By Sandra G. Malhotra


I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Rossiter, Certified Advanced Rolfer®, for a demo
of the pain relief and mobility restoration modality called the Rossiter System® that he
developed over 25 years ago. Before I describe Richard’s background, how the
Rossiter System works and what a session is like, let me proclaim that IT WORKS
WONDERS. When I met Richard I had annoying lower back pain, but after a ten-minute
session it was gone and has not returned. Curious? Then please read on because I’d
love for more people to learn about this effective modality for pain so they can use it.

So who is this caped crusader? Richard Rossiter is a former pain sufferer who developed chronic shoulder pain as a result of two wartime helicopter crashes plus the stresses and physical demands associated with flying a helicopter on a regular basis. After serving for a year as a U.S. Army pilot in Vietnam, he spent nine more years as a commercial helicopter pilot. On a friend’s recommendation, he turned to Rolfing to relieve his pain and was so impressed that he joined the profession. After treating clients with significant pain for over five years, Richard wanted to develop a method that focuses exclusively on resolving pain. He concluded that pain is why people go to doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, and finally structural integrators. Thus he wanted to figure out how to address pain. [1]

How The Rossiter System Works

The Rossiter System® goes directly to the source of the pain by dealing with what is called connective tissue (CT). Wikipedia [2] defines CT as one of the four types of biological tissue that support, connect, or separate different types of tissues and organs in the body. The other three types are epithelial, muscle, and nervous tissue. Connective tissue is found in between other tissues everywhere in the body, including the nervous system.

In the central nervous system, the three outer membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord are composed of connective tissue. The CT in our bodies is like the steel girders in a sky scraper — in addition to our bones, it provides the structural support, and without it, we would not be able to stand upright. The CT is critical, and when things go amiss with it, e.g., stress and immobility, pain can result. Overuse, misuse, under use, injury, and aging all shrink CT. Imagine what would happen to that skyscraper if the steel girders shrunk.


Rossiter sessions are generally brief, yet amazingly effective. For my session, I laid down on a mat and Richard explained that the Rossiter System® is based on two concepts: weight and movement. The Rossiter Coach uses the foot to add weight to the client’s body while the client executes movements which engage the CT. The foot is used because it is a powerful tool that can cover a broader area than a hand or finger. Richard proceeded to address my lower back pain by pressing on my right quadriceps with his heel. (Not intuitive that my quads would influence my lower back pain, but if you consider CT to be one large, interconnected system, then it makes sense.)

Richard then zeroed in on the most tender part of my quad and got to work. He asked me to move my leg and feet in particular directions and proceeded to apply weight in 15 second bursts. I’m not going to sugar coat this – YIKES, it hurt. Then he worked on my left quad in a similar fashion and asked me to get up and see how I felt. Well, my lower back felt gr-r-r-reat! And it has continued to feel great, so those moments of pain as we worked through the tightness in my CT were well worth it.

I was so impressed by the whole experience that I encourage anyone suffering with pain or mobility issues to explore the Rossiter System®. You can learn more, find a practitioner, or register to learn it yourself by visiting

[1] Richard Rossiter, “The Rossiter System”, Structural Integration, June 2013, p. 27


Sandra G. Malhotra is the Owner, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Regenerate Magazine. She is just a little bit passionate about health and wellness being our birthright.