Rolfing® and running

February 28, 2012

Exercise, Health, Rolfing

If you run, you need Rolfing. To experience running after Rolfing is to experience a new way of being that will add quality to your life.

by Deanna Melnychuk — 

You run to stay fit and to make sure your cardiovascular system is strong. You have the best running shoes, take supplements for high energy, and have an individualized diet and specialized training. So why are you exhausted after a run? Why do your muscles feel tight? Why does your ankle feel like you cannot put weight on it? Why are you limping afterward?

It may be that your vehicle of performance — your body — is not organized to achieve its optimal level of efficiency. What if it is actually working against your best efforts because of habitual patterns of movement? What can help change your body’s organization?

Rolfing brings fundamental changes in body structure through the connective tissue, which has a highly pliable quality. Connective tissues wrap and permeate all muscles, and connect muscle to bone and muscle to muscle. Through use, habit, injury and/or surgery, connective tissue can shorten, harden and thicken. Your body no longer responds fluidly when you run; the sensation is one of heaviness and having to push to achieve.

Through a series of 10 sessions, a Rolfer uses her hands, arms and elbows to stretch the shortened connective tissues back to normal length. The body spontaneously lines up — the legs are supported by the feet; the pelvis is centered atop the legs; the torso rides comfortably on the pelvis; and the neck and head are evenly balanced on the upper torso. When the body segments assume their normal position, an immediate improvement in function (not only running) is noticed.

Proper alignment ensures that the body glides along, rather than being pulled forward with each step. Each part performs its job more completely and easily because it is no longer compensating for deeply held internal imbalances. The bonus is that gravity works as a supportive and uplifting force throughout the body.

Some specific running benefits include optimal foot plant and push off as the feet hit the ground more squarely. Muscles are activated in an appropriate sequence to reinforce effective mechanical motion through the lower leg, knee, upper leg and pelvis. The gait length becomes more appropriate to body structure, eliminating over- or under-striding. Naturally, leg and foot fatigue are reduced as each component does only its right job in proper sequence.

When all the joints are lined up and working as effective shock absorbers, long-term structural deterioration that results from the percussive/compressive effects of running will be reduced. With less compensation taking place, there is a decreased potential for injury (shin splints, heel pain, fascial strain, stress fractures and tendon problems).

If you run, you need Rolfing. To experience running after Rolfing is to experience a new way of being that will add quality to your life.


Deanna Melnychuk, B.Sc., is a certified advanced Rolfer and Rolfing® movement practitioner, licensed massage therapist, Reiki master, cranioSacral therapist and reflexologist. 602-404-8685 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2009.

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