Rolfing…well worth it, but not as funny as it sounds!

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You meet all kinds of different people when doing endurance sports. A couple of weeks ago at a particularly tough ultra where I was performing the role of Sherpa for Stuart I met a fellow runner at an aid station late in the race. Being the super chatty person that I am it turned out that this runner, Jon, does the practice of Rolfing and his office is a block from mine. Small world, right?

So what is Rolfing? I had actually heard of this before because it has headquarters in Boulder, Colorado where I went to college. I had met some people who had gone through the process and all I could remember was how much they said it hurt. So when Jon offered me a chance to try it I wouldn’t say that I jumped at the offer right away. I watched a video and did a little research and actually thought this was something that might help me a lot.

Here is the description of Rolfing from Jon’s website:

“Rolf Structural Integration works to release these harmful patterns through manual manipulation of the fascia and joint mobilization. We are trying to re-structure the body and improve the alignment of the joints which supports the body’s vertical lift, one that isn’t held up by forcing a postural pose but rather it’s natural inclination toward balance.”

The reason this made so much sense to me stems from an experience I had after my first bike crash in 2012. I fell really hard on my ribs when I crash my bike; not too long after falling really hard on the same ribs while trail running. I was struggling to swim. I couldn’t pull in the water without pain. It was terrible. I went to a Physical Therapist to treat my ITB issues (I was a mess at the time) and told him about my ribs and bike crash and swimming. He performed some work on my ribs where he fairly aggressively massaged my rib cage to help break up the adhesions that had built up between my muscles and fascia. It was AMAZING! I could swim without pain that very night!

So I went to Jon this week. This is not your typical bodywork. I wouldn’t call it massage because it really doesn’t feel like work on your muscles. It can be a bit uncomfortable at times, but as soon as it is done you can feel the benefits right away. I immediately felt more mobility and range of motion especially in my ribs and shoulders (my newest issue from my most recent bike crash). I really like the philosophy of this type of bodywork because it feels like a holistic approach to re-organizing your body to make your more balanced and therefore stronger. Before he even touched me, he took a look at me overall and could immediately see clues in my posture and body that explained my aches and pains and issues I have, especially when running. I believe this will be a good addition to keeping my body in good shape as I work to attain my endurance goals.

If you are interested in Rolfing you can get more information at Jon’s website. He works in the Los Angeles area and I would highly recommend his work. It really helps to have a person working on your body who is also an endurance athlete and understand the sports you are participating in.

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3 comments

  1. This looks like something I’d endure to get rid of my tendon pain in my high hamstring/low glute. I go to active release therapy about once every couple of months. I walk away bruised and then it is good for a few months. I think it will be a chronic thing, but Rolfing might be something to look into 😉

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