The Body-Mind Relationship

Q What is your decision - making process around the use of movement ? whether movement cues, Rolf MovementĀ® work, or any other movement? When and how do you use movement in your practice?
Year: 2010


Q What is your decision - making process around the use of movement ? whether movement cues, Rolf MovementĀ® work, or any other movement? When and how do you use movement in your practice?

A I always check to see if I am dealing with a fixation in perception/coordination (inhibition) or a fixation in the tissues (lesion). If it is a lesion, I proceed to do tissue work using a wide spectrum of touch and structural techniques. If it is an inhibition, I also proceed to first do tissue work for a very simple reason: the sense of touch can also present inhibitions. (So, even if we are ?not into movement work? we are still working with perception, one of the elements of movement work). My intention then is to awaken certain tissues from the state of diminished participation in the aliveness of that person. Because most of the time we are dealing with inhibitions rather than lesions, I use movement in different proportions almost in every session. However, my decision-making process always takes into consideration the context, the basic way of being of my client, and his goals. The question that comes next is: what approach of the functional work is the best for this specific client with his specific issue and wishes? At this point it is helpful to clarify that just as the structural work has many possibilities of approach (more towards visceral manipulation, craniosacral, nerve release, biomechanics, etc.), so does the functional work: more towards simple movement cues (in my experience not always so effective), more proprioceptive-oriented, more evocative of the motility of the tissues, more Tonic- Function-oriented, more meaning-oriented, or various combinations of those. Add to these different approaches the creativity and discoveries of each practitioner and you have a wide range of possibilities of different styles. I acknowledge, value, and employ all of the approaches, although my particular interest and passion is with the Tonic Function model, potentialized whenever possible by the meaningexploration model, as long as the client expresses an inclination for that. I prefer the Tonic Function model for very practical reasons: life is about movement, and this movement is toward others and things. That means that the quality of movement is toward the outside, which requires orientation in space, which in its turn depends on perception (how we use our senses), which goes together with coordination (the sequence of firing of different muscles in a given action). I understand and value the evocation of tissue motility, but for me this kind of movement is more basic (in the sense that even a person under general anesthesia or in a coma has motility). I am more interested in movements that are under the influence of orientation, and the structures of meaning (the psychology of the person), coordination and myofascia (or if you prefer, neuromyofascia). For me, to work like this is like writing poetry: the part you see is the form, the hidden part is the substance. In the functional work, the hidden part is the APA (anticipatory postural activity) that reveals the gaps in the client?s perception and coordination. In order to fill in the gaps I find the client?s pre-movement that gives me good hints about what is missing in his coordination and perception. Another reason why I like working with movement is a socio-cultural one. I think that the more sedentary and suburban we get, the more distant we get from our ?animal? or primal nature and the more cerebral/mental we get. Even though as social beings we need cerebral/mental people to provide us with technicalities that sustain our lives as civilized beings, that is not where I can offer my best contribution to society. In this business I think that the more technical we get the greater are the chances of missing the point: instead of seeing the person we see her problem. Now, I don?t mean that it isn?t valid or necessary to treat the problem. Sometimes that?s exactly what the person needs. But it is not there that I like to work. I like to be present each instant of the person?s movement, witnessing the moment she reveals her secret to me so that I can remind her of what she already knows but has forgotten about herself. I like to look at the person with compassionate eyes and welcome her with her imperfect patterns of perception and coordination, thus evoking more aliveness and possibilities in her system, celebrating the beauty of her body that after the work is more free from the unnecessary restrictions of myofascial fixations as well as of perception and coordination. I work with movement whenever the context is auspicious to try to evoke and promote that, which in her way of being, honors her particular physical beauty, the richness of her character, and the reality of her imperfections. All while being quite aware that nothing is perfect, nothing lasts forever, and nothing is finished.

