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  • Elias Limberopoulos

Rolfing® for Fibromyalgia


Millions of people around the world suffer from fibromyalgia. Finding relief from pain, fatigue, stress, depression, and other symptoms can be challenging. Medication and talk therapy are often prescribed, but there could be a promising option in your area you need to know about, Rolfing® Structural Integration.


While you may have heard of Rolfing from a friend or health professional, it is an excellent option for pain-relief, stress-relief, and relaxation. Rolfing’s benefits are clear through the research for those experiencing a variety of painful disorders and chronic stress.

How Does Rolfing Work?

Through hands-on manual therapy, Rolfing addresses a type of connective tissue in the body known as fascia. Fascia surrounds and permeates our muscles, bones, tendons, organs and ligaments, and it is responsible for giving our body it is shape and structure. When fascia is healthy, we are free, flexible, fluid, mobile, pain-free and have little to no challenges performing day to day activities. When fascia is unhealthy, we feel stuck, tight, tense, achy and there is no amount of stretching, massage or other treatments that give us relief for more than a day or two.


To correct strain and misalignments, a Rolfers use mild, direct pressure to melt or release fascial holdings and allow the body to find health through the re-establishment of balance. It is currently believed that the slow, deep strokes of Rolfing SI stimulate intra-fascial mechanoreceptors (sensory neurons of the muscle nerve), which in turn trigger the nervous system to reduce the tension of the related muscles and fascia.


Put another way, Rolfing SI allows the brain and nervous system to “re-boot” areas of the body that are receiving too much electrical stimulation (chronically tight or sore muscles). Once a healthy level of muscle contraction is established, the person’s entire structure is free to express a pain-free form. Clients feel deeply relaxed when they have this done. They leave their session feeling taller, lighter, free, flexible, mobile, and often say things like, “I feel balanced, whole, connected, amazing, integrated, organized, and new.” They feel like they have a new body and a new outlook.


Rolfing May Help People with Fibromyalgia Unplug from the Pain

According to the Mayo Clinic, it is not clear what causes fibromyalgia, but experts believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. The changes include higher-than-normal levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain. It is also believed that the pain receptors in the brains of people with fibromyalgia become more sensitive and react more strongly to pain signals.


People with fibromyalgia have pain in the connective tissue and this can be debilitating. In my office, it is quite common to see clients who have migrating aches and pains or pain all over and even a few ounces of pressure brings significant discomfort. A Rolfer works to a client’s comfort level to alleviate accumulated strain in the different parts of the body. Clients are also surprised that relieving certain parts of the body have pain-relief and balancing effects on the rest of the body. This is where clients experience the magic of Rolfing followed by the post-Rolfing session smile, laughter and often times a tear.


What is the Evidence Supporting Rolfings Benefits?

Research on Rolfing has demonstrated significant relief for those suffering from a variety of painful conditions. It also shows significant changes in body structure and reducing chronic stress. In general, manual therapy is well documented to reduce stress hormones and increase endorphins, our bodies painkilling, feel good neurotransmitters. Research has also demonstrated that Rolfing creates a more efficient use of the muscles, allows the body to conserve energy, and creates more economical and refined patterns of movement. This explains why clients feel like they have a new body. They feel lighter and move with more ease and less effort.


Rolfing can be used as a complement to traditional therapies which means in addition to what your physician has suggested. While pain may not be eliminated entirely in a session, it can be significantly reduced or eliminated sustainably over a series of sessions or the Rolfing Ten Series. Most sessions last between 60-90 minutes and they are generally spaced 1-2 weeks apart and it suggested no more than 6 months to complete the entire series. When clients present certain conditions in my office, they may sometimes experience a gradual improvement with 2 steps forward, 1 step back type of progress and others have transformational experiences. At the very least, if it doesn't provide you with anything, you walk away knowing you were taking an action to solve your challenge.


Thanks for tuning into this post. If you want to hear more about different topics on health, wellness, and bodywork, send me a message. If you have any questions, you can reach out and I will be happy to answer them. If you are interested in a Rolfing session, sessions are available at one of several locations in the Chicagoland area. Call for an appointment.


To your health 😊

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Rolfing®, Rolfer™, Rolf Movement® and the Little Boy Logo are service marks of  the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute™ (formerly known as The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration®), in Boulder, CO.

© 2020 by Elias Limberopoulos, Certified Rolfer