The biggest relationship our body has is one with gravity. When gravity flows through the body, we find comfort and grace in our stride, our organs can function efficiently, and the brain rests well in the cranium. Due to external factors over time, however, breath, alignment and balance in the body can be compromised, causing internal stress that can result in real discomfort. Preventing or correcting the misalignment, thereby eliminating or reducing the stress to the body and mind, is as at the heart of the Rolfing practice.
Fascia is a plasticine-like connective tissue that links together all internal structures within the human frame, uniting the contents of the body with the physical container and organising its functional units. With deliberate, accurate and targeted manipulation of this tissue, overall relief and well being can be restored in the body. It has been well-documented, afterall, that fascia constantly changes and adapts in response to demands placed on an individual’s body. It reacts to wellness by stretching and spreading, and to physical damage by producing extra material to enhance stability and support. It can, however, over-produce itself, and in this case over time rather than stabilizing movement it can lead to reduced mobility, changes in posture and movement.
The Rolfing method uses a framework of ten sessions to intervene and transform the fascial matrix within a body. Each session has a theme and a general territory of the body to be addressed, though sessions are highly customised for each unique client. After completing ten sessions with a Certified Rolfer, a client can expect to experience a greater sense of allover freedom and balance, better posture and improved movement. An enhanced understanding of how the body operates in harmony with gravity is developed through the sessions, and this new comprehension of the self can then be developed into an embodied process of lifelong learning.
The Five Principles of Rolfing are:
Wholism: A Rolfer works on the whole body structure even when focusing on a specific territory of the body.
Support:<Not unlike building a house, support is about having a good and solid foundation from the feet through the top of the cranium. The internal structures of the body such as the diaphragms and organs, as well as the more external bony landmarks of the shoulder and pelvic girdles, head, thighs,knees and ankles are brought into the correct alignment given each individual to be fully supported in gravity. The idea of support extends to looking to how the Rolfer supports their client through a whole change process, and more abstractly, the support systems the client has in place in daily life and how they support themselves emotionally and physically.
Adaptability: Adaptability is the Rolfing context is the ability and agility of the body to adjust to new conditions. Adaptability is present when the length, elasticity and pliability are present in the connective tissue, and when the mind is able to move through transformation without fixation.
Palintonicity: The Rolfing community coined the term to mean the bodyâ€™s the potential to expand in all directions.
Closure: Preparing the client for the wrapping up of the session, and towards the end of the series,closing the process. The idea of completion extends into daily life, and can be a beneficial tool in communication.
After the first ten sessions, it is recommended to let the body settle for a period of time (dependent on each individual but averaging 6 months) before continuing with Rolfing sessions. Post ten-series work may include a special project, regular or occasional tune ups, or Movement Rolfing.