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“Mugged by Gravity”?: cranial work talk

That sense of falling in an uncontrolled trajectory is like none other in its immediate call to attention.  It is a bit like stepping on a snake, one knows immediately what is going on.  I once jumped off a 40 feet tower into the Pecos River near Carlsbad NM; now that was a thrill!  That was a controlled trajectory, however, and was just a thrill.

As I went on into the world of bodywork that I have documented on this website front page, carrying a few uncontrolled falls and head injuries, I realized that I was uneasy about falling on a regular basis, just in walking around and being in the world.  There was a certain holding pattern.  I took steps of remediation:  I took ki aikido and later learned to fall from Hubert Godard, a master Rolfer and movement teacher from Paris.

None of this prepared me for falling 7 feet backward and landing on my head, with my left foot flipping up against the back wall of the concrete ditch and crush-fracturing my left big toe, along with a few hairline vertebral fractures.

Even before I came to and was handily treated by the emergency medical technicians who brought me up, I realized that I couldn’t breathe or move anything below the neck.  It was a bit before Christopher Reeves’ accident, but I knew immediately what I thought was going on, and was very relieved in the next minute or two as breathing and movement came back from the profound insult to my neck.

The next morning in the hospital, I felt pretty good, 44 stitches in a stellate pattern on the head good, and decided I would get up.

Bam! I was falling down and throwing up, fortunately back onto the hospital bed.  Brain stem injury.  Mugged by gravity.

I had been studying cranial work with a structural integration style of cranial teacher, as had 2 of my Philadelphia colleagues, and they came right into the hospital and worked with me.  After a week, I was able to walk—-slowly—-out of the hospital, although for some weeks I had bouts of dizzyness.  Then I went out to Boulder for a couple of weeks and had a series of cranial style Rolfing sessions with Jim Asher, which pretty much took care of the issues.

Which brings me to the point of this blog, which is this: any technique (including cranial) that can be used can be used in the service of structural integration. I often get a laugh out of my colleagues’ web sites where they go to great pains to set out differences in cranial and visceral work and Rolfing Structural Integration.  In working, once you have the world view of how to organize a body for a profoundly better structure, you will use that world view with whatever technique, never mind how much you would LIKE to differentiate.

The truth is, the attempted separation of techniques and the ideas of organization of the body are part of the old world view of structural integration that is actually one of those Nerd fights that is so over, but “differentiation” is thought to be good marketing, I guess.

I’m here to tell you that some of those web pages that are listed on where Rolfers claim that they separate out cranial, visceral, and structural work are just goofy—and I am not the only one that thinks that.

Having said that, if you want to keep your structure together and organized, better to go to one of the goofy Rolfers than to someone who works with the cranial and visceral techniques without idea of structure.

That “cranial or visceral therapist” someone without idea of structure (I’m gonna predict the future here) will put you into the “Mugged by Gravity” category, after you have walked down the road a couple of miles.  Does create additional business for the “therapist”, though.

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