How Rolfing Can Help Endurance Athletes

Written by

Malpass's client Maya, 35, experienced many breakthroughs while receiving her Rolfing? Ten Series. She opted to come in once a week for 10 weeks in the hope that she could reduce the pain she experienced when running and biking.

"Prior to Rolfing?, my idea of exercise without pain was slow walking and gentle yoga," Maya said. "I was a runner and athlete in high school, but I figured my glory days were behind me. I had a desk job and felt tight and stiff. I was plagued by chronic tendonitis and joint pain.  It hurt my ankles, knees and hips to run more than a mile. Biking caused my neck and shoulders to ache and my low back to spasm. I just assumed that I had to take it easy or injure myself, I had no idea there was a solution to my pain and discomfort."

 Maya found that each of the 10 sessions was unique and each focused on different areas of the body- knees, hips, feet, shoulders, back etc. Throughout the process, Malpass gave her numerous tips and exercises to retrain her movement patterns and to integrate the Rolfing? work. She was excited that Malpass tailored each session towards her goal to begin running again and she particularly enjoyed how Malpass explained what he was doing as he worked. In this way, he helped educate her about her body and her movement patterns so she could prevent future injuries.

Maya was thrilled with the results.

"For the second session, he (Malpass) worked with my feet, ankles and lower legs," Maya said. "He taught me about all the different bones, muscles and ligaments in my feet and released decades of tension and scar tissue that had build up in my knees, ankles and calves. It (the Rolfing?) felt like a deep but comfortable stretch--not painful, just good. Toward the end of the session he assessed my walking and running patterns and taught me how to use my feet and ankles more effectively. He explained that by learning to move the way my body was designed, I would prevent injury and strain."  

Now a healthy triathlete and trail runner, Maya remembers how the second session was really her turning point in recovery. She began to run small distances, increasing gradually and stopping as soon as something hurt. Within two months, Maya was running eight miles with no pain. Three months later, she was still pain-free and completed her first Olympic-distance triathlon. Eleven months later she completed a half- Ironman triathlon and her first marathon.

"Malpass broke down decades of tension, strain, bad posture and poor movement patterns," Maya said, "and taught me how to use my body more efficiently so I will avoid tendonitis and strains. I look and feel better at 35 than I did at 25."

Malpass explains that tendonitis, stiffness and joint pain are often easily remedied by simply releasing tension in the fascia, bringing balance back into the body and retraining movement patterns.

"Remember how you felt when you were eight years old?" Malpass asked. "You could jump out of bed and run around outside without pain, stiffness or hesitation. You moved freely and it felt good. My goal with every session is to bring you back to that feeling; to allow you to enjoy movement, to feel great and to continue to strive toward improvement without the fear of injury or pain."