The ABC’s of Rolfing®
by Deanna Melnychuk —
A — Alternative therapy, complementary care, a “life saver!” or whatever other name you might give it, rolfing is a form of structural integration, named for Dr. Ida P. Rolf and the life-transforming work she developed over a 50-year period.
B — Bodywork that changes one’s physical structure — realigning the body’s segments of legs, pelvis, torso and head — is life changing. Through 10 sessions, the rolfer, using hands, arms, elbows and sometimes feet, applies weight and intent to create flexibility and mobility in joints and tissues that have been constricted through trauma or overuse.
C — Constant repetition of any activity, whether a sport like golf, laying tile and carpet or sitting eight hours at a computer, creates permanent strains and stresses on the body’s connective tissue. This tissue hardens, shortens and thickens in response to overuse and gradually will pull the bones out of their optimal alignment.
D — Developing a new sense of body awareness and retraining your body in new ways of walking, standing and sitting are part of the educational aspect of rolfing. Your rolfer will give you tools for maintaining and sustaining the postural gains you make in each session.
E — Energy will be efficiently maximized as your body moves into new ways of being. You will feel stronger and more alive and will again be able to participate in activities with your family and friends, as chronic aches and pains disappear.
F — Freedom from pain comes gradually, as each 75-minute session has a specific goal within the primary goal of balancing the body — top to bottom, side-to-side, front-to-back. This is not a “one-time fix” type of remedy. Your body took many years, accidents, surgeries, angers, stresses and emotional upheavals to bring you to where you are now — in pain. However, releasing the restrictions caused by those traumas allows your body to move into realignment with gravity.
G — Gravity. To paraphrase Dr. Rolf, who based this work on the premise that gravity can pull us up as well as push us down, “Gravity is our ally. We just need to align with it.” We can’t do that if our head is forward, if we walk like a duck, if one hip is higher than the other, if our chest is collapsed or if we have a swayback. These are just a few of the bodily abnormalities a rolfer looks for during the evaluation that begins and ends each session.
As you align with gravity, your body takes on a lightness, a feeling of lift and spaciousness. The old feelings of fatigue and discomfort disappear. When you feel out of alignment, you will return for a one-session tune-up (usually one year following your last session). As you maintain your new relationship with gravity, you will become aware of all the other positive changes in your life. Why wait? Do it now!
Deanna Melnychuk, B.Sc., is a certified advanced rolfer and rolfing® movement practitioner, licensed massage therapist, Reiki Master, craniosacral therapist and reflexologist. 602-404-8685.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.