Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Structural Integration: The Journal of the Rolf Institute – Summer/June 2004 – VOL. 32 nº 02

Volume: 32

Dear Jeff Maitland:

Many thanks for your very interesting description of your use of laser to ameliorate the problems of some of you Rolfing® clients. I have been immersed is family problems for the last several years your writing, however, caught my interest.

I am particularly indebted to you for de scribing the work of Mae-Wan Ho. The integrative action of liquid crystals around s central axis is certainly a more elegant metaphor than Dr. Rolf’s gravity line. In 35 year! of Rolfing, I have constantly struggled to understand the phenomena that we all an aware of in our practice of Rolfing. What see when I am doing Rolfing is a sort o shimmer under the skin that propagate! away from where my hands are working and results in a relaxation of individual parts into the table and an elongation of the body as a whole. I had tentatively hypothesized that there must be a central media for involved – a distant cousin, perhaps, o the reflexes seen in infants. Jim Oschman findings are always illuminating, and no I have a new set of images through Mae Wan Ho.

For me, all these images are still theoretical. They are what Dr. Rolf called the explanatory rationalizations we invent to try to come to grips with the observable result of work. The work of Rolfing and its ob servable results are right in front of me every day. Debating the merits of one theory of the body over another is a great exercise of the mind. Contrasting the results of specific therapies is less elegant but more reatome.

You cite a few specific client problems you have treated with laser; I find myself questioning your analysis of some of those treatments.

1. The densely muscled young man with chronic hip pain who you found to have weak glutei and psoas: It is common place to find areas of weakness in people who are densely muscled, for example as a result of working out on gym machines. The workout hypertrophies some muscles (or ever parts of muscles) while neglecting others The end result of this kind of workout is the gorilla-like stance of muscle-men that can be seen in certain magazines and or New York City subways. Rolfing gym aficionados is tough; I no longer do it because I feel I’m getting too old for it. But in my young and gung-ho days, I found that deflating the hypertrophied mass led to secure balance, upright stance, and then to freedom from restriction and pain.

2. The eight possible nerve entrapment sites in carpal tunnel syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is nowadays a staple of my practice, no doubt a result of the explosion in computer use. I rarely find it necessary tc address the problem at its location in the wrist and hand, although of course I do routinely work there in the course of the ten sessions. I find the syndrome to be caused by poor support from the spine, and I find that this, in turn, is caused by faulty posture. In other words, if you’re not sitting on the front of your sitting bones, your sacrum can’t support your lumbar spine. Since computer work demands great stability in eye focus and use of hands, secure support is needed. The mid-thoracic spine will contract to provide that support if it is not supplied by the lumbar spine. But support from the dorsal spine alone is insecure and therefore arms and shoulders also contract in an attempt to increase stability. I have found that engaging the tuberosities, sacrum, and lumbar spine allows the “dorsal hinge” to find more appropriate alignment and the carpal tunnel symptoms disappear.

In both of these examples, my experience in my practice seems to contradict your findings. I do not treat muscle weakness, I treat hypertrophy and find that the weakness takes care of itself. I do not treat a painful area, I treat the supporting or counterbalancing structures and find that the pain takes care of itself. Clearly, more discussion would be useful. Contrasting the results of therapy (particularly overtime) would also be useful.

Just to play devil’s advocate for a moment, it would be possible to make a case that the clinical results seen in lasering are the result of cellular destruction. The “weak” glutei have contracted and now match, say, the tension in the hypertrophied quadriceps, hamstrings, and adductors. The neural sites in the wrist are scarred over. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe in the long run it’s not so good, or good sometimes and not others.

If we mix the practices, we’ll never know. Was it Rolfing that made the change, was it lasering? Lasering seems to be an intriguing new practice, but it is new. It needs a track record, it needs practitioners dedicated to using its potential, it needs time to explore its strengths and weaknesses. The best feedback there is comes from clients, but how can a client discern what happened if it all happened together?

I have been practicing homeopathy for the past ten years, as well as Rolfing. It has been counterproductive for me to treat patients inter currently with Rolfing and homeopathy – too much confusion. The few times I did try it, there was an initial good reaction followed by floundering around trying to figure out what really produced the amelioration. Nowadays, I give my patients a choice – Rolfing or homeopathy? If both, which would they like to do first? And there’s a wait, a period of latency between the two. I find my mind is clearer and I feel surer of my results.

With best wishes

Rosemary Feitis

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