,

From the origin of tensions

Rolfing - Berlin & Munich

Babies imitate their parents and can also adopt their bad posture. Later, the pressure at school and the fears at puberty, which express themselves as a protective posture in the body, follow. Sometimes, however, the Western ideal of beauty or a military posture in the body cause tension. These deform the body very slowly, until after many years the entire body statics is shifted.

A young person whose body knows nothing “better” will perceive his displaced body statics as “normal”. In the course of years his body now experiences stress again and again in everyday life. During stress, the body contracts, contracts into the existing pattern and thus strengthens the displaced status.

This process is usually perceived relatively late. The body adapts more and more to the shifted status by organizing rebuilding processes: Tissue is strengthened and reinforced, joints are worn on one side only. Uneasiness and pain occur. Overstrained muscles become weak. The body tension decreases. Below are a few typical symptoms:

  • Shoulder and arm problems when sitting at the PC
  • Problems when you stand for a long time
  • Problems with lying on the mattress
  • Problems with turning around and parking
  • neck pain and tension headaches
  • hard and tense shoulders

What awaits me in the Rolfing® session?

A collaboration awaits you – a voyage of discovery on which you and I will search together for a way to help your body. It is our map. We will deal with three aspects again and again:

  • Attention
  • Stability
  • Freedom of movement

Attention

  • You will become aware of your habits.
  • You will learn to perceive tensions and imbalances.

Stability

  • With manual Rolfing techniques I loosen areas that are too stable, i.e. too tense.
  • By strengthening certain muscles you compensate for a lack of stability.
  • Through perception of gravity in the body you learn to balance yourself.

Freedom of movement

  • Together we develop stretching and stretching exercises.
  • By changing your usual patterns of movement you will prevent your body from relapsing into familiar tensions.
  • With manual Rolfing techniques I help your body to more freedom of movement.

In each session we will explore these three points again.

What is the result?

The goal of this work is not a final state like “healthy” or “painless”, but a process that sets in motion what has been held; a process that creates space in the body that you can fill with movement in your everyday life. The pain you originally came for will be relieved the more you relax, the more you straighten up and the more you move freely.

At last you will be able to feel comfortable in your body again. You will also perceive your body more attentively and develop a finer sense of balance and posture. If you then notice more and more often in everyday life how lively and easy you walk through the world, how your movements flow loosely and easily, and if you discover that “movement” and “freedom” are like brother and sister – then you begin to enjoy this new freedom. Then you are on the right path.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.

,

Trauma session after car accident

Somatic Experiencing - Berlin & Munich

The car accident took place two years ago on a rainy day. Marianne – our imaginary client – was standing with her car at an intersection when a van hit her car from behind. In her rear-view mirror, she recognized the van that was driving fast towards her only a few seconds before the collision. The hospital later diagnosed whiplash and severe bruising.

Since the car accident:

She had the whiplash trauma treated by a chiropractor for half a year, however the constant headaches and tension in her neck did not improve. Marianne has had sleep problems since the rear-end collision. Panic attacks wake her up in the middle of the night, during the day she repeatedly has flashbacks of shattering glass and again feels the impact in her body. She is often distracted, misplaces things, and clumsily bumps into pieces of furniture. When she drives, she constantly looks in the rear-view mirror and struggles with panic when she has to stop at a crossing with traffic lights. She avoids driving as best she can.

When does safety come into play?

When Marianne visits the practice for her first Somatic Experiencing®, she seems overtired, pale and a little nervous. She immediately begins to talk about the accident. Already with the first sentence she becomes wide awake and gesticulates with her arms. Friendly, I interrupt her and say:

“I would like to listen to everything that happened to you at that time at a later time – but now I have another question for you: When did you feel safe again for the first time after the accident?

Marianne is surprised by the shift in focus. She then tells me about her husband and how he arrived into the emergency room. I ask Marianne what she is perceiving right now at the thought of this situation and she reports a feeling of warmth in her legs and how her neck and then the whole body relaxes. I can observe that her previously flat breathing relaxes and her breaths become deeper and more regular. She continues to talk about individual sensations and how she feels more and more comfortable and secure in her body. A state she has missed since the accident.

