Rolfing™ Structural Integration Versus Massage Therapy-Comparing Apples to Oranges

Massage therapy has long been a trusted treatment by athletes and medical providers as a way of reducing pain, promoting blood flow, and reducing tension. When people first hear about Rolfing Structural Integration, they mistakenly assume that it is simply a fancy name for common massage therapy. However, when you examine Rolfing versus massage therapy, you will find that these are two very different disciplines, and their goals and techniques are not at all one in the same.

Releasing Rhomboids and Scapula
(Photo Courtesy of the Rolf Institute)


How is Rolfing Different From Massage Therapy?

In a nutshell, standard massage therapy targets your muscles, while Rolfing targets your fascial system. Your fascia is the vast network of connective tissue that runs throughout your body, and it is what holds together your muscles, bones, and organs. If your fascia becomes shortened, thick or fibrous, it can throw your entire body out of alignment.  Rolfing is a process of deep tissue bodywork that corrects these problems, and Rolfing massage benefits include decreased pain, improved flexibility and mobility, improvement in physical performance, and a feeling of increased vitality. Professional athletes often utilize this technique, and find that when comparing sports massage versus Rolfing, they realize greater benefits from the latter. Rolfing returns that springy quality to your movements by correcting fascial problems, thereby boosting physical performance.

In addition to the different focus, Rolfing targets deeper tissues through more directed techniques. Many first-time clients ask, Is Rolfing massage painful?” This process, though sometimes intense, is not painful for the recipients. Also, unlike conventional massage therapy, the process of Rolfing unfolds over several sessions, and follows a clearly directed process for affecting change to your fascial structure. Once a basic Rolfing series has been completed, advanced session can target specific problems or goals.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, and would like to discover the benefits of Rolfing for your personal health, contact Certified Advanced Rolfer Bob Alonzi. With over two decades of experience as a Rolfing practitioner, he can show you why Rolfing may just be what your body needs to function at its very best.