Rolfing is often seen as a sort of transformative work. Let’s explore three areas where Rolfing can help you transform: physically, proprioceptively, and habitually.
The most obvious transformation most people experience when going through a Rolfing series is one of physical transformation. Working directly on the connective tissue and the underlying structure of the body is an experience most people don’t have in other areas of their life. Because of this, clients often report feeling changes in ways that other therapies just don’t address - feeling connections between different areas of their bodies, realizing and learning about their bodies, and changing things that may have been bothering them for years.
A client may come originally because of low back pain, and leave with a transformed knowledge of how their foot issue from 20 years ago is influencing their overall structure. Or they may come with the idea that their shoulders are always going to be rounded and slumped forward, only to find that after the session they’re able to let them roll back for the first time.
These are just abstract examples, but the underlying theme here is that as we address and change the connective tissue and the underlying structure, transformative changes can happen.
Probably the first question I have to answer here is “what the hell does proprioceptively mean?” Simply put, this means learning or knowing where your body is in space, or a more common term people use is “body awareness.”
This may seem like a simple concept, but in my opinion this is absolutely huge for starting to address a lot of the underlying issues people face with their bodies. Body awareness is painfully lacking in most people. It’s not something that’s taught in schools, not something most people learn on their own, and not something that’s necessarily easy to come by.
For these reasons, simply learning where your body is in space and learning what is actually happening in your body is huge for being able to change and transform. This is part of the same underlying element in the transformative power of yoga or other exercise. When you start to learn and use the body in a new way, the changes can be huge.
And this idea of change brings us into our third topic - habits. Once you start to set the foundation of addressing the physical structure and learning body awareness, you can start to address the root cause of your body issues, which 9 times out of 10 are your habits. These can be “bad” habits that you pick up over time like slouching, running with bad form, overusing one part of your body, or anything else that ends of being detrimental that you may not even realize you’re doing.
Or these can be habits that you start doing to adapt to something like an injury. Let’s take a shoulder for example: say you fall and hurt your shoulder. The first natural impulse people have is to hold it close to their body for protection. Totally naturally and absolutely necessary for the healing process. However, let’s say that takes six weeks to heal. The problem comes in when after those six weeks, you have gotten use to holding your arm closer to your side. That creates tightness in the shoulder simply because it doesn’t get used much (on top of possible scar tissue, etc.). That tightness in the shoulder makes your low back start to get tight to accommodate for the shoulder muscles not being able to move, then your hip has to accommodate for your low back… see where I’m going with this?
The point is that whether your habits are simple bad habits from not paying attention or habits picked up from old injuries, they are there. So as soon as you start to change the underlying structure and awareness of them, you can transform these habits into ones that actually support your body.
I’m sure there are several other ways people considering Rolfing work to be transformative, whether that’s emotional work, releasing chronic tension, etc. etc., but let’s stick with these three for today.
As always, if you have any questions or want to chat about this topic, hit me up.