You can't talk just a little about Rolfing. You have to tell it all. People don't know they have never seriously thought about that level in which the essence is relationship, where the noumena go looking for the phenomena. (Write that down; I want to remember that; it's true.)
When we talk about "Models of Seeing," we are talking about different lenses through which to view the body, its posture, and its biomechanics. These models explore dimension, from lines to planes to blocks and beyond - even likening the body to the tensegrity structures of Buckminster Fuller. These models, these lenses, are useful in their variety because they speak to more than one way of thinking, more than one way of seeing. And because all of our bodies are so unique, and our relationships to them all the more so, a diversified approach allows us to understand human biomechanics on a less clinical, more personal level.
Different models resonate with different clients, or even with different parts of the client's body on any given day, and in any given session. Those going through the 10-Series may find a sense of progression through the models, either physically, energetically, emotionally, psychologically, or some combination thereof.
The hallmark symbol of Rolfing is the "Little Boy Logo," which uses the block model to display a before & after transition through the Rolfing process. It is perhaps the most simplistic of the models, but also the easiest to grasp. In the "before", the boy's blocks are askew leaving him torqued and slumping. The "after" figure, instead, exhibits postural support...a sense of lift...uprightness! The rearrangement of the blocks, from disarray into a clean stack, represents the transformation from a challenged posture to a liberated one. (Fun fact: The client who modeled for the logo was a child who was treated by Ida Rolf in the early years of her work.)
The Plane Model is a simple way to view the body, specifically in terms of movement. The three axial planes of movement are the Transverse (rotational), the Coronal/Frontal (side-side), and the Sagittal (front-back). Using this vocabulary, we can talk fluently about restrictions to movement in reference to objects in space.
The model most frequently referred to in the actual process of Rolfing** is the line. In Rolfing, being on your line is the name of the game and the goal of the work. This "line" is a technical reference point for a conceptual space defined not by anatomical structures themselves, but rather by the relationships between them. It reaches from the soles of the feet to the crown, through the centermost axis of the body.
- Anatomically: The line reaches from the arches of the feet through the pelvic floor, kissing the front of the lumbar spine and reaching between the lungs, up through the floor of the mouth, between the R/L brain.
- Conceptually: This central axis is our connection from bottom to top; from earth to sky.
For more on the line, check out our previous posts on Gravity and Sky+Ground.
The last Model of Seeing we'll discuss in this post is a bit of an intersect between the Plane Model and the Line Model. I have not found a name for it in my years of work and research, so for lack of anything else, we'll call it the Bisectional Model. Under the umbrella of the Bisectional Model, we'll discuss the Front/Back, Top/Bottom, Right/Left, and Inner/Outer representations. In the Bisectional Model, the body presents with two halves in some degree of disharmony. They may differ in range of motion (ROM), tissue mass/development, sensation or functionality. In the setting of Rolfing Structural Integration or other structural forms of bodywork, the goal of viewing through this model would be to facilitate harmony between the two halves.
This is the gospel of Rolfing:
when the body gets working appropriately,
the force of gravity can flow through.
Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.
An upcoming post will discuss different ways in which we can conceptualize the architecture of posture, but before we broach that subject, I would be remiss not to touch on a concept we spend most of our time as moving creatures taking for granted.
Gravity is a force that dictates the physical reality of our everyday. We interpret it as a force that gives objects weight, and brings them down toward earth. It makes apples fall from trees, it causes water to carve canyons and it's how we lose rings down the kitchen sink doing dishes after dinner. Gravity, after all, is what gives us weight.
But this is a narrow field-of-vision. Gravity is force that draws us toward earth, yes, but what we receive as objects of mass from being draw toward earth is the support of that surface we are being drawn to. The uprightness we are able to achieve because of our connection (in)to ground is the very definition of a term we use often in our practice as Rolfers and Structural Integrators: palintonicity, or the sense of reach/length in two opposing directions.
Fascia is the organ of posture. Nobody ever says this; all the talk is about muscles. Yet this is a very important concept, and because this is so important, we as Rolfers must understand both the anatomy and physiology, but especially the anatomy of fascia. The body is a web of fascia. A spiderweb is in a plane; this web is in a sphere. We can trace the lines of that web to get an understanding of how what we see in a body works. For example, why when we work with the superficial fascia, does this change the tone of the fascia as a whole.
Rolfer and Educator Pedro Prado talks about layers.Read More
God didn't come down and tell me; I had to find it through many years of experience. The work came first; the inspiration came later.
Ida says... #6Read More
When I talk about the upright placement of the head on the neck, I am also talking about using the evolutionary possibilities of human structure. Only by getting verticality in the body do you explore these possibilities. The minute you lose verticality, that minute you have lost the something plus that is available to humans.
Rolfer Sally Klemm talks human experience and perception.Read More
I'm dealing with problems in the body where there is never just one cause. I'd like you to have more reality on the circular processes that do not act in the body, but that are the body. The body process is not linear, it is circular; always, it is the circular. One thing goes awry, and its effects go on and on and on and on. A body is a web, connecting everything with everything else.
Rolfer Carol Agneessens talks about perception and connection to space in relation to bodywork.Read More
Old religions used to teach you to sit or kneel and always rock, gently but definitely rock. When you rock, you swing from prevertebral to postvertebral muscle. You'd see the same thing with sailors in the more active days of the ward. You'd go down the street and you'd see a man in uniform, but you'd know without checking the uniform whether that man was a seaman or a landman. The landman went down the street boomp boomp boomp; the seaman went down rolling - from the prevertebral to the postvertebral, the prevertebral to the postvertebral, He may not have had what we would call a really balanced gait, but he did use that alternation which kept the whole body at its peak. And they do this in many religious rituals, So much of ritual, if you look at it in the light of what you know of physiology, can be seen as a form of preventive medicine.
Longtime Rolfer + movement therapist Mary Bond shares some of her experiences with Dr Rolf learning to see.Read More