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.
Why do we do a 10-series in Rolfing and what is each session trying to achieve?
Rolfing is typically done in a 10 series. Each session focuses either on one area of the body or one idea of what is trying to be aligned.
What are the general goals of each Session?
Session1- Freeing up the breath, movement in shoulder and pelvic girdle. This session helps with shoulder, rib, neck pain, and relaxing the client.
Session2- Feet and lower Legs. Giving you a foundation to build on. This session can help with Balance and feeling grounded.
Session3-Sides of the body establishing a lateral line and there-dimensional space (opening the “seams” of the body!). This session can help relieve IT-band tightness, shoulder and hip balance and ease.
Session4- Inside line of the legs. From foot all the way up to pelvic floor on the inside of your leg. What is the pelvic floor? Come find out! It can be an intense session for some, as body workers do not often work this part of the body. This session helps bring the legs under you, so if you feel you have to stand with wide legs to stand this session is perfect! It can also help with hip and knee pain.
Session5- Back to the front working from Knee to rib cage. Lengthening the front of the body and working into the deep Psoas muscle that attaches your legs to your spine. Did you know that? This work can help you have a longer stride, reduce back pain, and help sitting be more comfortable!
Session6-Back to the back from knees to the middle of your back. Mirroring the work we did in session five a bit. This session is essential as we opened the front, and if you don’t open the back it can lead to back discomfort from the front being so open. This session we work into the sacrum and can be beneficial for sciatic pain, scoliosis, and tight hamstrings!
Session7- Head , neck and shoulders! Rolfers work the skull bones from the inside of the mouth and nose. This can help with headaches, puts your head back on your shoulders, and releases shoulder tension.
Session8 and 9- Are the beginning of the integrative sessions. One will be an upper and one will be a lower. Diagnostics will decide which comes first. These two sessions look to balance the shoulder and pelvic girdle, and add some movement homework to create new motor pathways.
Session10- Integration of all the previous work. Gentle work from toes to scalp. Bringing closure to the client, and maybe even a last bit of balance.