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Shift Happens: Why Rolfing® Structural Integration Lasts

When I was writing my paper to get into the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, 1982, one of the questions was, “Speculate on the reasons why Rolfing SI lasts”.

Now, fast forward to 2011, and there is still only speculation available. Of course,
experiential and observational criteria exist, but not in an organized form, and there is no MRI, CAT, or X-Ray machine that can tell us the answer to these observations and experiences. I’m hoping that by 3011 there will be science around this, since this is not a profitable area of research by those who can fund.

In the meantime, here are 2 of the ideas around these lasting effects.

1. In terms of “Shift happening” the body is constantly recreating all of its cells.
We are talking every cell. There is death and rebirth constantly. In 5 to 7 years, depending on whom you believe, the cells will be totally turned over, and you will be an entirely different person hopefully with the same cellular makeup. The dead-cell-sloughing-off process in itself in terms of the lymph system and other waste oriented disposal systems in the body is worthy of examination, but that is not our purpose here, except to say that exercise is a major pump for the lymph system, “Use it AND Lose it” (those dead cells, haha).

This is true for the neuro-myo-fascial bundles that are the organs of structure.
Speculatively, these bundles tend to reform in the same place that they died. Speculatively, if these bundles die and reform in a place of better structure, they will reform and perpetuate the better structure.

2. Cells of the neuro-myo-fascial bundles tend to reform in their use or used pattern.
In addition, speculatively, if there is a place that the bundle has been moved to, the bundle will reform by its use or used movement pattern. This has been known for some time, and is not really a speculation for exercise physiologists, who are much into form in weightlifting, for instance, because of re-creation of pattern as the body builds.

Taking a step forward in seeing how this patterning idea could work, it is easy to see that taking away compensations for the slings and arrows of fate and re-training the movement patterns could be helpful.

In the meantime, before you run off to www.rolf.org and find a Rolfer™ in your neighborhood, here is your homework, should you choose to accept it:

Nurture those baby cells emerging with good food, clean water, exercise, and acts of loving kindness.  Your body will thank you for it.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. In terms of 1 and 2 above, can anyone imagine a suitable research project on the sustainability of Rolfing® SI? I may have a new job teaching dance in a Kinesiology department that does exercise phys research.

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