Pain – how Rolfing can help

Pain Therapy - Rolfing

Pain, especially if it is chronic, will change our posture. But it will also result in tissue adaptation. The dissolution of the resulting tension and posture changes is a core area of ​​Rolfing. That is why Rolfing © can be used as a pain therapy. Here are 4 areas to be set out.

  1. What is pain, what has changed in research?
  2. How can I deal better with it?
  3. What effect does Rolfing have as a pain therapy
  4. Which supplements in manual therapy are useful?

Pain – Some Important Background

Why we are so often wrong with pain

The question “What is pain?” mehr lesen

seems almost too trivial to really ask. After all, we all know what pain is and thus skip a clarifying definition. We also neglect that our attitude to pain has changed radically in the last few decades.

In the post-war period, the opinion prevailed that there is harm, but you can not do much there. So it was called “ass cheeks together and through”. The walk to the dentist was perhaps cheerfully accompanied by “heroes do not know pain”. Agony was just part of life, and the older one was, the more one had.

Today we know that one can deal with pain “smarter” and expect that anything aching should be avoided. Our world has become less painful for us – and that’s a good thing. However, there are newer insights that can help us deal with agony more intelligently. More about it. [/ Read]


Pain is more than a stimulus

Pain - like barking dog of health
Pain – the barking dogs of health

But first back to the question of “What is pain?”. For the answer to this question will also influence our way of dealing with it and our attitude to it. With the discovery of different sensors and receptors in the body, people believed that hurt was irritation of these receptors, the so-called noziceptrors. Thus, the agony was classified into the other senses. Just as we see in the eye via specialized receptors, we experience pain via these pain-receptors. Without an eye no vision, without a pain-receptor no pain – this was our conviction. This simplifying point of view is considered outdated!

The current definition

In ancient times pain was not seen as a sensory impression, but as a feeling and passion that can accompany every sensory impression (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling). We return to this view in modern research.

Consequently, pain stands for our judgment that something is potentially wrong. Or, as the
International Association for Study of Pain has defined it, pain is an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage. I.e., pain is a process in our brain! In other words, it cannot be reduced to the stimulation of its receptors.


Pain – the barking dog of our health

When we compare pain to our dog’s barking, our judgement of what we hear is critical. Our dog barks

  • because he hunts rabbits in his sleep?
  • he’s chasing the cat out of the stable?
  • because there’s an intruder in the yard?
  • or even though we’ve screamed “rest” 10 times so we can finally sleep?

This means that our assessment and our own condition shifts the importance of barking from “not worthy of note” to “alert”.

Pain – what we can do

A revised set of instructions to all of us

Pain is a warning to its driver
Pain = There is a potential danger

What does that mean in practical terms for us? mehr lesen

When we slide on wet leaves in autumn and “stupidly” come up with our foot and shoot a stabbing pain into our ankle, then the information is initially “only”: there is something potentially wrong down there. And now it depends on our own attitude if and how we deal with this “hint”.

  • We test slowly and carefully our foot under load – nothing broken, carries my weight?
  • Then we slowly bob back and forth – are movements possible in all directions?

We do this in order to give the loud “Hello, what’s going on?” of our brain reassuring answers, not to question trust in the foot at all.

And yes, it’s all right! We can go on with our usual gait! The leaves have just gone well.

After some discussion with us, our brain has come to the best possible conclusion: wet leaves are slippery – better avoid them today.

Back again to the old way of thinking

Out of sheer venom, let us imagine an alternative reaction. We stop petrified and pull out our smartphone to google for a quick answer. There we just type in “piercing ankle pain” in the search. After that we probably see ourselves with an artificial ankle joint, we call a taxi, call in sick for the next two days and calm the foot down. We now have a lot of time to really inform ourselves on several internet forums. This makes us even more worried because of the many horror stories and messed up ways of suffering. That is, at the first “request,” our brain not only receives no reassuring answers as in the first case but scary information, resulting in louder demands, i. Can cause pain. [/ Read]

What can Rolfing do as pain therapy?

pain therapy - holistic approach in Rolfing
Pain are like folds in a tablecloth

Pain leaves traces, at first only in our posture, later also in our tissue. As in a tablecloth, which at first is only crumpled by chance, but whose folds solidify more and more over the course of time and thus give the surface a new shape.

The Rolfing system does not believe that there is the one, all-dissolving technique and that the body can then create a wrinkle-free tissue out of itself. Rather, it is a matter of systematically smoothing out “folds” and relaxing sharp edges. This is to be taken quite literally. A trained hand can detect tensions very precisely and release these tensions. The sensitivity of the hand is crucial to feel the depth and direction and only from this can a resolution take place. Many clients learn that this tension has a very concrete spread in their own bodies, just like a crease in a knotted cloth. The resolution can then signal to the brain that this compensation is no longer needed.

Fascia – Memories of our Attitudes

If tension and pain persist for a very long time in our body, then we change our movement pattern around this agony on the one hand. On the other hand, they change our sensitivity, it is as if we are trying to hide this area. Healthy tissue will show some reactivity when touched, this may be a change in tension or a change in direction. (Because tissue cannot be moved equally well in all directions.)

A gentle release of tension creates the security needed to consider other movements at all and to normalize sensitivity. Clients report that their body feels numb in certain areas and that this numbness dissolves. From this follows one’s own body understanding of how this area can be re-integrated.

It also follows from this that pain therapy must not be painful! This corresponds to my understanding of Rolfing. The first step toward relief is often a rediscovery of well-being.

Which additions to classic Rolfing make sense

Rolfing is a fascia therapy which is able to dissolve tensions according to the tissue needs by changing the fascia tensions. In addition to the fascia system, there are two other very finely branched systems in our body: the nervous system and the blood vessel system.

All three systems are connected to each other and have a great influence on our tissue, especially in the case of pain. As a result, the muscles are less well supplied, which in turn leads to hurting tension. However, tension not only hinders the supply of tissue but also disturbs and irritates nerves.

A sensible combination is therefore:

  • Rolfing as fascia therapy
  • neuronal osteopathy and dermo neuro modulating, i.e. treatment of nerves
  • vascular osteopathy, i.e. treatment of blood vessels

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