What is Rolfing?Rolfing, or structural integration, is a form of bodywork or deep tissue massage that works specifically with the fascia, the connective tissue of the body. Using hands-on techniques, a Rolfing practitioner (or Rolfer) manipulates the fascia to release tension and ensure the fascia tissue is properly aligned. Rolfing patients are typically taught breathing exercises to use during the session, as this enhances the effects of the Rolfing itself.
Rolfing is an effective way to deal with chronic stress and pain. Rolfing can help break up tension in the body, particularly in the back, that may be contributing to chronic pain problems or stress-related health conditions. Athletes, actors, and physically active people also use Rolfing to improve performance, as Rolfing can help the body work more efficiently.
The Rolf Institute for Structural Integration also teaches that Rolfing can help people develop a more positive, loving relationship with their bodies, and can potentially provide emotional and cognitive as well as physical health benefits. Indeed, while Rolfing is primarily a physical healing technique, the broader goal of the practice is to integrate and heal the patient on many levels—mind, body and spirit.
“Ida Rolf developed the technique as a whole body approach, with the idea that when the body is balanced in a field of gravity it begins synergistically improving,” says long-time Rolfer Chris Key, PhD. “If your head is too far forward, if you have scoliosis or excessive stress, tension or anxiety, this will manifest in your body, impacting and constraining your endocrine and nervous systems, for example. Rolfing cultivates a more balanced, symmetrical, open body, leading to improved functioning and better health.”
How does rolfing work?A Rolfing practitioner uses specific, hands-on manipulations of the fascia tissue to release tension and improve the overall alignment, structure and performance of the body. Patients often receive treatment for a period of ten sessions, during which time the Rolfing practitioner works with different areas of the body in sequence. The overall goal is to get the body into what some practitioners call grace, or a state in which all the parts of the body are properly lined up, are coordinated, and contribute appropriately to movement and balance.
The superficial fascia covers the entire body like a leotard. The deep fascia covers and permeates individual muscles. It also covers tendons, ligaments, organs of the body as well as bones. If you viewed only a body’s fascial network, you would see a lace-like image of the individual. A Rolfing practitioner manipulates the fascia to release tension and the places where the fascia is “stuck” to ensure that it “fits” in a way that allows the body to be properly aligned within the field of gravity.
Imagine that the fabric of the leotard is bunched, puckered, or gathered in several places so that it doesn’t fit correctly and the individual is unable to move freely. The Rolfer works to smooth and unbind the leotard/facia so that it fits better. Movement becomes more effortless and less constrained.
Well today I did a video for my facebook and instagram. I usually dont like videos... I am a photographer and love being behind the camera. However an amazing friend and Veteran, Eric Donoho, inspired me to be honest. I am a healer, a veteran, and a human. I have always been a over sharer, some people have taken issue with that. However, the people who need me have never taken issue with it. I feel by sharing my struggles and being honest that others can seek help and heal themselves. iRest and Yoga saved my life and ground me every day. Rolfing has saved me from a surgery and helped me recover from another surgery. Every time I receive Rolfing I am like whoa....! Wow....! this stuff is amazing. Then I laugh because its a job I do everyday to others, however receiving it is a completely different story! I am going to post some of the best responses I receive during sessions ( getting permission ad leaving names out!) The responses and comments people have when they get up off the table sometimes is just too priceless not to share! Love to you all! What do you want Blogs to be about??? Let me know!
i.R.Y. is happy to provide free yoga for veterans through Comeback yoga Wednesday nights at 530 pm. We also are providing iRest Meditation for all at 7 pm for, cost is 20$ or pay what you can. Both of these classes are small and intimate great for beginners or the more experienced practitioner.
So this is just a short post about a personal experience I had two days ago. I moved in bed, heard a loud popping in my neck which resulted in me not being able to move and being in extreme pain! I had to have help to even sit up, and once I was up right in gravity the left side of my face and shoulder went numb. I was in full panic mode. It was also 0630 on a Sunday morning. I called every Rolfer, Chiropractor I could find on the internet. Well surprise surprise no Chiropractors were open on a Sunday, but thankfully Rolfers were open and able to see me! I choose a colleague I knew from school and got in to see her about four hours after the neck issue happened. I could still not move and everything from the top of my head to my shoulders was stiff! I was worse then Darth Vader! I was statue-esc! After a one hour session with the Rolfer, she mainly focused on the muscles on the front of my neck, and along the side of my face I could move! The pain was almost completely gone and when I pulled out of her parking lot I could turn my head to back up with no pain! Times like that remind me of why I love my profession. The session was so gentle, no popping of bones back into place. Just calming the nervous system and releasing the tension and poof I was 90% better! Huge shout out to Rolfing and the healing it can do!!! Check out a Rolfer before or after a chiropractor too if you want to see how much gentler and just as effective it can be!
Why the 10 series?
Session two is all about finding the earth and grounding yourself so that balance can start from the feet up in gravity. What does that mean? Think about your feet. Walk around the room. Do you feel your feet? The outside edges, the inside edges? Do your toes flex freely? Do you have flexible ankles? Do your lower leg bones move and work as shock absorbers for your body? All these questions and ideas are what a rolfer maybe looking for in session two. If any one of these areas is not moving as well as it could be, or is not being using in the most optimum way it can affect the entire body. Getting the kness to Toes in alignment may help ease neck pain, shoulder pain, and make standing and walking easier.
