The Rolf Method of Structural Integration, often referred to as “Rolfing,” is a way of restructuring the body towards alignment for better organization and function.
The practitioner first looks at the client standing so that he or she can “see” what is going on in your body. This is a large part of the training, as “Rolfers” don’t just work on the muscles that are hurting or restricted. They look at your spine, bones, and how the body is relating to gravity for opportunities to create more alignment and balance.
The client then lies on a “table” and massage-like manual therapy is applied. The theory behind Rolfing is that if physical structure is improved, function is improved. In particular, more fluid function. This is particularly important for surfing. And it must be done holistically, not just in one area.
Many surfers, especially avid ones, have noticeable imbalances in their feet, knees, and standing posture from maintaining either a goofy or regular stance. This limits mobility in the hips, which is crucial for the sport. The imbalance also, if not addressed, can potentially translate into that person’s daily life and contribute to seemingly unrelated aches and pains.
Releasing the tightness and restriction in the hips is a key part of the Rolfing 10 Series, in which every muscle and bone is addressed. Many conditions and challenges, such as frozen shoulder, feet problems, knee, neck, back and hip pain…all commonly subside with this work.
Nathan Hedge (aka Hog) says, “I found that after a series of Rolfing sessions my body felt more in tune energy-wise and more aligned, which is paramount for good surfing technique. The more you can position your hips to be aligned with your shoulders centered over your surfboard, then ultimately your maneuvers will be bigger, more explosive and will throw more spray.”
Rolfing specifically helps an athlete improve function within his or her sport. It’s not just surfing…most sports require having the legs and hips working cohesively. Devin Taylor, Defensive End of the Detroit Lions (who gets work from Stolzoff Sportworks) says, “For me, Rolfing loosens up those areas that probably were never touched at any point during massages or lifting, stretching…or any other treatment.”
A lot of times, athletes in particular think that they have a weakness somewhere, and that is where the problem is coming from. Sometimes this is true. But many times, an area actually just needs to be released so that more balance can integrate into the body.