Monica Caspari RolfingĀ® Instructor Rolf MovementĀ® Instructor

A My manual interventions are always in the service of movement. I?m not very interested in structure per se, so my sessions always include functional and perceptual work, whether integrated into manual therapy or introduced separately at the beginning or end of the session. My vision of beautiful, efficient and integrated movement is a combination of Hubert Godard?s Tonic Function work and Gael (Ohlgren) Rosewood and David Clark?s Natural Walking model. I use the client?s walking to assess where she deviates from my vision, also taking into account her complaints, whether physical or aesthetic, and how she uses her body in daily life. I notice where dynamic expression of the central line is blocked, and how that affects the helical movements of locomotion. Most people have developed an ?emergency support system? ? a set of ways to feel stable under stress. I use Rolf Movement interventions, Pilates, yoga, or anything else I might concoct to help them find alternative sensations of security. Usually this strategy facilitates freer contralateral gait.

Mary Bond Rolf Movement Instructor

A This question stalled my brain. It?s a trick question, right? I realized my ?duh? moment was triggered by the fact that I think movement work is inseparable from structural integration. It?s a bit like asking, ?When do you use the holism principle?? As a Rolfer?, I shift my lens from macro to micro to macro a lot, but holism is never far from my mind. Movement is one of the ways I accomplish this. Movement addresses the whole person. So I asked myself, ?When do I refrain from using movement?? Sure, there are times in a session when I?m not asking my client to move or think about sensation. Sometimes a client comes in and due to personal problems, illness, or a bad night?s sleep, it?s obvious that he doesn?t have a lot of resources that day. If he seems overly challenged, I may not incorporate movement as much. On the other hand, bringing his attention fully to the session and his experience might be the best thing. So I?ll generally use movement, and if I?m getting a message that my client is getting overloaded, I?ll request less. Additionally, if I am using structural techniques and feeling a lot of change happening, it is unlikely that I?m going to add another factor like movement cues. Obviously, the conditions are already appropriate for creating change ? it?s happening. To me, a lot about Rolfing work is noticing when things are working and not getting in the way. But, if I am working manually and don?t feel the softening, sliding, or release that I am looking for, before trying a completely different technique, I will add movement. Often this is the traditional approach of ?put the tissue where you want it and call for movement.? Any cue that gets the tissue moving under my touch is welcome, and the more of the client?s whole body that gets involved, the better. And there is no rule for what type of movement techniques I use. Use what you?ve embodied ? that?s what you?ll be able to communicate well, and when one approach doesn?t work, be willing to try another until you see something click with your client. But this is a myopic view of movement work. Actually any exchange with your client that addresses sensation, perception, or coordination is movement work. This is why it seems unlikely for me to do a session without some use of this approach. It rarely seems disruptive to ask the client to notice what is happening or to describe what she is feeling. Just asking clients to observe changes in the body is causing remapping and affecting function. So when do I use movement? I use it to: 1. Encourage tissue to shift 2. Make my job easier 3. Refine clients? sensory and perceptual skills 4. Help clients integrate structural changes 5. Interrupt long-held body patterns 6. Prepare clients for upcoming session goals 7. Help clients who feel off-balance after receiving work reconnect and reorganize 8. Respond to client requests for homework or ?ways to get the most out of our sessions? 9. Work with clients experiencing posttraumatic events 10. Address balance issues, scoliosis, weak core connections, and more. Recently, I was speaking with a practitioner who attended another school of structural integration (SI) and who had taken no movement training. The practitioner wanted my opinion regarding a new client. In the first session, the client said he had received a lot of SI work in the past, but that it didn?t hold. The practitioner stated that the client?s joints were hypermobile, with an anteriorly shifted pelvis, and G posterior to G? (my translation). The practitioner felt that the client was already ?very stretchy,? and wondered about the wisdom of doing another series. What would I do? It sounded to me like this person had been taken apart (by habits, activities, accidents, bodywork, life) but had not been put back together. I was honest that, in a case like this, my sessions would likely be heavily weighted toward Rolf Movement Integration and awareness work. Although there are likely to be structural issues still involved, it sounded like the client needs someone to help him find a different way of being in his body. Rolf Movement work is excellent for this. But I couldn?t go into the details (noticing breath, feeling support, sensing lift and weight, lengthening in opposing directions, connecting through core, crosslateral motion, etc.) because the practitioner hadn?t learned how to use movement work to address function. This is where I feel the Rolf InstituteĀ® really shines. By incorporating movement education from our basic training on, we are increasing the likelihood that Rolfers will seamlessly combine structural and functional work to address the whole person. This makes me happy: I don?t want to be the only one who thinks this is a trick question.

