Rolfing™ and forward, rounded shoulders

As the Rolfer™ uses her hands and elbows to lengthen the connective tissue, the client’s body responds by standing more upright.

by Deanna Melnychuk — 

Does this describe your posture — forward, rounded shoulders? Our culture seems to be producing children and young adults with this condition, which they will often take into their adult lives, creating misalignments in their body structures.

Backpacks carried to school by 6-year-olds may not be heavy. However, take a look at your 10- or 11-year-old child/grandchild. After years of carrying backpacks, which get progressively heavier, the child’s shoulders likely have rounded forward. Does it change when he goes to college? No — same problem, same result.

When the student gets to school or the graduate goes to work, he will undoubtedly sit at a desk with a computer. In his eagerness to do good work, he will hunch his shoulders forward. Now, not only are his shoulders rounded, but his head and neck are held forward so that he begins to look like Ichabod Crane.

When he returns home, he immediately goes to his computer to check e-mail and Facebook, and then plays an online game or two. Soon — too soon — the shoulders are in a permanent forward hold, and the rest of his body has gradually changed as well — perhaps a sway back and hyper-extended knees, perhaps knock knees and forward-tilting hips. You can be sure that when one part of our body goes out of alignment, another part will follow. And usually discomfort follows as joints are stretched or compressed.

So how do we correct these misalignments in adults and prevent them in children? Investigate the 10 sessions of Rolfing Structural Integration™. Each session builds on the previous one to create a foundation upon which to realign the shoulders and head. The sessions last between 75 and 90 minutes and are usually done once every one to three weeks.

As the Rolfer™ uses her hands and elbows to lengthen the connective tissue, the client’s body responds by standing more upright. This change will endure because the restrictions that caused the shortening and thickening of the tissues have been removed. The client is also educated on new ways of standing, walking and sitting, which ensures positive change. Tune-ups are recommended every six months to a year (or sooner), depending on one’s lifestyle.

Do not bring your rounded childhood shoulders into adulthood. You can effect permanent change, and that way is through Rolfing.


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 29, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2010.

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