Rolfing in Austin: Common Types of Structural Misalignments

Image Credit: Erik Dalton

Here are just two examples of common structural misalignments that Rolfing® Structural Integration can help correct.

Forward Head Posture

Forward Head Posture (FHP) is the formal name for slouched, stooped posture of the shoulders where the head is forward from the line of gravity, or plumb line. If the back of your ears are not aligned with your shoulders in profile, or if your head makes it through a doorway before your chest does, chances are you have some degree of FHP.

Image Credit: Back Vitalizer

Common symptoms of FHP appear as tension in the jaw, upper back, neck pain, ”knots” in the shoulders, breathing difficulties, shooting pain down the arms, and various types of headaches.

“Head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment.”1.

Over a series of sessions, Rolfing works to systematically achieve balance of all the structures that create a stable, adaptable, and supportive spine. Since the body adapts to FHP by shortening and stiffening some muscles, and stretching and weakening other muscles, learning proper sitting mechanics in a Rolfing therapy session can also be very important to correcting and eliminating FHP in your everyday activities.

Image Credit: Health Blogger

Sway Back:

Also known as hyperlordosis, is when the pelvis is not horizontal to the ground in standing and is tilted too far forward causing excessive curve in the lumbar spine.

Common symptoms can appear as low back pain, tension in the hamstrings or hips, sciatica, spinal disc problems, and fatigue in standing for long periods. This posture is also very common post pregnancy.

Strengthening the back muscles, abdominals, and hip rotators may improve their function and reduce the symptoms of sway back, but won’t necessarily improve your posture because strength training these areas cannot rotate a pelvis backward. Rolfing practitioners work with the muscles and connective tissue in the front and backs of the hips and thighs to correct this misalignment and free the adhesions to allow the pelvis to derotate back into alignment.

Image Credit: Body By Heather

Often times the two structural misalignment examples above are seen together, creating a host of structural compensations, stress-related illnesses, and the potential for injury.

The picture to the left is an example of before and after the 10-session series of Rolfing Structural Integration. Can you see Forward Head Posture and Sway Back in the “Before” picture? In the “After” picture?

Long term structural deviations and abnormal postures create muscle strain and chronic pain conditions leading up to disc herniations, arthritis, and pinched nerves. Rolfing Structural Integration can improve the structural misalignments that lead to the deterioration of your health with a gentle and intelligent touch.

Contact me today for a free consultation!


1. Dalton, E., Ph.D. (2011). Forward Head Posture The 42 Pound Head [Head Forward Posture].

Retrieved December 18, 2011, from Freedom From Pain Institute website:


Gina Kilgus  |  Certified Rolfer  | 4412 Spicewood Springs Rd #402  |  Austin, TX  |  78759  | Schedule a Session

Rolfing In Austin: Why Rolfing? How Do I Know I Need It?

RolfingSI - little boy logo - Gina Kilgus Certified Rolfer™ - Rolfing® SI Austin, TXPeople seek Rolfing® Structural Integration for a variety of reasons. The predominant reasons, for the sake of this article, have their origins in people seeking stress relief, pain relief (often experienced as back or neck pain in Austin, Texas), and structural alignment or improved posture. If you have reoccurring stress and tension, postural problems or concerns, injuries and/or chronic discomfort such as neck and/or back pain that interfere with daily activities, experiencing Rolfing therapy will help you.

Releasing stress in the body

We all experience stress and tension to some degree in life and many people tend to think it’s normal. However, a chronic condition may actually underline your most recent feelings of stress or tension. To relieve the emotional stress or tension of the recent onset, the chronic tension, or stressor needs to be released. Rolfing practitioners are trained to be able to address these long-held traumas as well as the more recent ones to restore and balance the body’s physiological and psychological capabilities to cope with stress.

Addressing chronic pain and injury

Many clients seek Rolfing to help alleviate their chronic pain or manage an injury.  Some examples of these types of injuries are carpal tunnel syndrome, neck or lower back pain, TMJ or headaches.  When addressing conditions such as these, Rolfing therapy practitioners work to balance client restrictions that are directly related to their complaint and also balance their entire structure in order to help prevent recurrence of the complaint or injury.

Stooped shoulders, sway back, knock-kneed, flat-feet…

People often think of their posture as the way they look.  What is key to further understanding posture- is that the body shows us the condition of its structure and how well that structure is supporting itself.  Faulty posture cannot be improved by simply trying to “stand up straight” because the second we lose this concentration, the pattern reemerges. Rolfing Structural Integration can create a foundation for lasting resolution to “poor posture” because the treatment aligns the structural components within a holistic view unique to the individual.

Why Rolfing? 

Throughout our lives we suffer from falls, injuries, sickness, surgery, and even repetitive motions on a daily basis; which are known causes for structural misalignments and restrictions in the body. Everyone experiences emotional stress, tension, pain, and injury- all examples of something that their body has had to compensate for. Rolfing can be an investment in one’s own future of health by releasing stress in the body, addressing chronic pain and injury, and creating a foundation of support throughout the body that withstands the constant force of gravity, for improved alignment, posture, and overall function.

