Dr. Ida Rolf once said that it was man’s evolutionary goal to be truly bipedal (walking on 2 feet) but that, in evolutionary terms, we weren’t quite there yet. I interpret this to mean we all have room for improvement and the potential to be stronger and move with more grace and ease . So we still have some evolving to do. We can agree that we develop ourselves through both senses (mind) and our physicality (matter). Senses guide us through the world and perceive space time. Our physicality has the potential to change on a structural level through exercise and manual therapy. To most folks this can mean feeling better in your body and being in a body that you enjoy moving in. This process is a fascinating journey that I would like to pursue with you.
“It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~Charles Darwin
Rolfing (aka Structural Integration) is a type of body manipulation that addresses recent and lifelong patterns of strain in the body and its connective tissues. Postural balance and functional use is restored through hands-on bodywork and gentle exercises. This is usually, but not always, done through a 10 session protocol. Injuries, trauma, and daily habits can cause the body to lose it’s relationship to gravity. This could lead to pain, decreased range of motion, and lack of energy.
I find it illustrative to think about what it is that makes up the human form. Muscles give us movement, bones give us dimension to some extent but mostly they give us joints which allow us to move in different planes, but it is fascia that gives our body support and elasticity. Fascia is the material that holds muscles together, binds our cells together, suspends and compartmentalizes our internal organs inside of us, and is probably a vital component to our nervous system. This is the primary material we are working with in Rolfing.
Because fascia acts as a packaging it is not unlike a big wet suit that you wear all the time. This “wet suit” may, after injury or overuse, become ill fitting. Now imagine having to walk, drive your car, sit and stand in this misaligned wetsuit. Muscles must overcome the constraints of the fascia. This makes the body more tired, confuses the nervous system, and actually leads to other postural compensations thus causing even more problems further on. Rolfing changes this packaging and when the packaging changes, muscles function better so they don’t become tight and tired.
Through a combination of applied pressure and gentle movements, Rolfing® releases and repositions the connective tissue of the body (fascia). Instead of treating only the area of pain we treat the body as a system of many parts that have relationships to each other. This way the improvement is more stable and the body can relax and be coaxed back into a natural position.
“General system theory, therefore, is a general science of wholeness… The meaning of the somewhat mystical expression, “The sum is greater than the whole of the parts” is simply that constitutive parts are not explainable from the character of the isolated parts. The characteristics of the complex, therefore, appear as new or emergent.” -Ludwig Von Bertalanffy