Rolfing® Structural Integration

The process of Rolfing

One thing new clients often don’t understand initially is that Rolfing is a process.  Traditional massage therapy does yield cumulative effects, but it is usually done as single sessions.  There isn’t any sort of flow between the sessions.

Rolfing is most definitely done as a process.  That is why there is such power in the 10-Series.  You could basically think of it as a one super long session.  Time does play a factor in this setup: working through the whole body from the surface to the core just physically takes a long time–that’s a lot of territory to cover.  Also, it is a learning time about your body.  You won’t understand everything the first time–just like any new activity.  It takes time to build up your skill level.  You are essentially relearning the language of body sensation, and specifically your body’s unique dialect.

As I’ve mentioned before Rolfing is also about empowering you to be able to take over some of your care.  You go to the Rolfer to get some external guidance and assistance, but the “heavy lifting” is still for you to do.  It is like school in this regard–your teacher leads you through exercises and examples, but you have to do your own homework OUTSIDE OF CLASS.  We all learn by doing, not by being told how to do something.

I recently thought of a new analogy for the Rolfing process (I do like analogies).  It is like using a swing.  Sure, you can do it entirely yourself–get those legs pumping and timings right and off you go.  However, swing your leg not on sync or shift a rhythm, and it can be hard.  The Rolfer acts like the friend helping the swinger out.  You are still learning the timing and speed, but your helper gives the push at the right time, with the right power, and right angle to keep you going.  At some point, you are fully able to take over the process yourself.

That is how Rolfing ideally works.  The Rolfer is there to help push and guide you with the correct timing and pressure, but not do the work of swinging.  Then you can later use that knowledge and guidance to keep evolving your own structure outside of and after your sessions.

Posted by Jon Grossart in Rolfing® Structural Integration, 0 comments

Holiday Time and your body

The holidays can be a challending time for people.  I’m not going to lecture anyone about overeating and underexercising.

What I will talk about is your body usage patterns.  In time of stress, people tend to revert back to their original/familiar movement patterns.  This is why when we get back around family or friends we don’t often see, everyone slips back into familiar roles, even if everyone is different away from that setting.  We feel safe in those old habits and unconsciously know that.

So, remember if you are being stressed around family and suddenly notice old body issues you thought you had dealt with coming back, take a second and take stock.  Go through any new routines you’ve learned about getting into your body, and when you are alone again (even if just at night), take those few minutes and work your way from your old patterns to your new patterns.  Your body will thank you.

Rolfing is about learning how to communicate with you body and being aware of how you use it.  Even noticing slipping that you are slipping into old habits furthers that goal.

Posted by Jon Grossart in Daily Tips, Rolfing® Structural Integration, 0 comments

Why spend more on Rolfing than a normal massage?

A recent client interested in Rolfing recently asked me this question.  And it’s a valid question, as Rolfing does generally cost more than a normal massage (at least as long as you aren’t going to a “spa”–you’d end up paying more than for a Rolfing session).

Well, several answers come to mind.  One primary difference is that Rolfing isn’t really massage, and shouldn’t be equated as such.  Massage therapy schools require their students to train in multiple modalities–Swedish, deep tissue, spa-like treatments (hot stones, salt scrubs, etc).  This results in a practitioner who has some skill at a lot of different things.  As they go into practice, they may specialize in something or take classes for even more styles.

Rolfers, on the other hand, spend their ENTIRE training learning only Rolfing.  So we come out of school being really good at one thing.  And, such specialization/depth-of-training and skill level demands a premium.

Many types of massage are geared only toward relaxation.  This is a worthwhile goal in and of itself, but it doesn’t get to the root of body issues or help you to learn new patterns.  Other types of massage are designed with more of a therapeutic mindset, but they tend to miss the mark.  Rolfing is not meant for relaxation, even though many people find it relaxing.  It is meant to transform your body and evolve your structure.  And its unique holistic approach sets it apart from anything learned in massage schools or naturopathic colleges.  Make no mistake about it–Rolfing changes your body and the mind-body connection.

And duration of the effects is probably the biggest reason why Rolfing costs more than a normal massage.  Most people, even though who love massage, admit that the relaxation or muscle relaxation usually only lasts for a couple of hours or days.  In this regard, the massage acted more like an aspirin to dull a headache.  Sometime the headache goes away on its own, and sometime you need more aspirin.

