Stress, Anxiety, and Chronic Pain: Rolfing® for Lasting Results
Updated: May 22
Many clients come to Rolfing after they feel they have exhausted all their options. Rolfing often carries lasting results because the emphasis of the work is to balance the connective tissue framework of the body addressing the causes of strain and pain rather than relieving symptoms. Relief is often immediate and when Rolfing is performed over a series of sessions as it is in the Ten Series, clients have a renewed outlook on their life. When you bring the body into better alignment, vitality and freedom of movement return and clients can experience a transformational shift which affects their mental and emotional well-being.
In my practice, stress, anxiety, and chronic pain often occur together. These symptoms produce a cycle that continues until an intervention like Rolfing is introduced offering simultaneous relief. While the goals of Rolfing are to improve the structure and function of the entire body, relief from stress, anxiety, and chronic pain are benefits or side effects of the work. The mind-body connection has taken many years to come into the mainstream, and holistic systems like Rolfing are here to stay. Clients are tired of being sick and tired and “a pill for every ill” is becoming obsolete and reserved only for acute health conditions.
What We Know About Fascia
In the early 20th century, fascia was largely ignored by the medical community. Dr. Rolf was onto something when she recognized fascia’s role for giving the body its shape and support structure. What we know now is that the nervous system is responsible for our movement/holding patterns, strain, and pain. When we're emotionally stressed, a signaling molecule known as TGF is released making it the culprit in causing fascia to contract making us feel like we have tense muscles when in fact it is the connective tissue that is holding the strain.
Fascia is highly innervated and communicates directly with the nervous system affecting other systems in our body like our hormonal, digestive and immune systems. Through touch work as performed in Rolfing, this communication produces varying sensations in the client which range from relaxing to slightly uncomfortable. Through a safe, supportive environment, clients can internally process unresolved emotional conflict through the physical sensations produced in the touch work. In various studies, manual therapy has been proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine offering relief from anxiety and pain.
When you add this to the fact clients are standing taller, feeling lighter and moving with freedom, a new confidence emerges breaking the old cycle of stress and pain. Combine Rolfing with self-care and you have a winning combination to beat out stress. Take a look at another post titled What is Self-care and Why Is It Important.
Thanks for tuning into this post. If you have any topics you would like me to write about related to manual therapy, health, and wellness, send me a message. Please feel free to share this with others. I am available if you have any questions. If you are interested in a Rolfing session, you can find me at one of my several locations in the Chicagoland area.