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Newsletter - Volume 1 by W. Patterson, MD

I am starting a monthly newsletter in hopes of explaining more of the growth, awareness and levels of physical well-being possible from Rolfing.

There is an unsubscribe button at the bottom of the newsletter available at any time. There is also a subscribe button available to anybody else that may be interested.

What Rolfing Offers
Rolfing is a hands-on manipulation of the body, especially fascia, ligaments, tendons and bone. Its goal is to integrate the human structure and to improve the body’s relationship to gravity. It deeply affects the neurological motor control of muscles and also the sensory input from our physical structure.

Even though this sensory and motor function typically is mostly unconscious, Rolfing increases aware of it, thereby improving the ability to self monitor. This conveys an enhanced ability to maintain a hygiene of the day’s tensions and fatigues.

In the initial 10 series, each session addresses different postural, organizational and integrative principles of human structure. Each session is integrative and synergistic with the other sessions.  Sessions 1-3 work on the body’s exterior organization.  Sessions 4-7 organize more interior structure and function.  Sessions 8-10 organize arms to spine and leg to spine function and interior to exterior (results of sessions 1-3 to the results of sessions 4-7).

On the physical level, coordination, stamina, posture and physical symmetry improves.

On the neurological level, sensory input and motor output improves.

People feel more grounded which implies a sensation of more security on their feet. Explaining it falters compared to experiencing it. This improved foundation supports other movements. In fact, every movement habit then has to reorganize itself to the new resource of increased groundedness. This happens automatically but it takes time. Someone changes are felt immediately upon arising from Rolfing table, some change happens over the next few days but the movement habit remodeling continues over weeks and months.

Movement Hygiene
Pelvic rocking is a homework assignment I give to many of my clients. It is very simple yet very powerful in its effect and utilizes a basic movement principle ( flexion and extension) beautifully.

How To Do Pelvic Rocking (click here to view video)
Lie on your back, knees bent with the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Roll your pelvis back and forth (head to toe, not sideways) as if rolling the sacrum along the floor. Think of lifting the coccyx (tip of sacrum) toward the ceiling, alternating with raising the 5th lumbar vertebra toward the ceiling. Go as slowly and smoothly as you can. This slow smoothness should improve with practice, usually rapidly.

This improves the flexion and extension coordination of the lumbar spine and utilizes muscles from the ribs to the knees. 
Common mistakes include going too fast, inattention, not focusing enough to improve the smoothness, not finding meaning in the exercise.

Many people are used to doing repetitions in order to strengthen. This exercise uses mindful repetition to improve coordination. Coordination should precede strengthening. Gentle, focused effort is the most productive. Small releases in many different muscle sites should become apparent. Try to feel each lumbar vertebra finding and rising from the floor in order.

With practice, the lumbar coordination improves dramatically. This can keep your low back in good coordination which is likely to reduce the chance of minor low back strain from lifting incidents. Advanced practice relaxes and coordinates the spine from the coccyx to the occiput. In many cases, energetic flow along the spine becomes apparent.

Rolfing Stories
In preparation for my Rolfing training, I had seen a Rolfing movement practitioner the required 10 times. Not much came of it. Once in Boulder, I decided to see a Rolf movement practitioner instructor to see if I was missing anything. She taught me how to do pelvic rocking. I did it and did not notice much. She told me to keep going. I did it and began to feel more of my muscles adjusting very slightly. After a short while of doing this I bored once again and protested. She encouraged me to keep going. I kept going but this time focused more on the small muscular changes I was experiencing.  After a while my mind dropped into a very relaxed place. Then a very unusual experience occurred. My sacrum seemed to move on its own. There was an automatic rhythm to my sacral movements that emerged. It was as if my sacrum was a leaf that had just freed itself from its branch and was floating slowly in the air, rocking back and forth. I felt the kundalini energy move up my backbone for the first time. Time was irrelevant. After I left her treatment room, I thought through what I had read about spine and yoga experiences from a very different perspective.