If you have any questions about the information shared in this article or you want to know if experiencing Rolfing is something that can benefit you, please contact me.  Receiving Rolfing therapy treatments has changed my life and I am available to help positively impact yours!


Gina Kilgus  |  Certified Rolfer  | 4412 Spicewood Springs Rd #402  |  Austin, TX  |  78759 | Schedule a Session

Rolfing in Austin: How Rolfing is Different from Deep Tissue Massage

Gina Kilgus, Certified Rolfer, LMT, Austin, TXHaving been a Licensed Massage Therapist for over 13 years and now a Certified Rolfer™, I can say from experience that the difference between the two manual therapies is striking. Yes, they have similarities such as having the ability to loosen deeper, tighter tissues, reduce stress and promote relaxation and well being. However, Rolfing® Structural Integration can be defined as a systematic approach that attempts to restore balance and alignment to the whole body for long lasting pain relief. Deep Tissue Massage is different from Rolfing in that it tends to focus on techniques for each individual muscle strain, it is temporary relief, and does not address or release the system wide compensation patterns, or the root cause of your pain, dis-function, or “stress”.

The Therapeutic Process
A standard Deep Tissue massage session is usually a one hour, full body treatment. The results are immediate, and there is not a required specific number of sessions. The amount of sessions recommended really depends on the wants/needs of the client. The strategy of therapeutic process is determined by the client’s reports of symptoms of pain or stress.
Rolfing therapy requires a specific number of sessions to work the entire body. Treatment consists of ten 60-90 minute sessions, spaced one to three weeks apart, depending on the client’s needs. Each session strategically builds upon the other, and the results are cumulative even after the Ten Series process has ended. After a complete series of Rolfing Structural Integration, some clients return, after a waiting period of three to six months, for tune-up sessions that help to maintain the benefits of the body being better balanced and alleviating discomfort from emerging deeper issues.

What distinguishes Rolfing Structural Integration from Deep Tissue massage is not necessarily the medium in which we work, but the goal of our work – which is to reshape and reorganize the human structure. Using clearly defined principles in a systematic and consistent manner, a Rolfer manipulates tissue in order to lessen the effects of the constant pull of gravity. In Deep Tissue massages, tight tissue and toxins are released locally, on a table, often with heavy, direct, stagnant pressure. The benefits are increased blood and oxygen flow, resulting in tissue repair and pain management. In Rolfing, systemic connective tissue patterns are lightly lengthened and loosened slowly-layer by layer, separating the layers that adhere to muscles that have been pulled out of position by strain or injury. Rolfing therapy and education is also received in sitting and upright movement, which in terms help improve posture, flexibility, neural programming, self-awareness, coordination, and athletic performance. Since physical problems are actually the symptoms of chronic postural restrictions, compensations, and habitual patterns, clients can see long term improvement and pain resolution from old and new injuries, surgeries, neck pain, back pain, and other various disorders with Rolfing.

Movement Education
Rolfing is not just a therapy involving direct manipulation of soft tissue. Integrating the newly changed structures into a functional, moving holistic body is a unique, indirect and educational aspect of the work. Deep Tissue Massage often does not include movement education, such as working with the client in motion, let alone off the table. Benefits of integrating postural and anatomical cues with the client off the table, in gravity, can help the client bring the experience of their Rolfing sessions into their daily lives whether at the office, with their favorite musical instrument, or in their current sport, resulting in improvement in performance, posture, stamina with less chance of injury due to improper use of their bodies.

In summary, Deep Tissue massage can be therapeutic, relaxing, short in commitment and help aid in blood flow and localized muscle recovery, but it does not address the body’s overall alignment, movement, nor does it have a method to address structural and habitual compensations. Rolfing Structural Integration is a therapy quite different and unique in its process of evaluating the whole body, its anatomical segments, and integrating the improved relationships into physical balance with the gravitational field. Certified Rolfers are also postural educators, imparting insights to clients to increase their awareness and understanding of their bodies, for improved posture, flexibility, performance, aid in injuries and provide long lasting pain relief. If your body feels stuck, you’ve tried various forms of health care, stretching, etc. and are still experiencing chronic pain, or if you’d like to improve your game, or win the war against gravity, Rolfing is right for you. Try a session today!

“This is an important concept:  that [Structural Integration] practitioners are integrating something; we are not restoring something.  This puts us in a different class from all other therapists that I know of.  It takes us out of the domain designated by the word “therapy,” and puts us in the domain designated by the word “education.”  It puts our thinking into education: how can we use these ideas behind Structural Integration?  How do we put a body together so that it’s a unit, acting, energy efficient unit?  One of the differences between Structural Integration Practitioners and practitioners of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, etc., is that the latter are all relieving symptoms.  They make no effort to put together elements into a more efficient energy system.” -Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.


Gina Kilgus  |  Certified Rolfer  |  4412 Spicewood Springs Rd #402  |  Austin, TX  |  78759| Schedule a Session

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