The Ten Series of the Rolf Method of Structural Integration was developed through the work of Dr. Ida Rolf. Structural Integration is also known as "Rolfing" which is a term coined by her students based on her last name. Because of our marketing and legal trademark system, you will meet "Rolfers" and "Structural Integration Therapists" depending on the school where the therapist trained. We are all doing the same work with our own specialties of study, however, the work is the same and learned through intensive training programs. Rolfers and Structural Integration Therapists are interested in helping you live the life that is inherently YOU. The Ten Series is a very direct and efficient method of bringing your body into a naturally aligned, well-organized, balanced and more vital functioning. Many illnesses, stresses, physical problems, psychological stress and more is healed through the process.
The Ten Series is a highly refined set of manual therapy, energy work, and movement re-education which facilitates the release of long-term holding patterns of strain which have inhibited movement, disrupted correct anatomical alignment and posture, and affected overall health. The connective tissue or fascia hardens in the aging process as well as through repeated stress on the nervous system. This hardening actually strains the body and pulls the skeleton out of alignment. It also has other limiting or inhibitive affects on the vascular, neural, visceral, endocrine, lymphatic and digestive systems. During the steps of the Ten Series, the fascia or connective tissue is softened and manipulated so that the strains are released and bones can return to correct positioning. Since fascia helps support and hold all the muscles in place to the bones and all the other systems (many nerves are 50% fascia), as this tissue is softened, you will feel an immediate change to greater flexibility. You will also immediately begin to have more energy (although you might first feel very tired or exhausted but in a day or two, you will have even more energy) as thef flow of life is increased dramatically and as your whole body is becoming less hard and more relaxed from the tip of your head to the tips of your heels and toes.
The Ten Series is a highly structured set of bodywork sessions. Below I give more details on what to expect from each session. You will find that you go through a definite process of growth and maturation, both physically and psychologically during the process. My personal viewpoint is that this work is very innate to the homo sapien and very necessary for basic good health. It's something similar to the way the mother cat licks along the spine of her kitten or other warm-blooded mammals nurture, hold and touch their babies to help develop the correct nervous system and development of the body. In our culture, we are faced with some very unnatural practices of raising our young, and these deficiencies show up later in life. The Ten Series very quickly addresses some of these issues and can be a very successful and efficient alternative to counseling and other alternative healing practices. Since we are working directly with your body with very clear intention of increasing your verticality, quality of movement, structural alignment and correct posture, you will find that you are experiencing greater openness and solidity in life as well. What goes on inwardly reflects into your outer reality, and that then also changes your inner world. We are all going through processes of transformation and growth, and this process will help you grow and unfold into yourself more quickly.
Contrary to the myth, Structural Integration or Rolfing is not painful. Perhaps 40 years or more ago practitioners were more heavy handed or had not developed skills of really listening and being in touch with the tissue of the body. If I try to DO SOMETHING TO YOU using force, you will resist it and feel pain. On the other hand, if I feel into your muscles and body and am in attunement with your body, I will feel the changes your body wishes and is able to make. I FACILITATE the change that is ready to happen. This feels absolutely incredibly awesomely GOOD to you, not painful. I can work very deeply and it does not hurt. Sometimes the deepest work is done with a very light touch. Some tissues, for example the nerves or pancreas or peritoneum, is softer and more sensitive. So different touch and intensity is required so your body will relax and let go of strain patterns which are limiting your health. Sometimes, however, I do need to break through a armored plate in the fascia and that might hurt. If so, I usually warn you and we work together to manage it. Sometimes what might be painful in this session because your body is not yet ready to make that change will be ready to soften in the next.
So the most important thing to know here . . . especially if you are afraid this is going to be a painful experience . . . is that we become a team with your health and betterment of body and life as the primary goal. Structural Integration or Rolfing in the Ten Series is a very direct and fast way to a new body, a new life and much better health that I have not found repeated in any other healing modality (and I've tried almost all of them about which I know on my own journey which lead me to becoming a Structural Integrationist and Energy Healer). Many physical issues that most of us experience are direct results of basic growing up into selfhood type of problems, and through this work, you will discover a lot about yourself and make some very positive changes in your life both physically and emotionally. You will also probably delve into some of your own deeper inquiries about spirituality and the nature of life itself. Other issues about work, relationship, sexuality, marriage, raising children, elderhood and slowing down, driving cars, Pilates and exercise and more will arise in our conversations.
