The Dynamic Duo: Rolfing & Pilates

Side Stretch

Do you ever feel like your body is out of alignment from sitting at a desk all day or from excessive commuting in a car or airplane? Maybe you are an athlete who is training for the next race or competition and are putting a lot of mileage on your feet, knees, hips, and back. Whatever your daily lifestyle is – highly active or very sedentary, you should learn more about Rolfing. Over the last few months I’ve been going to Frank Epstein in Des Moines for Rolfing and private Pilates sessions. Here is a little Q&A I did recently with Frank of Rolf Method Bodywork in Des Moines.

Q: Many people are familiar with deep tissue massage and chiropractic care.  How would you distinguish Rolfing from these more common forms of bodywork? 

A: The overall concept of Rolfing is different from both with its focus on the fascia. From a Rolfing perspective, the fascia is believed to be the determiner of form and support in the body. Rolfing integrates a person’s structure with inside-outside balance through working the myofascial system with a certain intent and direction and along the way, symptoms of pain are often alleviated. Rolfing 1

Q: Who would benefit from Rolfing?

A: Most people that are going to massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and other aligned health care practitioners would benefit from Rolfing. Since there are relatively few practitioners, the practice is not well known to the general public. I work with people from all walks of life –  from elite athletes to desk bound office workers, from young to old and in shape to not in shape; each looking for help from their unique situation. I find from my experience that each progress in their own way and benefit from the work in an ongoing fashion with increased kinesthetic awareness that they take with them long after the session is over.

Q: What should someone expect during their first Rolfing session?

A: That they are in control of depth and I rely on their ongoing feedback throughout the session. There is a lot of misinformation about Rolfing and I find that people often form their opinions by others that have never experienced this work. It is experientially based and so by trying a session one knows if this kind of work resonates with them and what they were looking for- to resolve soreness in a hip, knee, ankle, overall pain in general etc. or better performance in athletic endeavors. Rolfing 2

Q: Explain how Rolfing and Pilates complement each other.

Pilates develops strong core muscles and in some important ways gives movement expression to what the Rolfing bodywork is about. Since I am often already familiar with a person by doing the Rolfing I know what areas are in the greatest need of more concentrated attention on the Pilates equipment. Pilates and Rolfing are great at developing kinesthetic awareness in different but complementary ways. Most people have both hypo-toned and hyper-toned areas in their body. I can help relax the hyper-toned areas through the Rolfing bodywork and help them with their hypo-toned areas with the Pilates equipment work we do with specific coordinated movements. Leg StretchWhile I don’t suffer from any chronic pain, the Rolfing sessions have helped get me a bit more balanced from side to side. Having been a mat Pilates instructor and participant for over five years, it wasn’t until I got on the equipment at Frank’s that I realized my imbalances with one hip being quite a bit tighter than the other. Whether you’re looking to alleviate pain, perform your best in athletic competition, or just find a bit more balance in your body, I recommend you contact Frank to set up a consultation. To contact Frank or learn more about his services, click herePilates 1


  • danica003

    Pilates is one of the best ways to improve your health. In addition, it also helps in toning your muscles at the same time. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts on this matter.