How Rolfing® Structural Integration Differs from Physiotherapy

When faced with physical discomfort, individuals often encounter various approaches. Two distinct methods, Rolfing® Structural Integration and Physiotherapy, stand out for their unique approaches to promoting health.  

In this article we look at the differences between these two practices as identified by Certified Advanced Rolfers® Rebekah and David Frome: While Physiotherapy operates within the established medical framework, Rolfing takes a holistic path. 

Physiotherapy: Conventional Approach 

Physiotherapy proves to be a cornerstone in the conventional Western medical system. Physiotherapists seek to identify symptoms that impair the body functions of their clients.  

Their treatment plans are geared towards eliminating deficits, employing a variety of modalities such as heat and cold therapies, aqua gymnastics, manual manipulations, gait training, and therapeutic exercises. The field of Physiotherapy is extensive, encompassing not only musculoskeletal and neurological injuries but also addressing issues like dizziness, concussion, urinary incontinence, and more. 

Physiotherapists play a crucial role in providing comprehensive information to doctors about a patient's function and progress, possessing extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology. As Certified Rolfer® Lea Kabirschke wrote in her article, the fact that physiotherapists are bound by instructions can mean that they often only concentrate on the painful area in short treatments and possibly neglect the larger context. 

Rolfing: Holistic Approach 

In contrast, Rolfing® Structural Integration finds its place in complementary medicine. Rolfing involves movement education and manual manipulation of soft tissues to bring the entire body into a state of greater organisation and improve its relationship with gravity. 

The emphasis is on posture, alignment, and biomechanics by balancing tensions in the fascial network, a part of the connective tissue that provides structural support to the body.  

Rolfing is a process through which we can be liberated from physical baggage that is keeping us from living fully in the present.” 

- Rebekah and David Frome 

Rolfers are considered experts in assessing structural patterns and addressing underlying issues contributing to pain and injuries of the musculoskeletal system. Through this, Rolfing can alleviate chronic physical tension and have positive effects on a psychological level. 

Rolfing is a whole-body approach that often mitigates symptoms without making problems the focus of treatment.”

- Rebekah and David Frome 

Clients can breathe more deeply because their ribs and spine become more flexible as a result of Rolfing. Thanks to Rolfing, they develop more length, stability, and physical ease. 


Sources:

Certified Advanced Rolfers® and PTAs Rebekah and David Frome 

Certified Rolfer® Lea KabirschkeWarum nicht Osteopathie, Feldenkrais oder Physiotherapie? 

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