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Massage vs. Rolfing - Is there much difference?

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  • Massage vs. Rolfing - Is there much difference?

    My horse currently gets a full body massage every six weeks by a certified equine massage therapist. Someone from my barn is having a person come to the barn who specializes in rolfing and I was considering in having her work on my horse.

    My horse is currently worked on the flat in dressage training 3x a week and in jumping training 2x a week, so I want to make sure she feels good and her body stays healthy.

    Is there much difference between rolfing and massage? I'm happy with the massage therapist I use as she is very thorough and works on my horse for over an hour. I was just curious to see if rolfing would be an added benefit or overkill.

    Thanks!
    Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
    http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
    http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

  • #2
    Can't speak for the horse--but for myself, Rolfing was *waaay* different.
    And very beneficial.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

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    • #3
      from the ingnorant, what is "rolfing"?
      Memebr of Charlie Horse Riding Club.

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      • #4
        Rolfing is the name of one of the one of the schools of thought/training of Structural Integation, which is a form of bodywork that is under the jurisdicition of massage therapy lisc. boards.

        I'm sorry.. I'm too tired and brain fried tonight to try and explain structural integration.. feel free to check it out on massagetherapy.com

        "Massage Therapy" is a very wide umbrella term for lots of various forms of bodywork.

        Rolfing is very different from most sports massage, but then it depends on the therapist providing the treatment and their area of training and expertise.

        * I am too lazy and tired to download iepell thinging to check my spelling and catch all my typos.. spelling haters.. I. Do. Not. Care tonight.*
        If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Daisey-Bogie View Post
          from the ingnorant, what is "rolfing"?
          Here is a link from an article in Practical Horseman:

          http://www.healingthehorse.com/artic...tical-horseman



          The gal mentioned in the article is the person coming to our barn.
          Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
          http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
          http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

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          • #6
            Have you ever had a rolfing session? I have - the bodywork guy who does the horses also has an in-town practice for people.

            massage (esp. deep tissue) to me feels GOOD. Rolfing does not. It can be painful, and the next day i could barely breathe - I hurt so badly. The horses can be pretty sore the next few days, too, esp. if it's their first time. Be prepared to give them a few days off to recover from a session. I found that it helped my gelding far more than a massage session would.
            "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

            So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

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            • #7
              Ditto...structural integration is generally considered painful - I was unaware anyone was doing it on horses, and thought it unlikely for this reason. Thanks for the links. :-)
              HR/MPL Clique

              "I am villifying you - for God's sake, pay attention!" - Peter O'Toole as Henry II, The Lion in Winter

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              • #8
                a friend of mine had been getting therapy involving rolfing a few years ago. he really thinks it helped him. I would give it a try and see what you think.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've done the full Rolfing program, ten sessions that build on each other. Unlike massage therapy that can at least make you feel good temporarily, one or two Rolfing sessions will not do anything and are just a waste of money so you have to commit to the whole thing. In general, I liked the way it "put everything back in place" and straightened me out -- however, the effects only lasted about six months. I find that I get more out of a monthly adjustment by my chiropractor (and it's A LOT cheaper...)

                  With that said, I cannot imagine how Rolfing would work on equines. Unless you sedate a horse, it would most likely not tolerate most of the work being done. I also don't understand how the Rolfer can physically work with the horse and manipulate limbs as it is so large, cannot lay on its side or back, follow instruction, etc. I would love to observe a session and hear their explanations. Rolfing was "invented" for humans and while there may be parts that can translate, I wouldn't let anyone do it on my own horse, to be honest.

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                  • #10
                    Equine Movement Series

                    This work is also beneficial for riders as well. It helps us as riders have a better connection through our bodies as well as be more balanced. If we are more balanced in our riding that allows for our horses to be more balanced. This helps them stay healthier as a result. Here is a link with more about how rolfers can help riders; Rolfing SIwww.equinemovement.com

                    Thank you,

                    Lauren




                    Originally posted by jenm View Post
                    My horse currently gets a full body massage every six weeks by a certified equine massage therapist. Someone from my barn is having a person come to the barn who specializes in rolfing and I was considering in having her work on my horse.

