The difference – Rolfing or massage

Rolfing - Berlin & Munich

Massages can be beautiful, deeply moving, reconcile you with the world, open you heart and be a feast for the senses. Especially the Esalen massage and the Lomi-Lomi-Nui massage. They can lift you to “Cloud Nine” and open the doors to the beauty of this world. They can show you that the world is not just about stress and work, but that sensuality and deep touching are part of life and make it rich.

Soft and flowing massages like the ones mentioned above lead the body into deep relaxation. The gentle, attentive touch can unfold a deeply harmonizing effect and awaken a feeling of contentment that reminds you of the security of childhood. If you go out into the world so full and balanced, smile at your surroundings with your self-confident and happy charisma and spread sunshine – then, yes, the world will smile back.

Finding the resting point

Rolfing® conveys a completely different body feeling than a massage. After the Rolfing session you will feel lightness paired with resilient stability. It is a feeling of “coming home”, of being centered and reaching the inner resting point.

The massage washes and combs the tissue. This creates the feeling of liberated space, which you perceive as an opening. Rolfing works on the global orientation of the tissue. The perception of interior and exterior space and the orientation in the room change as a result.

Rolfing balances the body in gravity. The feeling arises in your body that you are carried by the earth’s gravity.

The goal of Rolfing is the alignment of the physical structure in the vertical with the help of earth gravity. That is the special thing about Rolfing.


Related methods like Deep Tissue Work, Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Massage do not take up this knowledge about gravity. Dr. Ida Rolf observed that people feel “carried” by gravity when their body structure is balanced. On the other hand, he must “fight” against gravity if his structure is shifted or twisted. If this is the case, gravity “pulls” him deeper and deeper into the twisted pattern over the years. The consequences are chronic complaints in the musculoskeletal system, joint wear and restricted mobility.

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

The cougar feeling

A large part of the people in the western world no longer knows the feeling of being carried by gravity. It was lost to them. So they have to fight against gravity day after day, but gravity will always win in the long run. If, on the other hand, you look at the gait of an African water bearer, you can guess what it feels like to be carried by gravity. Rolfing wants to give you this feeling of balance again: to be completely connected to the body and to rest in it. After a Rolfing series, a client once reported that his body now felt as supple as that of a cougar.

In order to achieve this goal, Rolfing works with a variety of techniques, including massage, osteopathy and yoga. The special thing about Rolfing is that it only loosens the tissue at certain points and integrates the work into the body at the end of each session. As Dr. Ida Rolf liked to say: “Anyone can take things apart. Only a few know how to reassemble them”.

Integrating means balancing

The art of Rolfing means to integrate. Because when something is loosened during a massage, the body tends to fall back into the old pattern. It is the integration that balances the body in gravity. This happens in every Rolfing treatment. Step by step, treatment by treatment, a change occurs.

During the massage you lie passively on the couch and indulge yourself. During Rolfing you will be actively involved, not only on the couch but also in sitting and standing position. You will be asked to become aware of your posture, to explore habits, to move more relaxed and upright.

The Rolfing process is a form of growth through active sensory learning. The aim is for you to balance yourself independently in the end and no longer need a Rolfing practitioner.


Dr. Ida Rolf’s approach goes one step further: If your body is brought into balance, it can heal itself. Your symptoms will disappear by themselves and you will feel a significant increase in your quality of life.

“When the body begins to work properly again, the power of gravity can flow through it. Then it will heal itself spontaneously.” Dr. Ida Rolf

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.