Two aspects of this un usual book help to make it one of the most interesting and useful self help books available. First, it de-emphasizes the role of the body worker while emphasizing the role of the client. This gives the book a populist tone, while empowering the client to be more informed when she does seek out professional assistance. Second, it suggests ways to explore the principles by providing scripts for guided visualizations and by providing narrative examples of how some fictional characters might use the book.
Typically, a self-help book dealing with an educational modality, about movement education will address the reader at the moment of reading, usually with some words such as “notice how you hold this book … how your weight rests on the seat of the chair underneath you”. Even with the best of intentions, this construction can easily become preachy and rather awkward to read. In Rolfing Movement Integration, Mary Bond has completely avoided this difficulty by weaving an elaborate, three-part braid.
Each chapter first defines concepts and principles of your body’s relationship to gravity. Bond outlines the theoretical and conceptual ideas which would underlie an actual session. She describes the principles in broad terms which could apply to any movement education modality, such as Feldenkrais® Method or the Alexander® technique. The ideas are so approachable that any reader could use the concepts personally without the aid of a trained Rolfer or Rolfing Movement® teacher.
Then she provides the text of a meditation/visualization which a friend can read to you as you focus inward on your own personal process. You can also read this script onto an audio tape to play back for yourself later, so that you become your own guide on your inner journey. This visualization incorporates the ideas and principles into an exploration of your own body and how you hold yourself in relation to the pull of gravity.
Finally, she concludes each chapter with a narrative. This fictional story describes four friends, referred to as “the Gravity Gang”, each of whom has been reading a self-help book about movement education. As a reader you identify with them because you yourself are reading the very same book. As each one of these characters uses the guided visualization scripts to explore his or her own body, we get to vicariously observe the range of possible reactions. The characters’ strengths, weaknesses, willingness and resistance are all laid out for us to see. Before long we are actually caring about their stories and their unfolding. We can be inspired by their courage and touched by their struggles. Most delightfully, the therapeutic support in this fictional tale is provided by the friends themselves, rather than by a Rolfer.
The variety of this approach-conceptual, experiential, fictional-provides three different opportunitiesto review the author’s ideas. She makes subtle concepts seem simple to the novice reader. She presents principles that are familiar to many practicing Rolfers in such an open way that an Alexander® teacher or a Feldenkrais® practitioner would easily recognize these ideas.
This book is a wonderful companion for anyone who is undergoing a series of Rolfing® sessions. It is also a useful introductory guide to the range of possibilities of Rolfing Movement®. Therefore, it serves as a helpful referral path to any client who is reluctant to begin a professional relationship, but still want to know more about the Rolfing® movement.