Exploring the Benefits of Chiropractic and Rolfing for Structural Integration

Illustration of rolfing vs chiropractic.

Structural integration is a holistic approach to wellness that aims to improve posture, alignment, and overall well-being. It involves various techniques and methods, including chiropractic and Rolfing. While these two practices share some similarities, they also have distinct differences. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision about which approach is best for you.

Chiropractic and Rolfing: Understanding the Difference

1. Techniques

Chiropractic care primarily focuses on the spine and joints found within it. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation and adjustments to relieve pain, improve mobility, and enhance overall health. On the other hand, Rolfing, also known as structural integration, is a form of soft tissue manipulation that targets the body’s connective tissue, also known as fascia. Rolfing aims to restore balance, improve posture, and enhance body awareness.

2. Convenience

When it comes to convenience, chiropractic treatments are more readily accessible. Chiropractors are found in many healthcare clinics specializing in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal issues. On the other hand, Rolfing practitioners are more limited in number and often work independently or in alternative wellness centers.

3. Purpose and Benefits

Both chiropractic and Rolfing aim to improve overall structural integration and well-being. Chiropractic care can help alleviate various musculoskeletal issues, including chronic pain, headaches, and joint problems. It focuses on spinal alignment and nervous system function. Conversely, Rolfing works with the body’s connective tissue to improve posture, flexibility, and movement patterns. It can also help with chronic pain and enhance body awareness.

4. The Price

The cost of chiropractic care and Rolfing can vary depending on various factors such as location and practitioner experience. Generally, chiropractic care is covered by insurance, while Rolfing is considered alternative therapy and may not be covered. It is essential to check with your insurance provider and discuss payment options with the respective practitioners.

5. Frequency

Rolfing is invasive compared to other treatments. Therefore, it is not recommended to exceed attending two sessions per week. However, attending one session weekly is advisable until your muscles become accustomed to the manipulation.
It is recommended to undergo a complete Rolfing journey consisting of 10 sessions. These sessions will progress through the following stages:

  • Beginning the journey
  • The ground
  • The bridge
  • The core
  • Upward orientation
  • The back
  • Crowning
  • Sessions 8, 9, and 10 mark the journey’s conclusion, known as the closing.

Regarding chiropractic care, there is no fixed limit on the number of treatments you can receive. The key is not to surpass your body’s limits. Some individuals may experience discomfort for up to 48 hours after a session. Your trained practitioner will determine the frequency of your sessions and when it is necessary to take a break. 

6. The Aftercare

After receiving chiropractic care, it is often advised to continue with exercises and stretches at home to maintain the benefits of the treatment. Chiropractors may also recommend lifestyle changes and ergonomic adjustments to prevent recurring issues. In the case of Rolfing, clients are often given specific exercises and movement practices to support the changes made during the sessions. Developing body awareness and integrating these practices into daily life can help maintain the benefits of Rolfing.

Chiropractic Vs Rolfing: Making the Comparison

Comparing chiropractic and Rolfing can help you better understand which approach may be more suitable for you. Chiropractic care focuses on spinal alignment and joint manipulation and is often covered by insurance. It is an effective option for addressing specific musculoskeletal issues. Conversely, Rolfing works with the body’s connective tissue to improve posture, flexibility, and overall body awareness. While not covered by insurance, Rolfing offers a holistic approach to structural integration.

5 Facts About Structural Integration

What is Structural Integration Therapy?

1. Structural Integration is also known as “Rolfing.”

Structural integration is often referred to as Rolfing, named after Dr. Ida P. Rolf, who developed this method. Rolfing focuses on improving whole-body alignment and balance by working with the body’s connective tissues.

2. What is fascia?

Fascia is a complex web of connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, bones, and organs. It plays a crucial role in maintaining the body’s structural integrity. Structural integration aims to release tension and restrictions in the fascia to improve overall movement and posture.

3. Anyone can benefit from Structural Integration Therapy

Structural integration therapy is beneficial for people of all ages and backgrounds. It can help athletes enhance performance, individuals with chronic pain find relief, and anyone looking to improve their overall well-being and body awareness.

4. Structural Integration is more than a massage—it is a form of somatic bodywork

Unlike a traditional massage, structural integration is a hands-on, deep-tissue manipulation technique that works with the body’s connective tissues. It aims to reorganize and realign the body to improve posture, alleviate pain, and enhance movement efficiency.

5. Structural Integration is performed as a series of several sessions

Structural integration is typically done in a series of 10 to 12 sessions. Each session focuses on different areas of the body and provides a progressive approach to structural changes. The sessions are typically spaced apart to allow the body to adapt and integrate the changes made.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is chiropractic?

A: Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine.

Q: What is Rolfing?

A: Rolfing® is a form of manual therapy that aims to improve the alignment and functioning of the body’s structure by manipulating fascia or connective tissue.

Q: How does chiropractic differ from Rolfing?

A: While both chiropractic and Rolfing are manual therapies that can address musculoskeletal issues, chiropractic primarily focuses on the spine and joints. Rolfing works to realign the entire body and its fascial system.

Q: What conditions can chiropractic help with?

A: Chiropractic care can benefit many conditions, including back pain, neck pain, headaches, joint pain, and musculoskeletal injuries.

Q: What conditions can Rolfing® help with?

A: Rolfing® can help with various conditions, including chronic pain, postural imbalances, limited range of motion, and stress-related issues.

Q: Can Rolfing® be considered a type of massage therapy?

A: Rolfing involves hands-on manipulation of the body’s soft tissues, but it differs from traditional massage therapy. Rolfing focuses on realigning the entire body’s structure, whereas massage therapy typically focuses on relaxation and relieving muscle tension.

Q: Who can benefit from chiropractic care?

A: Chiropractic care can benefit people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. It can be helpful for those experiencing acute injuries, chronic pain, or those looking to improve their overall health and well-being.

Q: Who can benefit from Rolfing®?

A: Rolfing can benefit individuals with chronic pain or discomfort, those seeking improved posture and movement, and those looking to achieve better body balance and alignment.

Q: How does chiropractic treatment work?

A: Chiropractic treatment typically involves manual adjustments to the spine or joints, aiming to restore normal alignment and joint function. This can help alleviate pain and improve overall body function.

Q: How does Rolfing work?

A: Rolfing uses hands-on techniques to manipulate the body’s fascial system manually. These manipulations help release tension, improve alignment, and restore balance throughout the body as a whole.


  1. Wow, I never knew you could use rolfing to improve body alignment and balance. My friend is experiencing random episodes of back pain because of his line of work. I should talk to him about finding an expert rolfer where he can try this out someday.


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