Session two works from toes to knees, or knees to toes, depending on what draws the attention of the Rolfer. Session two helps the client feel their feet and find a good connection to the ground as they are walking. This session might also involve a lot more client movement then session one. Session one the client may have worked on breathing and expanding the ribs. In session two there will be ankle movement, toe movement, maybe even movement in the knees to help the body open and release better. Session two is also about bringing more awareness to the body. How it is moving, where it is connecting, and how can it possibly move better?
Session two can relieve a lot of discomfort in the body. From planter-fasciitis relief, to relief from shin splints, locked knees, ankle immobility. When our feet can move not as a single unit, but as a shock absorber with all the bones moving independently, our bodies feel lighter and easier to move.
Rolfing is ideally done in a 10 series. Which means 10 different sessions focusing on different parts of the body and different ideas about how those areas can best be served. For example can the shoulders move independently of the rib cage? Or is the body functioning and moving around some sort of restriction or adhesion? The human Body is amazing, and even if you are pain free and functioning well, it does not mean that your body has not made some sort of adaption to accommodate a pattern. Rolfing can help you recognize that pattern and maybe even find a better way for your body to move and function.
So session one is mostly about the Breath. Something we do all day and night, and if you are not a Yogi or take part in some other sport where you must be aware of your breath you may never think about how you breathe. But take a moment and inhale. Where does your breath go? Is it in your Chest? Belly? Are you able to breathe into your side and Back body? Are you able to even feel those sensations? Maybe you have never tried, or you have had some sort of physical or mental trauma that you don’t want to try?
Session one of the Rolfing 10-series is all about those questions. By using gentle pressure, and movement from the client we work together to free up adhesions or to bring awareness to patterns and perhaps working towards changing them. This session is also about creating a partnership between the Rolfer and the Client. Do we work well together? Do we feel comfortable with the Journey we are about to take together? What are the client’s expectations and is it something that we feel we can accomplish together?
Session one also is about teaching your body how to be Rolfed, and your Body teaching the Rolfer how it likes to be Rolfed. What type of pressure and speed works best for your nervous system? Each session also opens and closes the same, this informs you’re nervous system what to expect each time you get Rolfed. So what’s after session one??? Why session two of course! Come back next week to read session two’s Blog.
I will be spending the next weeks discussing why the 10 series is a good idea, why it works, what each session will involve, and which sessions can be grouped together and which sessions you want to make sure to continue with. If you have specific questions that you would like answered please let me know!
Has your self care fallen away with the leaves? Do you know why? Is it time? Is it money? Something else? Why not take care of yourself and a gift for someone else with a November special! Buy a gift certificate for someone who would be a new client for me and as a thank you I will give you a free Rolfing session! Thats two sessions for the price of one! What a deal! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Dont let your self care fall away!
I cant tell you how many times………..Have you tried Rolfing? No way I’ve heard it hurts!
Rolfing has changed a bit since Ida Rolf left our world. Even if she were still around I believe it would still have changed. She was a constant learner and devoured new information and incorporated into her Structural Integration sessions. Ida was born in 1896, she became an organic chemist, who studied yoga and chiropractic work. She had to even sneak into some of her courses because she was a woman! Talk about determination to learn. She developed her Structural Integration work in the 1930’s; her students are the ones who named it Rolfing. "Rolfers make a life study of relating bodies and their fields to the earth and its gravity field, and we so organize the body that the gravity field can reinforce the body's energy field." –Ida Rolf
So if that’s what Rolfers are trying to accomplish. Bringing the body into alignment with gravity, why do some people fear that it is painful? My understanding is when the modality first started being practiced we were still working on learning about fascia and how can we help effect change on that tissue? Rolfers thought we could hydrate the fascia, or help it become more mobile by applying firm pressure and asking fro movement. This at times could be painful. Believe me, the first time I got my shoulder Rolfed to work the scar tissue from a surgery was very painful. But it worked. So how can the same work done more gently and without pain create the same results? Jeff Maitland a Advanced Rolfer said “Rolfing structural integration is a third paradigm modality, serving a goal of wholesome. In contrast, typical fascia work in massage is working in the second paradigm, that of corrective action and fixing things.”
So this third paradigm in my opinion is why Rolfing is becoming less painful and more effective. First paradigm is Relaxation, second is Corrective, and the third is integrative. Rolfing really incorporates all three paradigms, depending on what session you are on and who your Rolfer is. However when I am working with a client it is a partnership, I am constantly checking in with them and asking what their level of comfort or discomfort is. I work gently and energetically. I am a firm believer that if we move beyond the pleasant discomfort level we are not effecting as much change as we could if the body felt safe. Think about it, if I apply pressure to a body part and it becomes painful your body is going to instinctively pull away or tighten. However if I apply light pressure and wait, your body will eventually go, oh ok I am safe and this is helping and it will release. Working in this third paradigm I am being integrative with the client and the work. Listening to the body and allowing it to go where it needs to go, helps it “release”. If whatever is being held in the body is from some mental or physical trauma and I come in and try to force or hurt the body is it going to trust the work to work?
So Rolfing with me is not painful. At times is can be uncomfortable, or we will have to work a different way to help your body feel safe. Contact me for safe, energetic Rolfing.