Is Rolfing painful?

There’s a lot of con­fu­sion about Rolf­ing and painful work: Some peo­ple are wor­ried that Rolf­ing may be very painful. Oth­ers believe that only painful work is effec­tive work. (In 2010, The New York Times cov­ered Rolf­ing with the head­line “Rolf­ing, Excru­ci­at­ing­ly Help­ful”.)

Actu­al­ly, Rolf­ing can be very com­fort­able and remain very effec­tive. The con­tact cov­ers a very wide range, from very gen­tle to quite firm. Occa­sion­al­ly it can feel more intense, but ide­al­ly not beyond the intense-but-good feel­ing you might get when you stretch.

A skilled body­work­er should know that work­ing deeply doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly require firmer pres­sure, work­ing on the sur­face isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly light, and pain doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly cor­re­spond with either.

In fact, the more com­fort­able and able to par­tic­i­pate the client is, the bet­ter able the body is to incor­po­rate and coor­di­nate change. I do not work beyond a client’s com­fort lev­el in any respect.