This was the headline for a recent LA Times article. It shows how we make choices in our lives based on the “end of history illusion” that makes us sure that the Megadeath tattoo we got when we were a teen would still make us happy ten or fifteen years later. One of the hardest things in life to embrace is the notion of change, such as changing tastes or values, but also related to aging, and the cumulative effects of life on our system. Why not invest in a positive change, for yourself? One that actually helps you be more resilient in response to injury and the stiffening, slowing and compound effects of stress in body/mind? Rolfing® Structural Integration is a structured process for positive, transformational change. Embrace life! Adapt! Be more fluid, graceful and present, even as you stand your ground! Food for thought folks…
Bad example, re Miles Davis, though ;~>
Smiles happen! Things work better. You feel connected yet able to move parts of your body independently. It feels like the brakes have been taken off of your wagon. You have more energy. You can feel more focused and centered inside while doing movement, large and small, and more at ease in stillness. Your balance improves, and especially your inner gyroscope that feeds mini adjustments inside of a fine motor movement. This can range from a dynamic balancing within a dancer’s pirouette to finding a way to stand on a ladder and reach overhead without straining the neck. Relationships are easier to sort out, because it allows us to better maintain a sense of ourselves while reaching out to others. Even where there has been tissue damage due to accident, injury or surgery, pain is lessened and we can heal faster.The body likes this state!
The purpose of my work with clients is improved function. I do not seek to release every knot, or soften every tight spot. That approach leaves people just feeling like a mush pile – not “mobilized” or more responsive. As a client, you want to feel empowered and more available to life and movement by treatments. Sometimes that can only be achieved with the practitioner using a lot of force to mobilize a really stuck area. I’m thinking of patellar ligaments, vastus intermedius muscles ( deep quads), even the sacroiliac joint. Sometimes a really light touch will be required, along with work to activate and re-coordinate a joint, limb or even a type of movement like sitting or standing, or even breathing. This will especially be the type of contact I will use where there is pain, because so often the painful are has already been overstretched by nearby, or even by distant muscle, fascia, and joint pulls through the body.A painful area will most often lead to work on impinged and inflamed nerves in the are of pain, and to work to re-awaken awareness and coordination through very simple exploratory movement ideas that I offer to clients.
An interesting example: treating flat feet. Proper mobilization of the bones of the ankle and foot can literally allow a dropped arch to lift and do its job! No amount of just rubbing on that arch, because it is “the problem” would have helped it do that, though. My practitioner’s eye and sensitivity have to be on function – keeping the mind on the purpose of the work – more than on “the problem”.
It’s always interesting to notice what happens when we release the body into a more normal dynamic functioning. When the ribs and shoulders are tense and stuck, they act to destabilize your balance, by pulling you off line, as well as add resistance in your hips to movement-including hip flexion and extension. Strong attachments between the spine, ribs and pelvic girdle, including but not limited to iliopsoas, quadratus lumborum, latisimus dorsi and illiocostalis muscles, help do this, I believe. Also, once my shoulders, ribs and spine in the upper and middle-back regions are released and better balanced, it just feels to me like the whole system is lifted and floating above the hips. This can be likened to evening out all of the strains in a tent so that it it can be brought up to its full height. ( This last can be seen as one of the goals of Rolfing® Structural Integration.)
Here’s a really simple exercise to achieve this, inspired by my training in Rolf Movement® Integration with teachers like Mary Bond, Ashuan Seeow, Lael Keen and Larry Koliha. It can be done best in pairs, but you can do it solo easily too. Laying on your back on the floor with knees bent, hold a light piece of wood (preferably a 1/2 inch diameter dowel about 10 inches or so long) across the body with its tip on the floor. Very slowly reach across your body. The goal is to twist, with the head still and shoulders relaxed, first feeling for opening across the deltoid region of the arm/shoulder, then releasing the shoulder blade off of the ribs, then the ribs of of the spine, then allow the head to turn, at first allowing only the top vertebrae to twist and moving a it lower. Keep the hips and pelvis relaxed and pretty still ( but not tense!). I like to work back and forth between stages of articulation, as in between the shoulders/ribs, between the ribs spine, and upper to mid spine. The dowel rod helps give a little bit of weight to this across the body reach, and is a convenient way for your partner to gently pull you into more spiral without strain. Slower is better. Don’t strain. Think of the dowel as an extension of your breath and of your awareness, a bit like a blind person’s cane. It should feel good. You can alter the angle of the arm so that it is higher away from or closer to the floor, as desired. The main idea: ribs like to release in twist or side bending movements, and we use this twist to also release the shoulder girdle off of the ribs and spine, where lots of uneven tensions from the arms and shoulders can throw off your movement. After doing one side, get up and try some arm movements. Then try them on one leg. You will notice how balancing the tone in your shoulder, ribs and spine improves your balance. Try some extensions. Your back may feel more forward; better placement here frees the hip joint in movements that emphasize flexion ( front extension), abduction ( side extension) and hip/spine extension ( arabesque).
So I was running down the mountain ( Mt. Sanitas trail-very steep!) in Boulder and my foot got wedged between two rocks. There was a resounding pop (!), but without the massive burning pain of ligaments being torn ( fortunately) that I know well from several bad dance-related sprains. So I limped down the hill, got my foot into cool mountain-fed stream and then did a little soft-tissue training on the muscles, tendons, ligaments on my left foot and ankle. Today-two days hence-is the first day of real swelling, but I have been resting it, icing it, and it is well taped. My point is, even after this relatively bad sprain, I am still walking better than I did before I got the foot surgery to alleviate a bad case of hallux rigidus ( a large, vertically-oriented bone spur on the big toe to metatarsal joint). To me, this points out not just the value of the surgery ( called a cheilectomy, as it removes a lip of bone ( cheil is the greek root for lip, I am told). It points to the value of subtle Rolf Movement® re-education of gait-that senses contact through the “eye of the foot”, nestles the ground, articulates naturally through the foot in a spiralling motion, then culminates in a full toe-off through the big toe. I am confidant that the work to gently re-align the tissues will help shorten the healing time, too.