Rolfing Structural Integration: How Can It Last?

Dear Readers, please notice that I did NOT say, Why Can It Last? That would be a God question, and since I am neither a theologian or a god, I can’t speak to that.

Neither are there reams nor even any scientific evidence for the proposition that a certain kind of body organization (Ida P. Rolf’s vision of how the body works optimally) has any lasting effect whatsoever.

So, when I am talking here, it is as someone who first of all “got Rolfed” in 1980 out of a broken down state and went on to practice Rolfing Structural and Movement Integration as a certified practitioner since 1984, 29 years at this writing. During this time I have continued to explore the ways and means of obtaining the goals of the standard basic 10 series, and been relentless in the idea that every move I make contributes to that ideal in some way. This means, for instance, that as I “fix” a neck, I am considering it as it relates to the rest of the person’s structure including balance and perception, and the tissue capabilities of that person.

In the early days, each time with what I thought to be good reason, I challenged the envelope of Rolf’s propositions in most ways that I could think of, both intentionally and accidentally. I came to realize that the old lady had some good ideas.

Now, first of all, we have to consider what we want to call “lasting”. Is “lasting” being pain free–for the rest of one’s long life? (Really??) Is “lasting” maintaining the length and line promised by the organization of the goals of the standard basic 10 series? Is it being able to run faster, play louder and longer—-or even run or play at all–for the rest of one’s long life? (Really??) Most come into my office pointing at something, perhaps a shoulder, a knee, a back, a neck—and even pointing at a stuck world view which has their nose against a grindstone of unwanted experience. A change of any kind would be good! And most know that gravity does not stop when they leave my office, having been newly integrated. However, some “lasting” would be good.

Within the context of Rolf’s life’s work, what can be done about this myriad of requests, and how can the result be more “lasting”? Every person who steps into our office is a unique person, and needs to be considered individually with great care.

For this, we must find a Rolfer who is willing to consider the goals of the standard basic 10 series for us. Then we have a chance for “lasting” after the spots or events that we are pointing at have resolved. We have to find a Rolfer who is also willing to work with fascial connective tissue as it exists in our body, and through the fascial connective tissue work to find the path into the rest of the neuro-myo-fascial system. Show me a Rolfer who is arguing about whether we are or should be working with fascial connective tissue, and I will show you a Rolfer who should spend more time practicing and less time “thinking”.

Rolfers can be derailed off into energetic railroad sidings, for instance. (Don’t let me count the other ways, haha!).

Here are some reasons that Rolfing SI as practiced as above can last and provide a better basis for structural and movement health.

1. the cells of the body, including the connective tissue, the muscles, the nerves, everything, are constantly coming and going, dying off and being replaced. This replacement happens within the context of the replacement. If a joint is balanced, the connective tissue and neuro-myo cells will regenerate themselves in that balanced pattern, and if the whole body system is balanced and integrated, so much the better for that joint.

2.the movement pattern, being re-built from the structure up into a flowing pattern without major holding points in the body through an easy imagery of learning, helps to support the re-building.

I don’t think even a scientist would argue about the above too much. A scientist might argue with this:

The body structure/movement has a kind of structural homeostasis to which it wants to return. In usual usage, there is an accepted homeostasis of the systems of the heart and blood pressure, etc., and the homeostasis of the body structure and movement has yet to be named and explored by scientists.. In this pattern, folks who have been “Rolfed” can be brought back to the free flow pattern more quickly after injury, and the body recovers more quickly from the slings and arrows of day to day existence.

I have lots of experiential and testimonial stories to back up these statements, from which I will refrain here today, and may we all live long and prosper in our structures and movements.



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