Bethany Ward Rolfing Instructor

A The term ?Rolf Movement? for me is synonymous with functional activation. Anytime I am looking at a client, either in her approach to my office door, walking in, or standing for the body analysis, I am asking myself, ?How does this person function in gravity with every movement she makes to be a human being throughout her unique day?? I begin these functional questions and activities from the very beginning of the session. Knowing what is relevant for the client in his physical choices all day is crucial for how I use the functional cues. I ask the client very direct questions on how he moves, how he wants to move, how he doesn?t move anymore, and how he used to move. Throughout the session, I make the decision to ask for actual movements based on the effect I am looking for in my structural/fascial work. For instance, if I am working in the rib cage, I need to see arm movements to feel and see the fascial planes in the rib cage being affected or not by my structural work. There are times I ask for movements that may do nothing, so I change the movement I ask for. I am looking for span and opening most of the time. I am looking for ease, not effort. Sometimes I?m working with the functional education of the client?s nervous system. This means I watch how she initiates the movement I ask for. Does she ?gear up,? overly activate many structures for a simple task, quit breathing, or any other ?gotta perform? motions? I will then work with her pre-movements, teaching ways to move with less effort and a lengthening rather than an intense contracting. I often use grounding through the feet ? knees up or feet on a wall ? to keep an integrated function throughout the body. When the client is deeply experiencing an internal state I may choose to not ask for actual physical movements but rather an internal sensing and noticing ? which for me is also a functional awareness. Almost always, I will ask how the work we did can carry over into clients? lives functionally, either in the physical, emotional, or psychological realm. For me, the decision to use functional cues creates the groundwork for the permanence of structural work.

Valerie Berg Rolfing Instructor

A During a Rolfing session, I tend to use Rolf Movement principles and practice any time that they serve the client and facilitate my work. It is a win-win action for the client and for me. Asking the client to execute a movement helps me to see the coordination, how the body parts respond or prevent the movement, and when there is a missing direction. I can address my interventions using this information. For the client, moving is a great tool to bring consciousness to some ?forgotten? body parts, to discover a different coordination, to release a holding tension by bringing action into the held area. For instance, a movement cue might raise these questions for the client: ?where is my left ankle joint??, ?does it move up and down??, ?how can I keep reaching with my heel while the toes are moving up??, and, finally, ?what happens to my leg when I move at the ankle?? Movement itself helps to reduce pain in those cases where pain is due to a ?frozen? area in the body. It may also help to negotiate the interaction between Rolfer and client, and help the person to feel more engaged with what I am doing and feel more active instead of passive. When asking for movement, it has to be simple, understandable, and accessible for the client. Better to show or explain the movement in advance, or to do it passively. Another movement aspect that I often use during sessions is breathing. The movement of the breath starts inside the body. It helps clients to perceive the inner space and to connect the outer and inner dimensions of the body, at various levels, from physical to emotional. Using the in-breath, we can reach areas that move less (for instance, the upper or lower ribs, floor of the pelvis, thoracic inlet). With the out-breath we can evoke the sense of letting go, resting, and feeling weight so as to explore the sense of support, grounding, and ?backing.? I use movement cues also at the beginning and end of sessions: directing the client?s awareness to what I am observing and sensing during the body reading and movement analysis helps to engage him in the orchestration of the session. For example, ?How do you sense the contact of your feet with the ground as you stand and walk?? could be a question at the beginning of the Second Hour of the Rolfing Ten Series. At the end of the session, movement can be helpful for clients to recognize and own the changes in such a way that they are personally meaningful. Very often placing my hands on specific parts of the body is enough to bring the client?s awareness to a specific area, to integrate the changes in gravity, and to find closure for the session. Our hands can contain, or give support or direction, to reorient the client into vertical organization while embodying a new pre-movement.

