Many people come to my practice because their body presses them like a “badly fitting shoe”. They report from tension to chronic pain in various parts of the body. They no longer feel well in their skin. It is uncomfortable. Movement restrictions cause them trouble.
How do you walk?
However, my interest as a Rolfer is not so much in your symptoms as in the way your body organises itself as an overall structure in movement. Therefore, I will ask you to move in space or simply walk up and down. It is in movement that I can best recognize structural imbalances. I pay attention to the “how”, i.e. how you walk.
How do you lift?
Perhaps I ask you: “What is it like when you lift a glass of water on the table next to you? What happens during lifting in your legs?” Dealing with weight becomes an exciting topic as you watch your body organize itself in this task at the present moment. This perspective will occupy us again and again.
Ultimately, it is about “how” you organize stability in your body.
“How do you lift a box? – How do you lift your leg? – Such open questions do not serve my curiosity, but help you to perceive what is happening to you. By trying to put what you have experienced into words – which is not always easy – your body can better integrate and store these experiences.
How does the stretching feel in the body?
In the second part of the session you lie on the massage bench and receive a Rolfing treatment. Often you will feel a slow, deep pressure in the tissue, followed by a feeling of liberation. When you get up and move afterwards, you may notice improved physical mobility.
Touching in Rolfing® is a slow process. When pressure is applied to an area, it is done very slowly, as in slow motion. This thoughtfulness is important. So the tissue has time to become soft, to release itself and to relax. Literally speaking, my elbow or my hand “melts” into the tissue. This creates the impression that the tension or cramping under the “friendly” pressure slowly melts, dissolves and lets go. After that, the area usually feels soft and warm. The quality of touch in Rolfing is very variable. It can be very subtle, large or deliberate. Maybe you can feel it pull up into your arm or neck while I’m working on your shoulder.
How intense is it right now?
Maybe you have done yoga before. Then you surely know the pulling sensation when you go into a yoga position and stay there for a minute or longer and the muscles slowly stretch. It pulls, it is intense and yet it feels good. Rolfing feels exactly the same when the touch is intense. That is why Rolfing is also called “Yoga for the West”.
“It is not allowed to hurt …” you will hear me say from time to time.
Since every person has a different feeling of pain, I ask you to tell me on a scale from 1 to 10 how intense this “yoga stretch feeling” is at the moment. We don’t want to exceed the value of 6 or 7 if possible. You can also say “STOP” at any time. I will then change my technique or the pressure or choose a different approach. There are always several ways to the “Rome of your well-being”.
How does the movement feel now?
After the session you should relax for one to one and a half hours or do a quiet activity. Consider this time as part of the treatment. This is the best way for your body to integrate and store what you have experienced. Afterwards you return to your everyday life.
After the session
In between and at the end of the session I will ask you to stand up from the massage bench. Maybe you are just standing there or you are moving in the room. The following questions can then come from me: “What is the body feeling like now?”, “What do you perceive in your movements?” – This part of the session is important. You have a lot of time to move and enjoy the new body feeling – this feeling of walking like in new shoes.
„In Structural Integration, we expect to give a cycle of 10 sessions. There is a reason for this. We are not dealing with local problems. We are not dealing with the kind of things that you can say, ‘Well, I fixed that, that’s all.” We are dealing with an intent to make a body more secure, more adequate within the field of gravity. This requires that muscles be balanced, and need to be balanced around a vertical line. And when I talk about balancing muscles, I’m talking about balancing the right side against the left side. About balancing the front of the body against the back of the body and, finally, about balancing the innermost muscles against the outermost, the inside against the outside, this is the most important of these balances, and we start from the outside working in, and it takes ten hours before we can get to the place where we can really balance the outside against the inside.”
Dr. Ida P. Rolf
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Munich or Berlin. Here you will find the contact page.