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Rolfing®”Recipes”: the basic goals

I have been in some intensely motivated times/places in my life. One that comes to mind was a week in Stratford, Ontario, Canada during the Vietnam War.  Outside, in the United States, students were rioting.

In Stratford Ontario, we 40 oboe students were sitting in the YWCA or the YMCA, depending, making oboe reeds.  We were comparing our scrapes, our shapers of cane, our crows, our playing certain excerpts, and we were very intense about it.

There was not much disagreement, and when there was, it was easy to have evidence based disagreement. Most could agree that certain reeds went better with certain instruments and/or performers and music.

Of course, the evidence had to do with subjective preference, and we were all willing to acknowledge that.  That subjective preference was at a high level; everyone there could play the required repertoire for the class, a lot of Strauss, Schuman, Bach, etc.

When Rolfers™ get together there is also the intense subjectivity of the interpretation of the standards of practice which Ida Rolf left behind with regard to how and what to do to integrate a human being.  Especially when this argument takes place online or in backbiting gossip, it is often clear that not much reality based evidence is brought forward.  Often the coup de gras is quickly administered: “I heard Ida Rolf personally say…..”  Of course, it was a private communication, lol.

One such fight has to do with “non-formulaic” integration vs. “recipe” based integration.  Rolfers who support “non-formulaic” are like “How can you do something so codified when everybody knows that everybody is different!” , and Rolfers for the ancienne regime “recipe” scream “See I told you so, these upstarts are trying to throw out the baby with the bath water!

Sometimes I’d just like to scream, “Nerd Fight!  Get out the books, rulers, and pocket protectors!”

Show me someone who is so hung up on the basic plan that they are doing the “3 strokes down the fascia lata” of the 1955 classes, and I’ll show you someone that is not paying real attention to their client.  Not only that, they missed the point of the individual attention that is provided in the goals of the recipe as Ida Rolf taught the plans in later years, and as the plans have become even more sophisticated since as they have evolved.

Show me someone who is so hung up on being “non-formulaic” and avoiding the use of the “recipe” and I’ll show you someone who is constantly “fixing” stuff without really understanding integrational goals of their client.  And—-often overweeningly proud of it:  “I haven’t done the recipe in years.”  Truth is, if they ever learned the goals, it is vewwy vewwy difficult not to use them, even if one is trying to be anti-authoritarian.

Most folks that come in for the standard basic 10 series are not playing Bach, they are playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star in terms of integration of their bodies.  They need the basic integrational goals. These goals were a brilliant concept in 1955 and they are a brilliant sophisticated concept now.  They can include any level of integrational advancement.

Fortunately in Rolfing trainings nowadays, and I have visited classes at the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, there is still attention paid both to the original thoughts of the recipe and the ideas behind it, and how to work with the goals of the recipe so that each client gets what they want and need, at a basic level of the goals.

But—-this argument haz legs and I’m not putting my rulers and pocket protectors up on Craig’s List just yet.


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