughout the body, starting with an outermost layer that can be called a bodysuit, because it covers the body from head to foot.  Beneath that, other layers of fascia cover and are interspersed within the muscles themselves as well as being connected to bones, nerves and organs.  In this way Rolfing can have a dramatic systemic effect.  Another difference is client participation within a session . Massage is a more passive form of bodywork where the client is invited to lie down and enjoy an hour of therapy without needing to focus on what is occurring in the session.  With Rolfing, it is a much more active process where the clients are asked to participate with movements and focus to the parts of the body being worked.


Rolfing is a very effective technique, and because of its focus on connective tissue rather than musculature, there is a long-term change in how the body moves. This means that it works well for chronic pain and postural problems as well as being good for those who wish to have their body work more efficiently, such as athletes, dancers and those who do manual labor.

If Rolfing sounds like it might be a good solution for your body’s issues, a great place to get more info is at www.rolf.org/visitors.php   You can also search for a Rolfer there. You might also want to visit www.theiasi.net/what-is-structural-integration- for more information.

If you live in the Long Island, NY area, feel free to look me up at www.longislandrolfing.com!