This article in the New York Times goes out of its way to stress the reputation of Rolfing® as being painful. It’s sort of a shame, since it seems like they only spoke with one practitioner, and I’ve watched a lot of excellent Rolfers do their work without any discomfort for the client at all. Some Rolfers lay it on pretty heavy, this is absolutely true, and I have been known to lean hard in order to try to get some change at times, but by and large, I find my clients are surprised at how NOT painful the experience is. It doesn’t have to hurt to get change to happen, and I am usually trying to find the easiest way to get movement, which is not to pin my client to the mat and watch them squirm.
I do like the way the article references the more metaphysical aspects of the process, even for the skeptical:
“Beau Buffier, a 35-year-old partner at a corporate law firm in New York, says he started Rolfing treatments after he injured his neck and shoulder in a fall. Despite three M.R.I.’s, surgery, physical therapy, a chiropractor, acupuncture and deep massage, the pain remained. Stress from his high-stakes job didn’t help.
But somehow Rolfing did the trick. “It’s dealing with the physical manifestations of something that’s kind of emotional or spiritual,” Mr. Buffier said.”
It’s pretty great when you can give someone the visceral experience of recognizing the mysterious ties between body, spirit, and mind, and have them report as much to the New York Times, and, really, it’s pretty great that there is mainstream media coverage for this truly helping profession.