You may not be aware of my background as a Certified Advanced Rolfer, a practitioner of the bodywork approach developed by Ida Rolf, PhD. In recent months I've been taking a "sabbatical" from my Rolfing practice to focus on writing and teaching. Lately, though, I've had a yen to see clients again. After I revised my website to describe my new, unconventional approach to the work, I decided the piece made an interesting blog post as well.
What is Rolfing?
Ida Rolf insisted that Structural Integration was an educational rather than a therapeutic process. She was delighted when physical symptoms disappeared, but her passion was the organization of the whole. “Education”, she told us, derives from the Latin root meaning to draw out or to evoke. Rolf wanted to evoke the normal movement--and natural self-expression--that is restricted by no-longer-useful habits of tension in bodies. I can still hear her deep, rich laughter when a client’s vertical midline re-emerged from its cocoon ofmyofascial compensations. She loved the word "vertical".
Rolfing can, of course, relieve low back, neck or shoulder pain, whiplash injuries, repetitive stress injuries, breathing problems, jaw tension, scoliosis and more. But in the context of Ida Rolf’s vision and intention, such “first aid” work is holistic-- related to the functioning of your body as a whole. (You can read more about the technical aspects of the work at rolf.org.)
About My Practice
I’ve always focused on Dr. Rolf’s basic message: to educate you about your body. But in over three decades of experience, my means for doing that has evolved beyond the myofascial techniques commonly associated with Rolfing.
Your body’s structure is an aggregate of all the ways you have moved to do work, to play, to express and to protect yourself throughout your life. I want to help you emerge from the nest of unconscious tension habits and poor body use that have brought your body into its current state.
For me, heightened somatic awareness is an integral part of the Rolf process.Your body is not just an instrument that you turn over to me for re-alignment. Rather it’s a terrain of anatomy and experience, of space and time that we explore together, looking for the ease and grace that are your birthright.
My goal in Rolfing is to facilitate the awareness I know will allow your natural alignment and balance to re-emerge. For those who are receptive to this approach, the process goes as deep or deeper into your system than heavy-handed techniques. Rather than using assertive touch to “tell” your body how to be, my minimal touch asks questions that provoke your body to make organizational changes from within. My touch targets your attention. This leads to release of tension not only at the targeted site but spreading through your whole body. Magical things happen.
You might think of this as an indirect approach. It requires that we both enter a quiet mental state and allow our "inner healers" to collaborate. I also sometimes work in a directive manner using conventional myofascial techniques and an instructional approach to movement education. (By “directive”, I don’t mean that my touch will be painful--Rolfing has for too long had an undeserved reputation for being brutal. Well-trained Rolfers do not hurt you to help you.)
But these days I’d rather evoke than insist. I want you to re-discover your freedom for yourself.
© 2014 Mary Bond