Your Health: Rolfing may be the best true golfing advantage
May 18, 2016
When you are looking for the advantage in golf, when you want to genuinely improve your game, the best place to look is not to new gear or gizmos — it is to the function and fluidity of your own body.
Pain, tension, adhesions and past injuries are the nemesis of a golfer and the source of the biggest limitations in your game.
When you have aches and pains, inflammation, back, neck and elbow problems, there is no way you are going to be playing your best.
Taking medications to suppress the symptoms does not produce proper function in muscles and tendons, but only covers the pain.
For the professional and recreational golfer, flexibility is the key to your best game.
Rolfing is a 50-plus-year-old body treatment technique that removes adhesions in your muscles and connective tissues that cause glitches in your swing, reduction in your strength, instability in your stance, weakness in your drives, rigidness in your body, and pain and inflammation.
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Being Rolfed has the unique capacity to increase your strength for longer drives. One of the most important aspects of strength, which often is overlooked, is the effect the length of contraction of muscle fibers has upon your strength.
When our muscles are short and tight after many years of activity, training and repetitive actions, many of your muscle fibers are at nearly full contraction while you are at rest, preventing them from doing much work when called to act.
For example, many clients come to see me due to weakness in their arms or grip, complaining they are having difficulty opening jars.
Many have seen physical therapists who have provided a precise measurement of the comparative strength between their arms, and have noted one arm being, let's say, 13.45% weaker than their other arm.
What that measurement is really saying is 13.45% of your muscle fibers are in full contraction while you are at rest!
That is the effect of chronic tension and fascia adhesions. And those adhesions are what Rolfing releases, giving you a significant increase in strength for your drives.
Putt more precisely
Precision in golfing is a result of muscular differentiation. What that means is that each of your muscles are able to act, contract and release individually.
One of the lesser-known causes of poor performance is a muscle group acting as a block. Adhesions in the body do not form only in individual muscles, causing weakness and tension, but they also can adhere muscles to each other.
This means that when you want to contract only your index finger, your pointer finger contracts along with it because the fibers of one muscle are adhered to the muscle right next to it.
Rolfing reestablishes muscular differentiation, allowing muscles to slide against each other again, which creates significantly improved precision in action.
Swing more accurately
A golf swing is made of a series of complex mechanical body movements. A perfect golf swing is considered the holy grail of the sport.
So how in the world are you going to have a perfect swing when you have pain, tension, restrictions, adhesions, poor differentiation and weakness in your body? Answer: you aren't.
If you watched the way that Tiger Woods used to swing the club, one of the defining aspects was his incredibly smooth and easy motion.
These days with his back and neck problems, he isn't doing nearly as well. I worked on Hank Haney, Tiger's coach, for many years, recently helping him with tendonitis in his arms to help him with his game — because adhesions in the fascia/connective tissue of your body are the No. 1 cause of the herky-jerky swings of golfers.
When you can move smoothly and the body is not trying to protect painful muscle groups, your accuracy will be at its best.
Rolfing can extend athletic careers
Presently, I am working on a local resident, and immediately I got rid of two painful areas in his back from an injury and eliminated his sciatic nerve pain down his leg in just two sessions.
He is turning 89 this summer and just went out for his first day of golfing this season.
Many people give up the activities they love like skiing, tennis and golfing because they have too many aches and pains in their bodies.
Until Rolfing came along in the 1970s, there was little that could be done for the incredible tensions in the hips and low back that form over time, and so it was accepted as part of getting old and aging.
This is simply not necessary any longer with the power of Rolfing to get deeply into those muscles and release them making people feel 20 years younger.