Friday, November 9, 2007

Rolfing: Structural Changes in Body Mind Spirit

Rolfing involved a series of ten bodywork sessions. The therapist photographed the patient’s body before the first session, assessing posture and imbalances. Each session focused on a different part of the body, with the first session devoted to the chest in order to open and relax the patient’s breathing.

Next the therapist worked to build a solid “foundation” by focusing on the feet, ankles and legs. Once these stabilized the therapist turned to the pelvis to create a solid base for the torso and arms. Later the head was “put on straight.” Final photographs revealed the changes in posture. You could see, as well as feel, the physical benefits of this work. After the muscles, tissues and bones had settled for a period of time, the patient could schedule five advanced sessions or the occasional “tune up.”

As Ida Rolf worked with people, she discovered a link between muscle tension and suppressed emotion. When muscle tension was released, she found that some people experienced "flashback" memories of the original situations that first caused the need to tense the muscles. A sudden release of the trapped emotion cleared the need for the tension to be held by the tissues. As a result, Rolf said, the body returned to a more natural posture.

Both The Rolf Institute and the Guild for Structural Integration, continue to teach Rolf’s method, and many other groups which offer deep-tissue bodywork trace their lineage to Rolfing.

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