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The Rolf Institute
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Olympic, MD, Dr. Jim Montgomery, at the Dallas Orthopedic Specialists Medical Center Says Rolfing Can Relieve The Aches And Pains That Come With Aging

9/21/99 "A couple of times when I was out in public somebody would say, ‘You saved my life!' Now I'm just an Orthopedic surgeon and I don't save many people's lives but they'd say, ‘You sent me to a (Certified) Rolfer, Nicholas French and it literally has changed my life," says Dr. Jim Montgomery at the Dallas Orthopedic Specialists Medical Center. "And it has been so helpful to so many people."

"The Japanese and Chinese figured this out 2,000 years ago," says Montgomery, a head physician at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and an active member of the Olympic Committee. "Their comment was ‘balance the mind, balance the body.' The vast majority of the problems we see can be helped if you put people back into good balance. That's the whole theory behind Rolfing, to break up the scar tissue and balance the spine, so the people feel much better."

"I send alot of people with shoulder problems to a Rolfer because a vast majority of shoulder problems have to do with the back and the thoracic spine," says Dr. Montgomery. "I see alot of people that have chronic lumbar problems causing their pelvis to become off set. I think of the pelvis and the low back as the foundation for the lower extremities, and the thoracic/cervical spine as the foundation for the shoulder. Rolfing can help with both of these."

"As an orthopedic surgeon I see some lower back or cervical pain in association with knee or shoulder problems," says Montgomery. "People who are very restricted with alot of imbalance, chronic scar tissue pain or after a major surgery."

What kinds of problems do you send to a Rolfer? "I send all kinds of problems. People with shoulder problems, with scar tissue after injury, low back problems, cervical spine, and shoulder and elbows problems," says Dr. Montgomery. "People that have had chronic problems that have not been helped by anything else. I think Rolfing is something that should be entertained by any of these people. If they had chronic hamstring problems, chronic shoulder problems for a long period time. All those people can be helped. I think a child with acute problems like a hamstring sprain I'm not sure that I would send those people to a Rolfer, although I think those people would benefit, I don't think of Rolfing for acute pain."

"Athletes who are changing from one sport to another sport can be helped a great deal," says Montgomery. "I had a track star patient who ran for UCLA and then he wanted to dance for a ballet. Ballet muscles are totally different from track muscles. With ballet you are long, stretched out, and very flexible, whereas with track you are wound up tighter than a rubber band. So I sent him for Rolfing and you could just see the change in the body."

How would you describe low back pain? "Ida Rolf was saying, in my opinion, Rolfing is teaching your body and realigning your body," says Dr. Montgomery. "You are trying to get a good base to balance off. Rolfing can give you that. I think if you can get that alignment and get those muscles to relax, I really think that's what Rolfing is about, balance."

"Eighty percent of people have problems in their lumbar spine at some time in life," says Dr. Jim Montgomery. "For example, a herniated disc where you have huge discs fragments sticking out on the nerve, I'm not sure Rolfing is going to help those problems." The vast majority of low back pain that people have is idiopathic, there's no related disease or injury. "As we age, we lose our elasticity, the body itself starts settling, when the settling occurs sometimes you get rotations or malalignment so you may get a painful episode because you're spine is rotated and not balanced," says Montgomery. "The theory behind Rolfing is to break down the tight connective tissues of the muscles to let the muscles be more flexible, and at the same time realign the body, straightening the spine into a more functional mode. If you get that function your pain will disappear."

What is Rolfing? "The major problem in the body is that the facial bands, the tight lining around the muscles, are the major cause of the patient's pain," says Montgomery. "As you break down these tendonis units and stretch them, you balance our core spine. Ida Rolf said, ‘balance the spine and body."

"You could do it with yoga, chiropractic, Rolfing or various entities," says Montgomery. "For chronic problems Rolfing leaves you with a more lasting capability. People get relief for years and then may choose to return for a tune up once a year."