The effects of Rolfing are felt for hours, days, week, months, and even years later.  People who don’t get additional work after a 10-Series can be viewed much later, and their body will have continued to improve over time.  Rolfing isn’t an aspirin for the headache, it’s helping to resolve the headache so no aspirin is needed.

Massage can be effective, especially if the body issue is recent or temporary (like a pulled muscle).  But for deep, chronic, systemic, non-local body issues, Rolfing is the way to go.  You often would need to constantly go to a massage over and over as the effects wear off and the issue returns.  This would be penny-wise and dollar-foolish.

I’m not going to say that Rolfing is cheap, but it is cost-effective and it’s an investment in your self.  You won’t be disappointed in the return on your investment.

Posted by Jon Grossart in Rolfing® Structural Integration, 0 comments

Children’s Clinic a big success

The annual children’s clinic went well this year. It was my second year in attendance. There were four Rolfers present this year, and we were able to help 8-10 kids (you try counting when they are running all over the place).

Even though children’s bodies are still developing, Rolfing can be extremely beneficial for them. Kids are still learning how to use their bodies, and the earlier to help them find and use different options for movement, the better off they will be in the long run. It can also be surprising how much tension can be found in kid’s bodies, so Rolfing can help in that regard as well. Also, children getting therapeutic touch now (as well as loving touch and contact from their families) sets them up for much more emotional/psychological success in the future.

However, kids can’t process as much neurological input as an adult would, so sessions then to be shorter. It is also important the child want to receive the work, and not just the parent wanting them to get it. Just like any session, the client should be involved and want to be there.

Posted by Jon Grossart in Local, Rolfing® Structural Integration, 0 comments

Free Rolfer’s Childrens Clinic

Several Rolfer’s from the Portland area, myself included, will be sponsoring the annual Rolfer’s Childrens Clinic.  It will be held on Saturday, April 19th, 2008 from 9-11AM.  Generally, the mini-sessions will be 10-30 minutes in length.  And, did I mention that it’s totally FREE!!!  The treatments can be for concerns such as scoliosis, growing pains, pigeon toes, etc.   You could even use it as a trial run to see if your child would be interested in getting more sessions outside of the free clinic.

The location is to be announced, but it should be located on the near eastside of town.  If you want to make a reservation for your child, please call Karin Edwards at 503-230-0087 to schedule a time.

Posted by Jon Grossart in Local, North Star Integration, Rolfing® Structural Integration, 0 comments

Rolfing as a participatory sport

Many people like to get a massage and just zone out completely. I’ll agree…it feels nice. But you don’t learn much about yourself.

This is just one way that Rolfing is different from massage. Rolfing is essentially a participatory team sport. It is all about learning how to move differently and use your body in different, and often totally new, ways. You work in concert with your Rolfer during a session and by yourself outside of the sessions to practice this new skill. Laying on a table and having someone “go to town” of your tissue might feel good and definitely has benefits, but participation and learning are where the real power for growth and change exist.

Rolfing often does help people enter a more meditative state of mind. While it may seem like normal “zoning out”, you are still able to interact with me and do the movements of the session. Of course, sometimes people drift a little deeper, but that is usually what is needed in the moment so it’s OK.

Posted by Jon Grossart in Rolfing® Structural Integration, 0 comments

“Vogue” Magazine features Structural Integration

“Vogue” magazine has an article on Structural Integration in its March 2007 issue. It should also be noted that the practitioner in the article is NOT a Certified Rolfer. He attended the Guild for Structural Integration, which is the first school to break away from the original Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (RISI). Only practitioners that attended the RISI can be called “Rolfers” (and usually use the term “Certified Rolfer”).

Rolfing® is a form of structural integration, but not all structural integration is Rolfing.

UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that The GSI was not the first school to breakaway “per se”.  The Soma Institute and Hellerwork started earlier than the GSI.  However, the Guild was the first school (to my knowledge) to “break away” due to, shall we say, disagreement over the future of the Rolf Institute.  Ah politics.

Posted by Jon Grossart in Rolfing® Structural Integration, 0 comments

Now serving Portland!

North Star Integration is excited to be serving Portland, Oregon for it wellness needs. We currently offer Rolfing® Structural Integration by Jon Grossart, Certified Rolfer (OR LMT #13752). Please give us a call if you have any questions.

Posted by Jon Grossart in Local, North Star Integration, Rolfing® Structural Integration, 0 comments