Posts Tagged ‘Structural Integration’

Healing work in the time of COVID-19

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

I am, at present, working my way through a major overhaul of my practice space, policies, and procedures, with COVID-19 as my muse. As I write this I am not really sure when I will be allowed to return to “non-essential” practice, but I am sure that it will be before we have really brought this virus to heel.

Because this particular virus is able to hang out in some bodies without incident and in others with huge consequence, I have to treat everyone as though they could be unknowingly carrying some amount of viral load (including myself) and act accordingly. So far, that has meant staying home, but as we move towards engaging with each other in physical space again I am taking extra precautions as recommended by the FSMTB, the WSMTA, and the ABMP, who of course are getting their recommendations from the CDC and state and county health departments, among other reputable sources.

Here are some things you should know:

Your appointment times may have changed. If you booked your appointments before mid-April I may have had to nudge your appointment by up to 45 minutes to make it possible to thoroughly clean and sterilize between appointments. Please double check by logging on on to see your appointments or pay close attention to the reminders you are sent by their system for the start times of your sessions.

I will be doing more intake. I have updated my online intake form and you will need to look it over and “sign” it before you come in. I will call you the day before your appointment to run you through a short checklist of screening questions, and if there is any question about your health we will reschedule with no cancellation fee.

At the building, I will absolutely need you to wait until at least 10 minutes before your appointment to call up, as I will be disinfecting everything and it takes time. If you are on foot/bike, you can still enter the lobby with code 07743; if you are driving, please wait in your car until the designated time (within 10 minutes of your scheduled appointment start). When you get off the elevator I need you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer at the door of my office.

At my door we will repeat those screening questions, take your temperature and blood oxygen level to make sure you have a high probability of health before we begin. And if you do, I will have you remove your shoes there before you enter the office.

I will be screening myself daily. Using the same questions I ask you, and the temperature and blood oxygen readings, I will make sure I have a high probability of health before I work with you.

We will both wear masks. Building management asks that we wear masks in common areas of the building, and we will wear them during your session. I will be changing out my PPE between clients. There is a nifty workaround for face-down droplet capture if wearing a mask in the face cradle seems suffocating.

My office will look different. I have swapped out upholstered chairs and wooden or porous surfaces for things that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. I have put things away and purged. It’s a bit more echoey. I have lots of hand sanitizer!

There will be specific places for your stuff, and you need to bring your own water now. It feels very weird to be so directive about things, but I think it will become an easy enough habit for us once we get going.

I make this agreement with you, and ask that you make it with me:

I am practicing social distancing as requested by our state and local officials and wearing a mask when in public spaces indoors or within 6′ of those outside my “quaranteam”. I wash or sanitize my hands frequently when outside my own home.

Within 14 days of your appointment I will not have been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by a doctor or local public health official, nor will I have experienced any of the common symptoms of COVID-19 or knowingly come into prolonged contact with anyone who has.

These statements are also true for people who are in my “quaranteam”.

It is my hope that with all of these precautions in place I won’t ever have to give your information to a contact tracing team, but if it comes to that, I will, and I expect you will do the same for me.

I am keeping a document to track office changes, new policies, and resources which you are welcome to check out, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have before you book an appointment. Additionally, here’s my COVID-19 Exposure Control, Mitigation and Recovery Plan. It will be available in my office and is here online to review anytime. Please be in touch, stay safe, and I hope I can see you in person soon.

Fascial Research

Monday, April 1st, 2013

This is a longish video from a German TV documentary about back pain. Good stuff!

Connecting body to Earth and energy

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Dr. James Oschman has been a friend of the Rolfing community for a long time. He has theorized that fascia is the primary energy conductor of the body, and written a couple of books explaining how “energy medicine” is a real thing and not just an airy-fairy new-age wish.
This article is about receiving positive electrons, which are powerful antioxidants, from the surface of the Earth by walking barefoot outside, a practice called “Earthing”.
One of the primary goals of a Structural Integration series is to help people find support from the earth– or the ground– so that they can find the length that comes from having a nicely rooted foundation. Waking up the soles of the feet to sensation and discovering their inherent ability to adapt to the varied surfaces of the earth gives us an all-over feeling of greater security and lightness of movement.
Here, Mary Bond, a wonderful Rolf Movement teacher, has several exercises designed to wake up the feet and lower leg.

More on Fascia

Monday, October 10th, 2011

This is from Dr. Robert Schleip in Germany, a Rolfer who has been scientifically investigating fascia for many years:

S.I. Client Handbook, circa 1997

Friday, August 26th, 2011

This PDF is the Client Handbook I wrote while completing basic training at the Guild for Structural Integration. It’s very thorough in its explanation of the process, and very earnest in tone. The file had to be broken into two pieces because it was BIG:
Client Handbook Part 1
Client Handbook Part 2

Of Grace and Gravity

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

This is exciting (for a bodywork geek, anyway). Bruce Kubert is producing a film about Ida Rolf’s gift to us, interviewing all of the old-timers and pulling their collective wisdom into one clear message about what is possible for us as human beings willing to risk change. Here is a nice long clip that should answer some questions about how and why one might try the Rolf Method of Structural Integration:

Strolling Under the Skin

Monday, August 8th, 2011

This is a clip from a microscopic movie made by a French hand surgeon who was curious about the mobility and adaptability of the fascia of the wrist. This is live tissue, in all of its moist, adaptable glory!

Movement is Life

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Movement is life.
All bodywork is about movement.
Energy workers (reiki, acupuncture, Shiatsu) seek to move blockage or stagnation in your energetic lines or fields.
Swedish massage is about increasing blood and lymphatic circulation on a cellular, tissue, and then systemic level.
Structural Integration focuses on fascial freedom, restoring glide to the relationships between fascial layers.
Rolf Movement® takes a step towards the role of perception in our physical relationships, and Somatic Experiencing rides the waves of nervous system charge and discharge as they roll through our bodies and our lives.
We all know the feeling of being “stuck in a rut” or trapped by routine. My experience is that sometimes bodywork can help move us through those periods of sluggishness into a more dynamic relationship with life. Structural Integration and Somatic Experiencing provide moments of clarity in our being. Sometimes a slight shift in perspective or a slightly new experience of self is all we need to get going in a new direction, or in the direction we were headed when we got bogged down.
I am, of course, happy to help when there is just a need for maintenance– a rut can also be a groove we are digging for the time being– and that is why I practice massage therapy.

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.