Ah, Rolfing…what the heck is happening to me?
The changes that we feel after a Rolfing session are incredibly difficult to put into words. The difference is often more perceptual than anything else. The ground is still there, but maybe it’s in a new place. My legs are still under me, but they stack easier. The feet are more sturdy. The shoulders hang easier. Lifting my head is natural. My neck feels as long as a giraffes’.
You are often left with a sense of giddiness after being worked on. Its as if the changes are unreal. There is initially a feeling that change shouldn’t be so easy. There must be more involved. Making changes should require work, but this is so natural. It’s…the lack of work. Its ease.
With ease comes a confidence to do something cool. Wow! My legs are so solid. I bet I could bound through the forrest until my lungs burn! You leave the session with a desire to stretch, move, bend, flex and extend into areas of the body that have long been dormant. That morning yawn never felt so good!
So why does Rolfing do this to us?
To understand what’s happening we need to understand fascia. Fascia is the body’s connective tissue. It is there to give the body form. It is often referred to as the organ of shape. Imagine a sausage. The fascia would be the casing or skin on the outside. Without this casing the sausage would have no shape.
Everything in the body is encased in fascia. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, nerve lines, blood lines, organs, even skin all have a fascial barrier that separates it from its neighbor. Whereas this barrier layer gives everything the ability to move independently, it can also get stuck. When it gets sticky, things stop moving independently and start adhering to each other.
Stretching your hamstrings is much more difficult if one of them is stuck to the calves. No amount of stretching will actually give full length since the muscle is fine, its the wrapping of the muscle that has the adhesion. This is much more difficult to address on our own. This is where a fascial worker or Rolfer can do wonders.
Separating fascial layers is much like peeling a sticker off of a piece of glass. It requires the right amount of force in the right direction with the correct intention. The feeling of fascia separating can be uncomfortable right up until the fascia starts to change. Once the bond within the fascia starts to peel away from its neighbor there is a welcomed sense of freedom in the tissue. As soon as that happens, voila! the hamstring suddenly extends into a range of motion that it hasn’t seen for a long time.
Rolfing is traditionally a series of ten sessions, a 10-Series, that looks to align the body in gravity from feet to head. We achieve this by systematically going through the body and cleaning out these fascial adhesions. The body wants to be long. The body wants to be stacked against gravity, but often it has become ‘hooked’ on its own structure.
In a Rolfing® 10-Series we unhook it.