Getting Rolfing right

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2001

I am writing to clear up some misunderstandings about Rolfing that may have resulted from the article on massage that appeared in the Nov. 27 issue of your newspaper.

Rolfing is a trademark-protected name for a special type of bodywork that structurally integrates the body by retraining connective tissue, similar to the way chiropractic care realigns bones so the body can move in a more functional way. Rolfing is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a relaxing spa technique, but rather is a healing art; which explains why the vast majority of 1,400 certified Rolfers practicing across the world do so in healing centers, not in gyms and spas. Legally, only certified Rolfers - people who have been trained at one of the four Rolf Institutes worldwide and have been board certified - may call himself or herself a Rolfer and practice the techniques.

Your article described Dr. Ida Rolf, who developed the Rolfing techniques, as a physical therapist. Actually, she held a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University.

Another potential misunderstanding I'd like to diffuse is that Rolfing is exclusively used to treat sport injuries.

As the only full-time certified Rolfer in Juneau, I feel a special responsibility to my clients and the public at large to clarify any misrepresentations of Rolfing because it is so much more than a "feel good" massage. It is a healing art.

Jenisse Markham

Certified Rolfer


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