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Rolfer™: NOT a freakin’ medical intuitive

Last week a client called my little dog Tito Puente “a freakin’ medical intuitive”.  Tito had walked in the Rolfing room, where he is allowed if clients permit, and solicitously and unerringly with great concern once again licked the side of the client that hurt.  (He does this with anyone who will put up with it.)

Since he is short, he licked her ankle, even though it was the hip that hurt.  Perhaps his preferred treatment plan would be to lick her face, but he’s not tellin’.

Rolfers bring their training and who they are to assessment and treatment of their clients.  In this way, we work, not as “a medical intuitive”, but as a skilled practitioner of a way of integrating the body to the best available potential.

First, assess the situation in terms of the general health and well being of this person who has presented themselves, including the person’s expert view from their own body.

Second, assess the situation in terms of structural and movement goals and whether they can be obtained, or how much from both our points of view, and my assessment of their integration and their integrative capacity.

1.Assess  2. Plan  3. Work  4. Evaluate This in a circle, if I could technically make one on the computer.   This circle of action can take place in a small way in minutes, with a larger circle for the hour of the session.

In the Work, we will consider the traditional taxons in making the Plan: 1. structure; 2. function;  3. energetics; 4. geometrics; 5. world view

In actual practice many of these taxons overlap, and the consideration of which order to employ them forms part of the Plan.

Structure calls for front-to-back, side-to-side, and top-to-bottom balance; good structure will help to produce good posture.  Structure usually calls for more length along the top-to-bottom line in all parts.  Structure is implied in the classic Little Boy Logo that the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration has trademarked.  (See post #1 of these blogs.)®-logo/

In terms of training, firstly there is a structural hands-on definite work (including function) with tissue for a reason; with the Rolfer’s working sense of the all-too-solid flesh there is a much better chance of having the other taxons fall into agreement, and this hands-on work provides an intimate experience for the student of Ida Rolf’s plan, the goals of the standard basic 10 series that in my opinion can not be gained as well in another way at first.

Function means that there can be extensional movement, not bunching and shortening and that when there is a joint that the joint be true to the nature of it, in other words, be helicoid like the knee or a straight hinge joint, etc.  A person is able to flex and extend their spine through the full range of motion, ideally. There can be good posture in good structure, and it is enhanced through functional movement.

Energetics is a little tougher to define.  Traditionally we have used the term to show where there was not flow through the body; a bindup of physical bound strength.  Of course, there is the myriad of ways to talk about the actual bioenergetic systems of the body.  Even though I had studied 3 energy systems by the time that I got to the Rolf Institute for my first class, it was a real eye-opener to see the teacher do a complete “chakra” balance at the end of a 10 series for a client, as a parting gift.  In the context of an integrated body, that chakra system was a burning bush.

Geometry in a nutshell:  look at your face and do the mirror thing.  Hold up the mirror so that one side of your face becomes two sides.  It is a little weird.  Partly, eye and ear use patterns of perception cause what can be distortion, and it is that way for handedness and footedness.  We need lines and planes so that we don’t become overbalanced in our patterns.  I alluded to geometry about the legs in an earlier post.®-is-it-deep-tissue-massage/

The world views of the client and Rolfer don’t have to agree, but they need to be agreeable. One quickly comes to mind:  The client shouldn’t aggravate me with negative talk about my client.

On another world view note, one time Julio Kuperman, M.D., sent me a client and I realized as we went through the series that she thought that Julio, whose daughter followed the family faith by receiving Bat Mitzvah, was a born again Christian, as was she.  The next time I saw him I said, “Do you know Sally (not her real name) thinks you are a born again Christian?”

He said, “I consider that once we have seen the Light, we have seen all the Light.”

This Post Has 4 Comments
    1. If Tito makes house calls, it would be for bacon, maybe for liver treats.
      He is very sensitive to bacon; as I typed the word, he looked up at me from a sound sleep.

      1. Hi. I’m ietsreetnd inrolfing for wrist/thumb injury. I have been diagnosed with tendonitis which is characterised by wrist swelling which I cannot get rid of. do you have any experience of this? I’d be very grateful to find out more- Mary

        1. Hi Mary, yes, this is in my background and experience. The wrist/thumb injury in particular is related to the small bones of the hand as well. Perhaps the interosseus membrane of the forearm and other factors are in the picture, too. But then, you have been reading these blogs enough to know that the problem can be related to other places besides the hurty spot.

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