Certified Advanced Rolfer & Rolf Movement practitioner, Keith Graham, shares this interesting case study where he has helped a woman with arthritis.

Keith reports:

Phyllis first came to me in early 2014 for help with her arthritic hip pain, her main goal being to avoid the hip surgery that her medical consultant was recommending.

I initially took Phyllis through the first six sessions of the classic Rolfing ten series and then with some small improvement in her overall flexibility, my client decided to take a break. Six weeks later Phyllis resumed Rolfing treatments with me; she had decided that of all the therapies that she had tried, Rolfing had produced the best results.

We continued for another 13 sessions during which time, my overall goal was to keep the whole body aligned and balanced in gravity while continuing to gradually break down fascial layers in the pelvis and legs, using Rolfing connective tissue manipulation until I could reach the deep adhesions surrounding the hip joint.

One of the major challenges to overcome when someone has been in pain for a long time is habitual muscle tightening around the damaged joint. This is caused by the nervous system’s fight or flight response and I have found that a combination of MET (muscle energy techniques), Neuromodulation therapy and gentle Rolf Movement is very effective in calming this automatic response. The result was that Phyllis began to experience significantly less pain and a more normal range of movement of the femur in the hip joint.

Having made steady progress during this second series, the rate of improvement again reached a plateau.  At this point, it seemed sensible to take another break.

We resumed work in early 2015, and over the first few months of the year made several significant breakthroughs, with marked improvement in Phyllis’ range of movement and further reduction of pain levels.

This has been a very interesting and enlightening experience for me as a practitioner.  It has shown, as Ida Rolf demonstrated, that although for most, the classic ten hours of Rolfing can bring remarkable changes to alignment, range of movement and mental/emotional outlook, for clients with more complex issues, the method can still be effective but more time is needed.

Admittedly, this has been an exceptionally long treatment period taking perhaps 30 hours to achieve the desired results. Weighed against this however my client now has a better posture, is out of pain and has achieved her goal which was to avoid hip surgery.

I am enormously grateful to my client for her faith in both Rolfing and me, for her persistence and for her generous financial commitment to the process.

We are now working patiently with an arthritic shoulder, and with only occasional work on her hips, they remain pain-free and mobile.

For more information, contact Keith Graham at [email protected].  

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