Rolfing: a Holistic Vision of Structural Integration

Pages: 1-3
Year: 1987
Others publications and sources

Others publications and sources

"The Necessity for Considering the Four Areas of Interacting Function (Mind, Emotions, Body and Spirit) in the Healing Process"

Presented at the First International Holistic Conference in Brasilia, Brasil, in March, 1987.

A very important word in my life, since it set me on the search for self-healing, is hypochondria. At age eighteen, the medical doctors I had been appealing to for help told me to go away, that my problems were all in my mind. So I set out to study the mind, looking at alternative healing methods that were presented to me along the way. Over a twenty-year period, I became a fine psychologist, metaphysician, minister of religion, nutritionist, body worker, wife and parent. But the problems were not wholly in my mind.

The conclusion of my search was that” hypochondria is a misnomer for an undiagnosed condition”. There is always an initial problem, which, if not recognized and treated, becomes a multiplicity of treatment modes.

In the human condition, there are three levels of authority:

1) needing an authority,
2) being an authority for oneself, and
3) being an authority for others.

In my opinion most, if not all, of our chronic problems are acquired in the first stage. In fact, many people seem never to move to the second stage. In the dependent stage, we rely on something or someone outside of ourselves to take care of us and all our troubles. When our helpers do not have the help we need, we go through various emotional states, depleting our energies until we reach despair and hopelessness. The challenge is to survive. And we usually do. But in the surviving, we store many memories of failure. Not until we begin to notice our successes do we start to assume our own authority and start making conscious choices for survival.

We usually learn in the second stage that pain is an ally; that it is our warning system that something needs help and that we need to trace the pain to its beginning point in order to know what needs help, and what kind of help.

Naturally, our most promising patients are in the second category; as are the most promising resource people, in the third category.

But since no one ever seems to be completely in a condition of needing no help from our fell-beings, we would do well to gather around us a varied group of resource people with whom we can confer about our own problems and those of others for whom we have assumed some responsibility.

Whenever a problem starts – mind, body, emotions, spirit – it quickly or gradually becomes a problem in all areas. To discover the origin, we need to have many types of diagnosis. To treat the problem, we need to consider the interaction of the four areas’ attempts to handle, absorb, eliminate, or accommodate the problem.

The logical approach to resolving any problem is to address it through a group of specialists in the various areas of function. Sometimes, the resolution of the problem may start with a chemical evaluation, which can lead to elimination of waste products or toxins, which in turn may lead to increased mental or physical energy, which may, in turn, lead to a desire for mental and/or physical exploration ands enhancement. This progress inevitably leads to a sense of spiritual well-being and/or interest in ways to develop a stronger sense of the spiritual part of the self. The starting point of any diagnosis could be at any obvious point of discomfort and progress through the other aspects of function, to include them all as they present themselves.

Many people in the healing arts, for at least thirty years that I know of, have hoped and planned for a holistic center, where all or many disciplines could be represented. The dreams are beautiful; but then the planning starts with the inevitable questions of. . .”who will do the diagnostics?”…”who will decide which treatment comes first?”.. “how will the fees be determined?”…”who will decide what services are to be included and which excluded?”.. and “who decides which is appropriate in this case?”

This conference with its theme of trans-disciplinarity, is a beginning for solving the problems that are involved in serving the ills of humanity more realistically and completely than has ever been done before. First the recognition of the reality that there has never been discovered a single way to solve all health problems, and secondly, based on that premise, the elimination of all sense of competition amongst the infinite number of disciplines, we are opening the door for some realistic communication and cooperation.

One dream I share with many colleagues in the fields of health services is that of a world-wide computer hookup that will store data from all disciplines and make it available to all- who can access it. Such gatherings as this one can bring such a thing into reality, perhaps in my lifetime. My blessings and gratitude to all those who brought this conference into reality.

In the work that I do, called the Rolf technique of structural integration, I find that it is a very good tool for uncovering and locating many problems that have defied diagnosis by a number of other health services. This is not the intent of Rolfing, but a very unexpected and welcome side-effect of the process. It enables the Rolfer to refer the client to the appropriate health professional for further help.

Frequently, the client comes for Rolfing as a “last resort”, having tried many other potential avenues of help. Sometimes a person comes because he hopes to become more comfortable with himself without going through verbal therapy, and as a result, finds that he can enjoy talking about his problems and will go on to psychotherapy. People come to Rolfing for many reasons: cosmetic, psychological, structural, functional, spiritual, ‘e quien sabe que?’ The end result for most who come is a stronger sense of self, of their own power and uniqueness. It seems to be a way of giving a person back to himself.

The Rolf technique of structural integration – more conveniently called “Wolfing” – is based on the premise of the connective tissue of the body being the “shaper” or the determining factor in the creation and constant re-creation of the body’s form. Its unique ability to thicken, become thinner, to glue structures together for support, to pad or reinforce structures to guard against bruising from constant contact, to lengthen or shorten (depending on the demands made on the body), to become drier or more moist, was the challenge that Dr. Ida P. Rolf accepted. Her observations indicated that the body is constantly adjusting to the uses put to it, much of these demands being based on unconscious patterns, ignorance, or misguided advice.

“Rolfing” is an applied pattern of manipulations, designed to help the body to “remember” the pattern of optimum structure and function, which is augmented by verbal guidelines from the “Rolfer” to assist in breaking habit patterns of misuse, and experiencing consciously a better use of the body. The Rolfer takes the attitude that his client is there to receive according to his own acceptance level of change and may be ready for only a small percentage of change toward his ideal. The Rolfer is there to facilitate the degree of release that is acceptable to the client, not to enforce his own goals toward the ideal potential. The premise is that all change is gradual, although at times it seems to go more quickly than at other times. We think of “Rolfing” as an evolutionary process, rather than a treatment of symptoms.

?Rolfing is usually applied in series of sessions over a short period of time and then a period of integration work is recommended, usually six to twelve months, before further Rolfing is done. Of course, the timing of the work is always in regard to the individual need. The results have an ongoing effect that is accompanied by increasing awareness of one’s self and needs.Rolfing: a Holistic Vision of Structural Integration

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