Rolfing and Associated Changes in the Angle of Pelvic Inclination and Autonomic Activity

Pages: 1-2
Year: 1988
Others publications and sources

Others publications and sources

"There is no difference between structure and function: they are the two sides of the same coin. If structure does not tell us anything about function, it means we have not looked at it correctly." -Andrew Still

First, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to all of you who have given so freely to Phase II of the research project. Your support has indeed made, this project possible. As I outlined in the May-June, 1987 issue of Rolf Lines, our research is a joint project of the University of Maryland, Frances Nelson Health Center (Champaign, Illinois), and the Rolf Institute.

My co-research, Dr. Stephen Porges, is the Director of the Developmental Assessment Laboratory at the University of Maryland. His expertise is in the areas of cardiovascular physiology and computerized assessment methodology. Also working with us on Phase II is Kent Richmond, Director of Christie Clinic’s Department of Physical Therapy, in Champaign, Illinois. In addition to being an Advanced Certified Rolfer and a research associate at Frances Nelson Clinic, my background includes a Master’s degree in biology (neuro anatomy).

Our first article, “Rolfing Pelvic Lift Procedure and Associated Changes in Parasympathetic Tone,” will be appearing in the March, 1988 issue of Physical Therapy, a journal of the American Physical Therapy Association. Reprints will also be available through the Rolf Institute in March.

A second article is currently in writing that describes the first part of the Phase II project (conducted in the spring and summer 1987). In this investigation, we examined the effects of a postten pelvic session on the horizontality of the pelvis (angle of pelvic inclination) (see Figure 1) and autonomic activity (vagal tone). A treatment group of sixteen subjects was tested before the session, after, and twenty-four hour follow-up. A control group of sixteen matched subjects was also tested in an identical manner without the Rolfing session. All of the subjects were preselected for exhibiting an anterior tilted pelvis.

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Figure 1. The measurement of pelvic inclination as the angle made between the line that connects the anterior superior iliac spine with the posterior iliac spine and the horizontal.

Statistical analysis of the data (.01 level of significance) indicated the following:

(1) the anterior tilt of the pelvis decreased (i.e. towards horizontality) for the Rolfing group but not the control;

(2) the vagal tone increased (i.e. an increase in parasympathetic activity associated with a reduction in stress) for the Rolfing group but not the control;

(3) these changes in pelvic angle and vagal tone for the Rolfing group were not only found immediately after the pelvic session but were still evident twenty-four hours later.

The results clearly support Ida Rolf s premise that integrated structure is reflected in optimum physiological function. Specifically, our study demonstrates that horizontalizing the anterior tilted pelvis is strongly associated with increased parasympathetic activity. To our knowledge, this is the first experimental investigation conducted that substantiates this assumption.

These finding also suggest two areas of clinical application:

(1) the use of Rolling as a treatment modality in stress reduction and management

(2) the use of Rolfing as an intervention for certain low back problems involving anterior tilt of the pelvis.

Finally, the Phase II and II results have already generated interest in the medical and scientific communities. The Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois has invited me to present a research seminar on October 23. The American Chiropractic Association has contacted us concerning our research as well as the American Osteopathic Association. We expect that the professional inquiries will greatly increase after the journal publication in March, 1988.

We are now preparing for the second investigation in Phase II which will involve a longitudinal study of the ten session Rolfing series. I will keep you posted on its progress as well as the publication status of our second article.

Thank you again for your support.Rolfing and Associated Changes in the Angle of Pelvic Inclination and Autonomic Activity

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