I truly like to take the time to get to know you, honor the path you are on in your journey with life, and to truly support you to a better life for yourself quickly. Much of my commitment to my work stems from my own personal journey which included many years in significant therapy and doing many programs from Barbara Brennan School of Healing and beyond. It's my life's work but most of us don't have that much time to delve into what I had to do to begin to heal myself. I try to bring you many developed talents and practices to help you let go of the old childhood wound patterns which don't work for you and to help you move into a new phase of life about being an adult, being who you are, and creating the life you wish to lead for yourself. I bring much training in therapy and counseling to your sessions, however, I chose a bit more informal dialogue to my healing work and not become a traditional therapist. Ultimately I feel that real healing comes through sincere and real caring for another, and our willingness to really be there for and with another. Somehow when we can reach out and share the vulnerability of our lives, we begin to touch what love might be. And love . . . just trying to reach out and touch another . . . with your heart, your skill, and your patience . . . will truly change you, others and our world.
Following here are notes on each session in particular.
The first session of Structural Integration creates space by releasing strain patterns mostly held in the superficial fascia. I am working with the whole body. There are many competing compensatory patterns developed over your life that create pain or strain in your posture. In session one, I am unwinding the most superficial of these patterns. You will notice it immediately and be able to stand more straight and move with more flexibility right away.
Specifically releasing strain in the diaphragm begins and you will find that you can begin to breath more easily and deeply. This is beneficial for us all, most of us hold our breaths unconsciously. Athletes will notice an immediate improvement in performance and breath. I am also facilitating some relaxation and new positioning in the feet and ankles, knees and hips, lower back, shoulders and arms, neck and head. The work of session one is not too deep and rarely too structural--meaning I am not quite able to signficantly re-align the positions of the bones into more correct functioning. Session One is more like clearing off the messy dining room table so we can bgin the project in session 2. However you will feel very much relaxed and renewed. Most people are significantly out of pain in one session. However the real reason for the pain has not been addressed at all. You might get a much needed respite however and you will feel a breath of hope. You will usually have a much renewed sense of yourself and what is important to you.
After the session, you will feel more light, expanded yet have more feet on the floor. Some people experience having a lot more energy while others feel tired and want to rest or nap. If you have been under a lot of stress recently, most likely you will feel the inner exhaustion you have been hiding from yourself. This first step helps you to see yourself and your stress better so you can make adjustments in your life.
There is usually a wave after each session. At first you will feel more expanded and alive. Then you go through a stage of resting or integrating. As that draws to a close, you will often dip into some emotional or physical material which must be dealt with, felt or helped so that you can live at the level of expansion you felt in the beginning. Sometimes old injuries or little pains arise as if from nowhere. The body has a way of closing itself down or off if there is too much injury. As I begin to work with you, some of these places which have not resolved themselves or fully healed might surface. As I also help unwind holding patterns in your breath and around the heart, you might also experience deeper emotional catharsis or walls of fear which have become so much apart of you that you don't even realize you are projecting them into real life. Matter a fact, we are all doing this. It's called armoring and we all have armoring to protect ourselves from the sheer vulnerability and pain of life. As we begin our work, you will find that you are processing old emotions and experiences with which you were not able to deal when you were younger.
After session 1 . . .
This is a good time to journal about the things you might like to do in your life which you have not yet done. It's also a time to begin to talk to yourself about the lies you've told yourself or the ways in which you aren't really real with yourself and others. You begin to look at the veneer or facade you have developed in order to survive.
If you like to do ceremony for yourself, this is a good time to set an intention for the Ten Series and how you wish it to transpire in your life. If you have been hesitating from trying something new like a new artform, martial arts or dance, pilates or swimming or some other athletic endeavor, beginning a cleanse or diet, planning a long needed vacation with your spouse, beginning a new business . . . this is a great time to look into what is possible for yourself.
Session one is a lot about new hope, expansion outside of your existing routine or judgment of life, and beginning to see that you have created your own problems . . . and there is a way out!
Session 2 begins the real structural work with corrections in the lower leg. I am beginning foundation work with the tibia and fibula, as well as how they connect to the calcaneous and navicular bones of the ankle joint. I am beginning to work the fascia of the lower leg from the achilles tendon, around the heel and into the underside of the foot, including all the toe joints. I am also easing tension along the knees and beginning to adjust the knee joint, with some possible work up to the hips/femur ball joint. I am beginning to work with the muscles of the lower leg to release the tensions and compensatory patterns you use to balance everything above, including your head!
In general, the deepest work of this session is in the releasing of the planar fascia of the foot and softening all the toe joints, fascia and muscles. It is deep and it feels incredibly good! Pulled up toes and bunyons start to be softened and changed. The foot and body is far more platic and malleable (changeable) than you probably think. I can erase years of bad shoes and injuries in this session. I will need to make more substantial changes in the core sessions, but I do a lot in session 2.