When the autonomic nervous system is overwhelmed:

I explain to Marianne that her autonomous nervous system was overwhelmed by the impact and the loud noises. It’s like sending high voltage current through a 220-volt power grid. The nervous system does not know where to put all this energy. This then leads to the feeling of being constantly under current, to the alarm and panic states she repeatedly experiences, and to the subsequent deep exhaustion into which she falls. – She nods understandingly. In Somatic Experiencing we assume that the trauma is not in the event itself, but takes place in the nervous system. Therefore, it is important to give the autonomous nervous system the opportunity to calm down and rearrange itself.

Next, I ask Marianne what helped her to survive the difficult time after the accident. Marianne talks about various family members, friends and helpful activities such as listening to quiet music or riding a bicycle. Again I draw her attention to what she is feeling right now as she talks about her helpful friends and pleasant experiences. What helps to become calmer?

What helps to become calmer?

I explain to her that in Somatic Experiencing we first of all create a place of safety and tranquillity that she can visit again at any time if it becomes “too much” for her. By now experiencing and savouring a feeling of calm and security when she thinks of all the situations that have helped her, we are giving her nervous system the chance to regulate itself anew. – Marianne is silent for a long moment. I watch as her facial features relax and her gaze becomes clearer.

Now I suggest a little experiment.

“How about we go to the very first moment when you realized something was going wrong and you freeze that moment like a photo?

She talks about the picture of the van in her rearview mirror and how she gets goose bumps and nervous at the same time. “How about you imagine the van at some distance away? At a distance where you feel less threatened by it, but can still see it? Marianne places the van several hundred metres further back in her imagination, so that it can be seen very small in the rear-view mirror. She also reports how her nervousness slowly subsides and she becomes calmer. We give this “calming down” a lot of space and time

Somatic Experiencing - Berlin & München

Photo by Rendiansyah Nugroho on Unsplash

Progress through very small steps:

Progress through very small steps: Then I explain: “Such an accident is like a film consisting of individual images on a film reel. The nervous system doesn’t care whether the images on the film reel correspond to the reality of that time or not. It is essential that you have found a picture that helps you to think of the van without getting nervous or panicky.

We now proceed in small steps. Picture by picture, we can rotate the roll of film back and forth as you wish.” Marianne leans back in her chair. We turn back to the frozen picture of the far away van. When asked what her body would most like to do at this sight, her spontaneous answer is.

“Step on it!“ (accelerate)

We’ll try that out now. She feels a warm flow of energy flowing through her leg. After we have given the room and welcomed the relief into her body, we return to the situation again. Again I ask for her need to look at the picture again. This time she reports a deep anger and that she wants to insult the driver. We also look at this situation together and see how her body reacts. After several Somatic Experiencing sessions over a period of six months Marianne is able to cope with most of her fears. The majority of her symptoms also gradually disappear.


This text is based on the following article by Diane Poole Heller and Larry Heller. If you are interested in the theoretical background of Somatic Experiencing and would like to learn more about the function of the autonomic nervous system using Marianne as an example, please read Somatic Experiencing® in the Treatment of Automobile Accident Trauma, by Diane Poole Heller, Ph.D. and Larry Heller, Ph.D. Abstract


“The dynamic of trauma is partly that it separates us from the inner experience in order to protect our organism from sensations and emotions that we may not be able to cope with. It may take some time before we develop enough confidence to allow for small inner experiences. Be patient and always remember that you do not need to experience everything on the spot. This heroic journey consists of many small steps that you take one by one.”

Peter A. Levine, Trauma Healing: The Awakening of the Tiger


A book worth reading on the subject is:

Diane Poole Heller/Laurence S. Heller,  Crash Course – A Self Healing Guide to Auto Accident, Trauma & Recovery  232 pages, $15.26 , North Atlantic Books, ISBN-13: 978-1556433726

This book shows you how you can help yourself after a car accident so that no trauma symptoms remain behind. It is a do-it-yourself guide to shock trauma.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.