Pierpaola Volpones Rolfing Instructor Rolf Movement Instructor

A It does not matter whether you call it movement cues, Rolf Movement Integration, or any other ?movement.? What matters is that we do Rolfing Structural Integration to free the body, to allow an easy flow of movement through the body, a continuous and easy flow under the laws of gravity. Choosing between bringing further awareness through movement and/or doing structural work is like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Cornelia Rossi Rolfing Instructor Rolf Movement Instructor

A The measure of our work is in the execution of movement. Static posture has some teaching value but is largely irrelevant to life. How does a client meet a particular demand? Does the body lengthen and become more spacious as it encounters demand, or does it contract through the application of effort? Does the walk offer all planes of movement and an axis free of girdles? Does stability occur in the context of broad orientation to weight, space, and directionality, or through repetition of defensive strategies? I look at the client?s body walking, sitting to standing, and doing the movements that she does in life. I explain from the start that we are working together to create happy accidents of coordinative improvement by mobilizing fascia and by shifting the initiation of the movement. Each moment is a chance to bring the client?s awareness to the composition of the movement. Is the client alive to the map of his body? Is the client receiving the sensory experience of his support? Is the client allowing the support to do the work? In each question come the choices about directing the movement on the table or sitting or upright. Is the client able to feel the contrast between efforted movement and movement that lengthens the body? Fascial mobilization occurs in the context of these inquiries. One advantage is that clients are less likely to have any illusions that my job is to fix their problems through manual release of tissue. Rather, I encourage clients to notice that their coordination is part of an ongoing project that includes ongoing self-care and perceptual skill.

