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Rolfing is a "form of bodywork" that "enables the body to regain the natural integrity of its form" and can "dramatically alter a person's posture and structure", according to http://www.rolf.org/about.

Much of the language they use to describe it is also used by proponents of what I consider to be scams (homeopathy, for example). Thus, while I'm sure that Rolfing has some positive benefits (most people react positively to massages and the like) I'm skeptical about their claims on posture specifically.

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    Sounds like pure advertising The term "Rolfing" is the nickname that many clients and practitioners give this work. It is now a registered service mark in 38 countries. – bummi Jun 19 '13 at 21:17
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    How does rolfing relate to rofling? – Flimzy Jun 20 '13 at 2:43
  • @Flimzy I tend to ROFL when people think things like rolfing actually do anything except fill the pockets of the people selling it... – jwenting Jun 20 '13 at 9:18
  • @bummi: At first I thought you were accusing me of advertising :P – SharpHawk Jun 20 '13 at 13:51
  • Looks like its a style of deep tissue massage which would likely have similar results and then tacks on all the vague unregulated claims it can to cure everything from toothaches to cancer. – Ryathal Jun 20 '13 at 17:32
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There is no evidence to support that rolfing alters posture.

Evidence for clinical effectiveness and hypothesized mechanisms is severely limited by small sample sizes and absence of control arms. In view of the rapidly increasing availability of SI and its use for treatment of musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, more adequate research in warranted [1].

There is a study that claims rolfing can improve active motion range and decrease pain. However it was made on rather small group (31 patients):

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of rolfing structural integration (RSI) in neck motion and pain levels of 31 subjects who received RSI. RSI is a type of therapy that focuses on aligning the human body with gravity. ... This investigation demonstrates that the basic 10 sessions of RSI, when applied by a physical therapist with advanced RSI certification, is capable of significantly decreasing pain and increasing AROM in adult subjects, male and female, with complaints of cervical spine dysfunction regardless of age [2].


References:

  1. Eric Jacobson. Structural Integration, an Alternative Method of Manual Therapy and Sensorimotor Education. J Altern Complement Med. Oct 2011; 17(10): 891–899. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0258

  2. James H, Castaneda L, Miller ME, Findley T. Rolfing structural integration treatment of cervical spine dysfunction. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2009 Jul;13(3):229-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

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