Healthy Beginnings

The Rolfing Solution to Muscular Adhesions: Finding the Source of Stiffness, ROM Restriction and Chronic Pain


Inflexibility, chronically sore neck, back or shoulders, range of motion restrictions and loss of strength and nerve impingements all have a common cause: adhesions in the connective tissue.

Rolfing is the deepest of all bodywork therapies and is unique in that it is one of the few therapies that focuses its treatment on the underlying fascia layers. Developed by biochemist Dr. Ida P. Rolf in the 1940s, Rolfing has grown over the decades to become respected as perhaps the most effective therapy for solving chronic problems and pain.

As a Rolfer for 17 years, what I have witnessed regarding the power of Rolfing is extraordinary. In my practice alone I have seen Rolfing consistently eliminate the need for back surgery, carpal tunnel and thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in hundreds of cases. I have seen dramatic improvements in clients’ pain levels, flexibility and postural balance. Rolfing dramatically improves performance in athletes, advances yoga practices by years and reduces or eliminates the need for pain medications.

The unfortunate fact is, however, that I am usually the very last person someone comes to see for his or her treatment. Someone with an injury or back pain, for example, is likely to first go see their medical doctor who likely recommends anti- inflammatories and possibly physical therapy. Physical therapy increasingly over the years has resorted to gizmos, electrical stim, ultrasound and repetitive exercises, for its therapy and does very little hands-on work anymore.

When patients get little relief, they are often blamed for not following their tedious exercises.

Next they try massage therapy, while massage is a very effective therapy for muscular pain, massage therapists are not specifically trained in working with the fascia, which is usually where the real underlying problem lies. Next, a patient who hasn’t improved will often move on to acupuncture. Again, another very effective therapy, but its specialty is the energies of the body, not the fascia. Only then, after likely spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars, does someone decide to try Rolfing.

I like to say that when you have a plumbing problem you don’t call a carpenter. When you have myofascial problems in the body you need a myofascial specialist, and that is a Rolfer. Decades-old pain, stiffness and range of motion restrictions can be eliminated by the deep intensive therapy of Rolfing. Immediate relief can be experienced from the first session, and even an old injury can be permanently healed in a small handful of treatments. Rolfing is intense, but it is not overtly painful, it feels more like the “hurts so good” feeling when a treatment is focused on the right spot.

Over time, Ida Rolf developed a series of sessions, known as the 10 series, for a complete body overhaul and realignment. This 10 series is what Rolfing is most famous for, as the holistic basis leaves people feeling decades younger. It is a process everyone should go through every 5-10 years in life to remove all the twists, strains and misalignments that form over time and to keep feeling limber, young and pain free.

Joe Dunkley has been a practicing Rolfer for 17 years, working with top athletes in the golf world, working with iron men, runners and bikers, as well as working with sports medicine doctors, business leaders of Fortune 100 companies and the state of Colorado. For more information, call 775-737-2249 or visit