I am endlessly impressed with the enduring curiosity of many Rolfers about any aspects or phenomena related to bodily existence that might be clinically useful to them in achieving their objectives as Rolfers. For many of us, basic training and the Recipe is just the beginning of an ongoing inquiry into the nature of this precious and immensely complex body we work with. This curiosity is the engine that drives the development of the theory and technique of Rolfing and this column is dedicated to serving it. A new feature of the Structural Integration, “Ask the Advanced Faculty”, will provide an opportunity for Rolfers to ask the Advanced Faculty questions about their work. We will take questions from Rolfers and publish individual answers from several or all the members of the Advanced Faculty.
All schools face challenges as they develop and grow. The two most common challenges to schools of our type are rigidity and loss of identity. If we fail to assimilate the developments in knowledge and technique that arise from the practice of Rolfing and insist that Rolfing be practiced only as it was originally practiced, our school will be marginalized by the growing body of knowledge that arises outside of the school. The school will suffer from rigidity and eventually lose its pre-eminent place among bodywork schools. On the other hand, if we indiscriminately adopt every technique and idea that arises among those practicing this work, we risk diluting the work to such an extent that the original intentions of Rolfing are lost and the identity of the work and the school will be compromised. Only through thoughtful and rigorous dialogue will we be able to avoid the dangers of rigidity and loss of identity. Hopefully, this column will contribute to a responsible dialogue concerning these issues.
The expansion of the theory and technique of Rolfing began with the formulation of the movement work, which developed a functional approach to achieving the goals of Rolfing and continues to inform us as to the distinctions between structural and functional restrictions in the body. A second wave of development occurred with the expansion of the Advanced Training, the introduction of a non-formulistic approach and the extension of the technique of Rolfing into the ligamentous, articular and membranous aspects of structure. I think we are now entering a third phase of expansion, as we encounter the deepening understanding of inherent motion in the body and the relationship this may have to our experiences of energetic structures relevant to our work. As we become more technically competent, we can include more subtle and complex bodily phenomena in our awareness, practice and theory. Time will tell if we are able to integrate this knowledge into our practice and teaching as successfully as we seem to have been able to integrate our previous expansions. Hopefully, we will be able to use this column to discuss many of these issues, as we enjoy the consequences of the undying curiosity of Rolfers.
Each future issue of the journal will include this column as a regular feature. If you have a question that you would like members of the Advanced Faculty to respond to, please submit it to Sue Seecof, Managing Editor, at [email protected]. Because we will only be able to address one or two questions in each issue, the editors will choose the questions to which the members of the Advanced Faculty will publish answers.