Your first experience with Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing SI) may be receiving an independent session or receiving sessions in a Ten-Series format. Many people benefit greatly from independent sessions, and also many people find that the deeper work generally unfolds within the context of the Ten-Series format. Whatever approach you choose is totally fine.
Rolfing SI is different from most forms of bodywork because it focuses on improving the organization of the entire structure (often visible as better posture), rather than on just the area of complaint, a place that hurts, feels stiff, etc. Although massage is relaxing, you may find the same area bothering you again shortly after you leave the session. This is because the area that hurts is often a compensatory or secondary issue.
You may have neck pain because you’re not getting the proper support from your feet, or because your pelvis is askew, or because your shoulders are rounding forward, or all of the above. Until we balance the entire structure, that neck is going to stay strained trying to keep your head upright. Focusing where it hurts is going after the symptom and not the cause of the problem.
Designed by Dr. Ida Rolf, the Ten-Series is like a tune up for your body. The Ten-Series is a systematic approach to aligning your structure; each session builds upon the last and prepares the body for the next.
The first three sessions work on the more superficial layers of connective tissue. Sessions four through seven remove strain from deeper layers of the body. The remaining sessions organize and align the body as a whole, providing better balance, enhanced range of motion, and a higher energy level.
The Ten-Series provides Rolfers with a map. But as anyone who travels knows, “the map is not the territory.” Although structural goals may be similar, the same session may look very different for different clients based on their structure, learned behaviours and movement patterns. Each session is as unique as the person receiving it. For most people, the series progresses as follows:
FOCUS ON SUPERFICIAL LAYERS
OPEN THE BREATH
A free and open breath prepares the body for the demands of the upcoming changes. A full breath provides support for the chest, shoulders, and neck. Some work on the arms may occur.
FIND THE FEET
Opening the breath changes the physical demands on the feet, so we create flexibility and adaptability there so that the whole body can feel supported.
LENGTHEN THE SIDES, BALANCING FRONT AND BACK
Now we open up the sides of the body and differentiate soft tissue of the pelvis from that of the ribs to allow the pelvis more movement options.
(DEEP TISSUE INFLUENCING THE SPINE)
FIND SUPPORT FOR AND ACCESS “THE CORE” FROM THE BOTTOM
The core begins from the base of the pelvis up through the roof of the mouth. We start this session by finding support through the ankles up along the inner leg before accessing the core.
ACCESS THE CORE FROM THE FRONT
We focus on the deep tissues dealing with the front of the spine and core space to establish flexibility in the low back.
ACCESS THE CORE FROM THE BACK
We address the deep tissues of the back of the spine and core space to establish flexibility in the low and upper back.
ACCESS THE CORE FROM THE TOP
By working in, on, and around the head, we balance the head and neck atop the flexible spine.
INTEGRATE THE UPPER/LOWER BODY
Depending on the needs that present themselves, we solidify changes in the upper or lower body. Integration sessions help reprogram movements and make changes last.
INTEGRATE THE UPPER/LOWER BODY
Changes in the other part of the body are reviewed in light of the changes of the previous session.
INTEGRATE THE ENTIRE BODY
We coordinate soft tissue movement across multiple joints so that movement can be as unfettered and free as possible.
AFTER THE TEN SERIES
The Ten-Series is designed to leave your structure at a balanced place.
Many clients find so much more ease, grace and relaxation in their bodies after Rolfing SI sessions, that they use it instead of massage.
Some clients take a break for several months after the Ten-Series and then request a post Ten-Series, generally three to five sessions in length, which may focus on the client’s specific goals.