                    My horse is currently worked on the flat in dressage training 3x a week and in jumping training 2x a week, so I want to make sure she feels good and her body stays healthy.

                    Is there much difference between rolfing and massage? I'm happy with the massage therapist I use as she is very thorough and works on my horse for over an hour. I was just curious to see if rolfing would be an added benefit or overkill.

                    Thanks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This IS interesting - I hope the thread continues....
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                      • #12
                        Big Difference Between Rolfing and General Massage

                        Rolfing, or myofascial release, works on a much deeper level than a basic massage. Rolfing is about releasing any bunching or rippling in the fascia, balancing the body. Rolfing addresses posture, physical therapy, movement, seeing how each joint is affecting the rest of the body.
                        Hope that's helpful. It's a lot easier for me to do it than to explain it!
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                        • #13
                          Is Rolfing and myofascial relaease the same ? I thought Rolf was more postural.
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                          • #14
                            I am about to begin 10 sessions of (human) Rolfing. I'm a re-rider with a lot of previous (non-equestrian) injuries, including both ACLs reconstructed more than 15 years ago. I've struggled (painfully) with 2-point, with stepping out to the left to get my change, with generally just being crooked, with so much tightness that I wonder if my left heel will ever be able to drop down ...

                            I have done some laser therapy and ART with a chiro, but I feel like my results with those treatments have plateaued. With all of these one-sidedness problems, I am hoping Rolfing will help me begin to better tackle these problems in the saddle.

                            Does anyone have any tips for my Rolfer to help her better understand my equestrian goals as she creates a treatment plan for me? Along the lines of translating equestrian speak to Rolfer speak ...?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lisa327 View Post
                              I am about to begin 10 sessions of (human) Rolfing. I'm a re-rider with a lot of previous (non-equestrian) injuries, including both ACLs reconstructed more than 15 years ago. I've struggled (painfully) with 2-point, with stepping out to the left to get my change, with generally just being crooked, with so much tightness that I wonder if my left heel will ever be able to drop down ...

                              I have done some laser therapy and ART with a chiro, but I feel like my results with those treatments have plateaued. With all of these one-sidedness problems, I am hoping Rolfing will help me begin to better tackle these problems in the saddle.

                              Does anyone have any tips for my Rolfer to help her better understand my equestrian goals as she creates a treatment plan for me? Along the lines of translating equestrian speak to Rolfer speak ...?
                              I've been going to a myofascial trigger point therapist (similar to Rolfing, if not identical) for years, now--she knows I'm a rider (and, um, blames that for many of my "issues". I am FULL of tight, painful trigger points, many in my hips and legs and especially my lower back, which is a mess. I'm working with a new chiro who is *really* helping me; it makes me feel as though my old chiro was just shining me on for years and years, doing the same old things without addressing the underlying problems , OY what a waste of money!)

                              Anyway, there are "tight spots" in most riders, usually the piriformis, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, hip flexors, psoas, hamstrings, and in my case--the quadratus lumborum--as well as the erector spinae.

                              Loosening these tight muscles HURTS LIKE A BITCH, so be prepared to take something (pain killer, muscle relaxant) before going in; if you are unable to bear the pressure because of the pain, the practitioner won't be able to get as deep.

                              It really DOES help, but it helps more if you can go more often--especially at first. I can only afford to go once every 3 weeks

                              My assumption WRT the equine version is that it's more "directed deep tissue" as opposed to myofascial trigger point--so horses can probably tolerate it (depending on how much of a chestnut TB mare they are )
                              "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                              "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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                              • #16
                                is different from massage because it is looking at the horse to see where the tissue is out of alignment and then assisting in realigning it. Realigning the tissue it helps the horse move in more fluid and graceful way by removing restrictions in the tissue. Structural Integration removes the compensations or patterns that have formed in the horse's body due to the stresses of life. It is also very helpful for scar tissue." I will disagree with the bolded portion, because the statements made apply to all sports massage techniques -- again, massage defined broadly as a soft-tissue-focused therapy.

                                Massage therapists may be trained in one, two or many specific techniques. Most of us gravitate toward a couple that we have a particular affinity for and that will form the foundation of our work.
                                Equinox Equine Massage

                                In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                                -Albert Camus

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