Archive for the ‘Structural Integration’ Category

Rolfing® article in the NYT

Friday, October 8th, 2010

This article in the New York Times goes out of its way to stress the reputation of Rolfing® as being painful. It’s sort of a shame, since it seems like they only spoke with one practitioner, and I’ve watched a lot of excellent Rolfers do their work without any discomfort for the client at all. Some Rolfers lay it on pretty heavy, this is absolutely true, and I have been known to lean hard in order to try to get some change at times, but by and large, I find my clients are surprised at how NOT painful the experience is. It doesn’t have to hurt to get change to happen, and I am usually trying to find the easiest way to get movement, which is not to pin my client to the mat and watch them squirm.
I do like the way the article references the more metaphysical aspects of the process, even for the skeptical:

“Beau Buffier, a 35-year-old partner at a corporate law firm in New York, says he started Rolfing treatments after he injured his neck and shoulder in a fall. Despite three M.R.I.’s, surgery, physical therapy, a chiropractor, acupuncture and deep massage, the pain remained. Stress from his high-stakes job didn’t help.

But somehow Rolfing did the trick. “It’s dealing with the physical manifestations of something that’s kind of emotional or spiritual,” Mr. Buffier said.”

It’s pretty great when you can give someone the visceral experience of recognizing the mysterious ties between body, spirit, and mind, and have them report as much to the New York Times, and, really, it’s pretty great that there is mainstream media coverage for this truly helping profession.

The gift of Presence

Monday, September 20th, 2010

One of the things I was taught in both massage school and my Structural Integration training was that when emotions come up for people during bodywork, the best thing that you can do for them is just to be with them, without judgment. This sounds so simple, but for the longest time I just had no idea what they were talking about. I wanted to make things better for people, not just “be” with them while they felt bad. I could see, when watching my teachers (Neal Powers, Peter Melchior) in S.I. training, that there was something going on beyond where they put their hands and how hard they pushed, and I got that it was their Presence that really helped move things for their models, but how to cultivate that presence? It seemed so elusive, and I was so distracted and restless.

Turns out, I needed to have a lot more of that kind of presence offered to ME first; I needed to experience the grace of someone just holding the energy of the room so that I could touch the edges of my own sensations without feeling like I was going to blow up the world with what I felt. Once I got comfortable with some of my own discomfort, this sense of Presence started to feel a lot more available to me.

In Brazil, Lael Keen really pushed that sense of Presence to the forefront of the Rolf Movement training– greatly assisted, I think, by her training in and experience with Somatic Experiencing. Perhaps it was just that I was ready, after all of my own personal work, to see how she did it, but I watched with fascination as she showed us how to use our own nervous systems to settle the clients’, how to drop in at a level where people can feel you there at a comfortable distance, one that allows for a sense of being gently held without any expectation or need. It was revelatory.

My Somatic Experiencing training adds depth to this notion of Presence by acknowledging subconscious nervous system activation. In S.E. we parse out the sensations of the body from their associated emotions, and beliefs so that one has the opportunity to experience them all as discrete strings instead of giant knots of overwhelm. The role of the practitioner in this process is, more than anything else, to be Present with the client and to hold the space for them so that they don’t feel overwhelmed again– it is incredibly helpful to feel the edges of a container when you are testing your own sense of what IS, and to have that container be a compassionate, resonant human is a real gift.

I have a long way to go to master this fine art, but I am grateful to have been shown at last where I can start, and grateful for the odd opportunities (such as appendicitis) to experience my own need for another person’s Presence.

IASI Symposium, Denver

Monday, May 10th, 2010

I just returned from Denver, CO, site of the latest International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI) Symposium. This is the third event of its kind, a chance for all of the various practitioners of Structural Integration from all of the various schools to come together and share ideas, rub elbows, make contacts, and feel common cause. Once again, I came away with fresh perspectives, new friends, deeper knowledge, and a healthy amount of gratitude for this meaningful work.
Highlights include presentations by Thomas Findley and Robert Schleip on scientific research being done with fascia, a stern talking-to from Serge Gracovetsky regarding getting our work into objective scientific studies if we want to be taken seriously, and a lovely session of stories about Ida Rolf from Tom Wing, Sharon Hancoff, and Jim Asher. Monica Caspari gently reminded us that though unity is the goal, when we honor diversity (specifically cultural) we preserve some of the richness of our embodied existence.
It is at once entirely humbling and infinitely inspiring to know that there is no end to the learning that is possible in this field. I’m grateful to have had a chance to mingle with my colleagues, and am looking forward to trying to gather some of the local SI practitioners together to get more of this juice on a regular basis!

Rolf Movement® Videos

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Here’s a video of Caryn McHose doing Hubert Godard’s “Flight of the Eagle” exercise– which looks like regular yoga, but takes on a lot more meaning when you receive some Rolf Movement® work.

John Barton in Dallas, TX has made quite a few videos demonstrating the Movement work, which he calls Rolfing® Functional Movement. Check out his Functional Breath video and his Rolfing® Spinal Six video.

Rolfing® Videos

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Found a bunch of interesting videos on YouTube regarding Ida Rolf’s Structural Integration.

Structural Integration Practitioner Ruthie Streiter of Conscious Body NYC explores the urban myth that Dr. Ida Rolf’s method is excruciatingly painful. She also talks about how any discomfort felt during Structural Integration sessions is simply a necessary part of the transformational process.

This Rolfing® demonstration featuring Advanced Certified Rolfer® Libby Eason was filmed at the Harvard Medical School during the Fascia Congress, which took place in Boston, MA. on October 4 & 5, 2007.

Here’s Dallas/Ft. Worth area Rolfer® John Barton describing the ten series session by session with a skeleton on his YouTube channel.

Personal Comfort & Care during an S.I. series

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Things to consider while you are going through a series of Structural Integration:

* Wear underwear you are comfortable being seen in to your sessions.

* Get a bit more protein in your diet while going through the series.

* Drink lots of water after your sessions.

* Be prepared to feel like you are in transition.

* After an initial series of Structural Integration, it’s best to wait a number of months before receiving any more of this kind of work— try a movement class instead.