From a structural point of view, this is a critical session. Other issues in your body will only be able to resolve to the same extent as I can readjust the foundation of the body. Every rotation in the body affects the lower leg, knees and feet. Your body has to adjust to compensate for all mis-alignments above. Hence any accidents or trauma you have had, shows up in the feet. By beginning to re-establish proper foot and ankle mobility and alignment, the upper parts of the body will begin to adjust as well.
An analogy for this session is like working on the foundation of a house. Often the problems that show up in the ceiling of the second floor are a result of a structural problem in the foundation in the basement.
If you were thinking of getting a new pair of walking or running shoes, sometime in the next few sessions is a good time. Otherwise you will put your "new feet" back into the pattern we are correcting. Many of my clients have stopped wearing orthotics after and during a Ten Series. Other clients are sure they have one leg shorter than the other when in fact usually it's just a rotation in the hip. This starts to change even in session one. My experience is that orthodics actually end up creating more of a problem than solving one.
After this session you will usually feel very grounded (like being heavy on the earth) but your step will have a lot of lightness. As the foot bed opens and becomes more anatomically correct width, men's hips can begin to widen to their natural girth and women are able to begin to relax into their hips. Because of our shoes from early ages, we have compromised our pelvic and shoulder girdles greatly. This also affects our natural response as being mature men and women. The body which cannot correctly inhabit its anatomically correct structure is inhibited in its natural physical maturity.
Psychologically you will most likely experience much greater ease of walking through the hurtles in your life with this session. Put your feet underneath you, and you remember how to walk and deal with the basic life problems.
Session one opens the front of the body, and session two opens the back. Lower back strain is greatly released in this session.
The main structural component of this session is release of the diaphragm and fascial strain at T12. I am also working with the side vertical line through the body, bringing balance from the parietal suture of the head through the shoulder/elbow/hands, hips, knees and ankle. The IT band will be softened more (we began this in session 1), as well as ankle flexion and extension. Shoulder strain is released often in the armpit, as well as release along the thoracic spine and sternum. I often work more deeply with the intercostal muscles bringing much greater ease of breath. This is wonderful for anyone pursuing an athletic endeavor or singing! This session also works with the obliques, quadratus lumborum, and sometimes perietal fascia of the abdomen. It allows for greater articulation between the hip girdle and thorax.
There is a lightness and wholeness to this session. I call it Grace. You have a sense of who you are in a new way. It also opens up a whole new dimension in your body -- the side! Yoga students and teachers often work to open the side (side body long) and this session does just that. Women tend to get better waists! There is a new sense of knowing where the line is for you. Not too far back or in your past, not too far into planning a future. It's rather a "be here now" sort of session and having a sense of really who you are. It's a very "I" session which also allows a new development of understanding of relationship with others.
For you can only have as deep or clear of a relationship with others as you have with yourself. Session 3 brings a lot of clarity to who you are and the line or intention of your own life.
I often do more energetic work with the Hara Line (your energetic line of purpose or incarnation) with this session. Sometimes I might dip into past lives or core star clearing or cord work with parents if these issues seem to be limiting who you are right now.
There is a sense of Peace with this session. I think of it as the Session of Grace. You have a new sense of who you are, where you want to go for the next epoch of your life, and a balance between grounded-in-the-reality of now with a growing sense of expansion, lightness and clarity. The past and the future are more evenly refined in the now moments of your life.
These sessions will create more significant change in your life as I begin to release the long-held strain patterns around the pelvic girdle, ball-socket joint of the femur, psoas release work into the diaphram, release deeper strains in the thorax and release the shoulder girdle from the thorax. The sacrum and spine, with its many vertebrae, discs and important spring-like curve, is also released and the energy from the pelvic girdle begins to rise and clear deep seated emotions, patterns, blocks and physical issues. In session 7, there is deep work on the arms, releasing strain to the thorax and shoulders and which also limits proper back, leg and foot movement. In session 7, work is also done intraorally to release strain in the TM joint and align the cranium to the cervicals and spine.
Psychologically and spiritually, the core session will find you searching further within and wrestling with deeper resistances which limit you from claiming your own life. You will be aligning the will of the personal small ego with a larger sense of the Divine Will or Hara Incarnational Purpose that is implicit in every life. Session Three gives you a sense of yourself and ease so you know where you really stand and where you wish to go. Sessions 4 though 7 find you opening the core of your body to release long held tensions, restructure it, and help the body live with much more clarity of intention, mind and heart.
Session 4 works with the Inner Line, that means the line on the inside of the legs which connects the deep pelvic floor down through the foot where the calcaneous rests on the ground.