,

Rolfing and cycling

Radsport Rolfing - Berlin & München

Whether on the road or in the mountains: In cycling, the body needs a solid training foundation. This is the key to ensuring that top performance is maintained over a long period of time and that injuries or overstraining do not occur.

However, many cyclists fall into the trap of thinking that cycling is only a matter of the legs. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The legs, the hips and the buttocks generate the great forces to move the bike. But to stabilize the lower part of the body, a strong stomach, back and upper body are necessary. All areas of the body must work together to stabilize the bike and bring maximum force to the pedals. Cycling is a whole body activity.

Causes and injuries

There are many different causes of injuries while cycling. The most important are:

  • An accident, often due to excessive speed and loss of control.
  • The seat position on the bicycle is incorrectly adjusted.
  • The posture is not correct.
  • The body is not trained and not used to the sitting position.
  • The body is overwhelmed during the ride.
  • The journey is not interrupted when the first symptoms occur.

Cycling & Rolfing - Berlin & Munich

Photo by Boris Stefanik on Unsplash

Apart from falls and accidents, the classic problems in cycling are the following:

  • Neck and occipital tensions
  • IT Band Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Wrist and forearm problems
  • Knee injuries
  • Urogenital problems due to contact with the saddle
  • Shoulder blade syndrome
  • Compression of lumbar spine

How do I avoid injuries?

  • Train to ride a bike – not the other way around.
  • Work on your posture. The posture on the bike is important to transfer strength efficiently and avoid overloading joints.
  • Improve trunk mobility and stability and the ability to transfer forces. If you sit on the bike for many hours, correct posture is important in order to avoid neck and back injuries.
  • Train in the studio on equipment and pay attention to the correct posture. Simulate the corresponding position on the bike. Strength training helps to prevent overstraining your hands and knees.
  • Make sure that the bike is optimally adjusted to your body and that the saddle does not cause compression of the nerves and blood vessels on the perineum. Good fitting equipment is as important as the right shoe size.
  • Stretch your body regularly and moderately. The fasciae are therefore better able to store and transmit forces.
  • If you ride bike a lot, you should train in parallel with a recreational sport such as running or swimming. This frees the shoulder girdle from its attachment to the handlebar.
  • Wear a helmet when cycling.

If you only train for strength and stability, your fasciae will shorten and become hard and inflexible. This is why your body also needs regular moderate stretching. Here Rolfing can support you. But Rolfing is more than stretching.

Radsport Rolfing - Berlin & München

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Rolfing is work on posture – also on the bike

  • Rolfing® frees you from tensions that affect your movements and removes unnecessary tension from your joints. You get stretching in places you can’t reach yourself.
  • Rolfing helps you to reduce the risk of overstraining and wear by sculpting the body into its best possible shape.
  • Rolfing works on your posture, because bad postures consume energy unnecessarily and strain the joints.
  • Rolfing dissolves matting in the tissue caused by injuries and overstrain.
  • However, Rolfing is not a cure-all. The topics that your body brings with it have priority and receive an individual solution.
  • The history of injuries that your body brings along and your training goals are in the foreground.
  • The overriding goal is to strengthen your fasciae in the entire system and keep them elastic at the same time.
  • We work mostly on the massage bench, but also sitting and on the mat.

The most important muscle chains for cycling are addressed by Rolfing, with an emphasis on breathing, pelvic dynamics and trunk stability.


Articles worth reading:

“Improving Long Course Bike Speed Part 1”
“Improving Long Course Bike Speed Part 2”
Article about how the training is planned and built.

“Eight Injury-Busting Stretches for Cyclists”
Valuable stretches described in detail. Good photo documentation.

“Bicycling and Pain”
Sheldon Brown writes where it can hurt and how to fix it – made cool.

“Bicycle-Related Injuries”
by American Family Physician AAFP
Detailed article with statistics.

“Cyclist’s Guide to Injury Prevention“
Blog. Collection of good articles on the topic.

“Überlastungssymptome bei Mountainbikern”
From the Institute for Rehabilitation, German Sport University Cologne. The article describes the various symptoms of overuse in mountain bikers. Of the 840 respondents, 90 percent had overload symptoms.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.