Change your body with Rolfing

Part 1 – Sessions 1 - 3

Rolfing: Case Study

Follow the Rolfing Ten Series

In this series of posts we are going to explain the benefits of completing the Ten Series of The Ida Rolf Method or Structural Integration® program with an in-depth case study.

A method of bodywork, designed by Ida Rolf, Rolfing is a hand’s on treatment that can release and reorganise the fascia or connective tissue, think of it as the web, that supports the bones, muscles, nerves and organs of your body.

We were fortunate in this case study to get the opportunity to work with a couple who are committed, well researched, have chosen this method as their preferred therapy to kick start another chapter in their exercise lifestyle and are willing to allow us to document the journey sharing their insights and experiences session by session.

The other unique aspect of this story is that are in these special people are in their early 70’s.  We thank them for their trust, confidence and honesty to share frankly their Rolfing ® experience with us.

Sessions 1 - 3

Opening your body with Rolfing

The first 3 sessions of the series are designed to loosen and balance surface layers of connective tissue.

Session 1 is devoted to enhancing the quality of breath with work on the arms, ribcage and diaphragm. We also begin opening along the upper leg, hamstrings, neck and spine.

C1 – Response to treatment

Dear Mandy,

I am not sure what to share but here are my thoughts in bullet points:

·      Mentally stressed as I was gorgeous at one time, but now I am feeling old and dumpy. 

·      Physically okay, but didn’t know how to breathe correctly at Santiago’s directions.

·      Amazed that Santiago found such deep points that are painful to touch. 

·      Appreciate Santiago’s quiet, yet firm approach. 

·      Immediately after the treatment I am acutely aware of my posture. 

·      I am now aware of information about myself and my body, and how I lean more on my right side. 

Well, I will monitor myself tonight and tomorrow for more information about my response to Rolfing.

C2 – Response to treatment

My first Rolfing session went well.

Santiago is professional and knowledgeable. He assessed my posture and balance before he began the treatment. I could tell he is committed to helping his clients. I was prepared for painful manipulations but I experienced little discomfort. Afterwards I was relaxed and refreshed. I feel my balance is improved and my posture is improved. I have no soreness and I slept well.

I believe my neck issue will be corrected as Santiago advances his treatments.

Session 2 helps give the body a stable foundation by balancing the foot and muscles of the lower leg.

Treatment 2

C1 – Response to treatment

My reflections on Treatment Two

·      The treatment was a bit deeper and a bit more painful; however, not unbearable.

·      Actually, the deep tissue work seems – briefly – to ease a bit stress – too bad that I’ve come into this treatment with some mental and emotional stress which has affected my physical being.

·      My neck still feels tight, knotted, and limited.

·      For some reason, or another I didn’t realize that I would have to have an active part in the Rolfing process. 

·      I have mixed thoughts on this process, as I have only experienced the therapist doing the work, while I drifted off into “la la land.” Maybe that is why I didn’t particularly like Pilates because it requires work. Geez, I am not a lazy person – but I am a bit mentally and emotionally tired – thus, the effect is not having physical vigour.

·      Just before the treatment started, I had several episodes of “charley-horses,” which is another name for muscle spasm  – in my toes.

·      When Santiago worked on my right foot and lower leg, at times the pressure and/or pain seemed to register in my right lower back and hip. Again, not unbearable, but noticeable.

·      Yet, when he worked on my left foot and lower leg, the pressure (no pain) register in my left cheek area – symptom of a muscle tremor.

·      Walking home from the treatment, I was acutely aware of walking with my center core, and not with my hips alone – definitely, not with the knees. The walk was a bit arduous – but I felt more regal. Interesting.

Well, I look forward to Treatment Three. Hoping that my body will have a “Eureka Moment.”



The follow day we received this message…

Dear Mandy and Santiago,

WOW! This morning, although ever slight, I noticed that I have more range of motion in my neck-to-shoulder area. Quite happy about this discovery!

C2 – Response to treatment

Today Santiago began working on my lower extremities, to correct my feet. It was an interesting and methodical procedure.

Of course, before starting, he analyzed the way I stand and the geometry of my feet. I think I “duck walk.” So, he set about to make the placement of my feet parallel. After his treatment, first on the left, then the right, he had me stand and walk. I was amazed at how things changed after this treatment. It took a moment to adjust to the changes in my balances. In the beginning I thought there changes would be gradual – perhaps imperceptible. However, I feel we are making rapid progress. I am looking forward to session number three, two days from now.


Session 3 generally involves a “side view” for an understanding of how the head, shoulder girdle, and hips are positioned and how they related to one another when standing under the influence of gravity.

C1 – Response to treatment

Good Afternoon Mandy and Santiago,

Simple report today

  • Treatment 3, Santiago manipulated the area around the rib cage.
  • Although the manipulation around the waist area hurt a bit, the results was rewarding, as I felt as if the blood flow had free passage to my brain – ha ha, the brain needs aerated blood – makes for clearer thoughts.
  • The interesting premise of Rolfing is each treatment focuses on one part of the body, in contrast to a deep tissue massage that covers the entire body in a 45 to 60 minute session. Thus, I am not sure I grasp the concept of the Rolfing segmented approach because I wonder if the un-manipulated parts of the body have a more negative effect on the treated area; or does the manipulated parts of the body have a more positive effect on the un-treated area. Hmm.
  • Well. I look forward to Treatment 4.
  • Santiago recognizes the points in the body that are knotted. He’s a holistic practitioner.

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts.

From the team


I think your thoughts are very profound actually.

That being…the un-manipulated parts of the body are just that…untouched by the regular practitioner.

And with good reason.  It takes a specialist to manipulate these areas and they do not need it often.  

As we discussed, a few times in your lifetime.  

It is a unique and profound moment for your body to realign and heal itself.

Thus the profound changes.  

Thank you Santiago for your professionalism.

Thank you for trusting us as a team.


Next post we delve into the core as our clients progress through the Rolfing® Ten Series with sessions 4 – 7 and share their insights with us.


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