Kevin Frank Rolf Movement Instructor

A The decision-making process in a therapeutic context is a fascinating and complex process. It is a circumstance in which we must decide on a course of intervention, implement it, evaluate it, and then start all over again on an ongoing basis. We are faced with unique situations in every single instance. What worked in a particular session for another client may or may not work with this client. Strategies and techniques that worked with this client in the past may not prove beneficial in every particular instance. So, when addressing when or how to use movement in a session, there is a complex array of factors to consider. Our journey as Rolfers is to progressively refine our ability to discern what is really happening and to act on it. First, when strategizing a session, I have to consider what it is that I would like to have happen. Having a clear idea about the desired outcome of the intervention is important. In most bodies, there is more apparently stuck tissue than there is time to address. If I am clear about what the functional goal is, I can limit the amount of tissue I need to interact with to get the job done. I find it useful to remember that my touch is actually teaching the client. If I muddle the ?lesson? with a lot of redherring touches, I find clients need more help integrating (tracking at the end of the session, etc.). So, by keeping the small and large goals of each session in mind, I can work more efficiently and effectively. If, for example, I am looking for more extension in the leg in a Fourth Hour, I need to address what is restricting this movement. Is the leg restricted due to internal rotation (important to correct for full extension through the pelvis)? Is the leg restricted from extension by the hip flexors? I find that a liberal use of movement in my sessions is helpful to both myself and my clients. I tend to use smaller movements, at least at first, and to focus on the successful initiation of the movement with ease and length through the body. Once my assessment is done, I choose a position of working that allows me access to the area to be addressed and also allows for the movement that I desire to evoke. Then, once I have determined the nature of the movement I want to develop and the general location of the area that I would like to participate more in the movement, I can place my hands in the tissue. At this point, I may feel that I can easily move through the tissue and release it sufficiently for the body to take over the integration process, or I may feel that the tissue will require so much input on my part that I would like to recruit my client into the process in an active way. My preference is generally to get the most function from the client with the least amount of input from me. There are times when a considerable amount of pressure is required to open an area, and I will generally have the client use movement to facilitate the process. Sometimes, I feel there is a lack of resistance in the tissue under my hands. This may happen in hypermobile structures or in an area where the client is less present. In these situations, I take my hands off the tissue, teach the initiation of the basic movement that I want to see, and then return to the area, asking for the movement intermitently as I work. In this way, I am educating the neuromuscular system as I release (or support) the tissue. I prefer to teach the movement before I intervene with my hands because I find that people can learn more quickly without the stress or distraction of touch. I often find that teaching the movement helps the client to isolate the area that needs to be responsible for the work; then when I work with tissue that is truly stuck, I don?t have to work through all the other layers of compensatory movement at the same time. After this type of intervention, which includes a positional strategy, a movement, and some work in the tissue, I am ready to reassess my project. This is vitally important as we can easily overwork an area, work on structures that don?t need it, or miss structures whose involvement is now apparent. So, the cycle of ?set a goal, assess, intervene, and assess again? goes on and on in the course of a session and the series. It may sound as if my practice is based purely on rational thinking, observation, and experimentation; but I want to be very transparent here about the reality of my own practice, so I will also say that in conjunction with this (and I see this as being in no way contradictory), I also use my intuitive senses. By this, I mean that I notice what flirts with my attention, what techniques, visualizations, memories, or cues pop into my mind, and what the sensation is in my own system. I use these more subtle senses to guide the session as well. For example, when working the upper quads to free hip extension with the client supine, I may notice that the medial arch of the foot keeps popping into my mind; at that point, I may ask for some movement of the medial arch. Following my intuitive sense in this way, I many times find that I gain leverage in the tissue where my hands are and that the client finds some awareness of a movement I had not previously considered. I could make up a story about how the medial arch relates to hip extension (in this example) to justify my therapeutic sense, however it would simply be conjecture and would not add to the session or to my understanding of structure and function. I am not thinking about a particular model of structure or function when I ask for a movement or place my hands, but am guided by the information that arises during the session itself. I may find also that my client will have a story about the foot/leg/hip that was triggered by the movement work, and that story will provide the richness of meaning to the movement or the session. So, even when I am working with the intuitive senses, I use them in the context of stating a goal, assessing the situation, intervening, and then re-assessing. It is particularly important to work from a place of openness and objectivity when working with the intuitive senses. While I trust them to guide the session, I also verify whether what I am perceiving as guidance is in fact just a daydream. I believe that by keeping an ongoing check on what is happening throughout the session, I serve myself and my client. The process keeps me present with what is actually happening with my client and keeps me from relying on models, constructs, and fantasies about what might be happening. I believe that movement, both on and off the table, is a very clear indicator of the status of the session, and lets me know when I have accomplished the goals of the session and the series. To take advantage of this information, I must take the time to look for it and evaluate it before and after each intervention.

Duffy Allen Rolfing Instructor

Research Continues on RolfingĀ® SI with Stanford University Medical School Stanford University Medical School?s research study on Rolfing Structural Integration (SI) for children with cerebral palsy (CP) begun in January 2009 by Karen Price, Certified Advanced Rolfer?, continues with a two-year grant from the Gerber Foundation to enroll twenty-four children ages two to three with CP for a follow-up study. A paper on the findings from the pilot study, conducted in 2009-2010, has been published in the Journal of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The abstract of the article can be viewed at content/early/2011/12/06/2156587211430833. The pilot study?s poster, created for the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in May 2010, can be viewed at Price notes that ?this is the deepest inroad into the medical profession that Rolfing SI has ever enjoyed, which fulfills a cherished dream of Dr. Rolf.?The Body-Mind Relationship[:]

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