Well-being is the ultimate goal in Rolfing. It’s the art of being at home in one’s own body. Yes, we want to be painless. Yes, we also want to be able to move stress-free. But at the end of the day, we want to feel good in our skin. You know the short answer to the question: “How are you?” – “Good.” And most of the time we just mean “not bad.” I.e. it doesn’t hurt. It’d be better if we really did “good”. Well-being is the basis for this. This is probably one of the reasons why Dr. Ida Rolf immortalized “well-being” in the title of her only book.
What do I have to do for well-being? What does Rolfing do for this? Here in short form the Rolfing recipe for well-being:
- Maintenance, i.e. to be prepared for future loads
- Retrieve, i.e. reactivate lost movement patterns
- Sort out, i.e. check compensation for handling injury
- Learning, i.e. rediscovering the differentiation of one’s own body with pleasure.
Well-being and Posture
And what does posture have to do with it now? Perhaps you have already noticed that we recognize people from the corner of our eye. I.e. we don’t need any details. The posture is enough for us to recognize. We recognize that this is Karl, his slightly bent posture, his hesitation in walking. All this makes Karl unmistakable. In short, his posture. And in our posture there is not only our past, which has brought us into this. It also shows which possibilities we have for expression and movement. All in all – posture is a picture of our well-being
Wellness is like enjoying a cocktail in a deckchair on a sunny beach. Wellbeing is like the refreshing satisfaction of a hike around a lake followed by a hot shower.
Well-being and wellness are not the same
For me, well-being is like a good starting position in tennis: warmed up, in awake expectation of what is to come, your own position not too close to the net (i.e. stress) and not outside (i.e. I don’t actually play along) and thus fully exploit my movement potential. I also adjust to limitations, such as my own size, which I can no longer change.
Maintenance – Well-being thereafter
Maintenance also includes care and overhaul. It is like having a full service for our “beloved” car. We spend a lot of money on it and hardly ask why. The necessity and the advantages seem obvious:
- The car doesn’t break so easily/fast. Applied to ourselves, this means that we prevent accidents and illnesses. Yes, even accidents and injuries. Whether and how we injure ourselves depends to a large extent on our ability to cope with stress and our repertoire of movements.
- The car drives “somehow” better. Sure, everything’s oiled and greased. You can do the same for your body and ensure a smooth, differentiated gliding of the independent sliding planes in your body. They also move “somehow” better.
- The car stays valuable longer. We know that a “checkbook” maintained car can simply be sold better and more expensive because it lasts longer. And for our body, that would mean living better and longer.
Retrieval – Preserve your range of motion
Our body knows two types of movements. One is the large, clearly visible movements that we measure, for example, by our mobility, whether and how we can reach the ground with our fingertips. The other
These small movements accompany and enable our bigger, visible movements. It is said that the draftsmen at Disney Studios made the following discovery at the beginning of the cartoon: For a fluid motion, it is not the number of images or the accuracy of the movement that is decisive, but the many small initial movements that accompany the large, purposeful action. Only the sign of these almost invisible preparations and compensations of the body creates a harmonious flow in the body movement.
Reestablish the variety in your movements
We reduce our variety of movement patterns through injuries, experience, and pure, natural ageing. Our brain holds a collection of micro-movements and this collection is then used to plan and actually carry out any movement we do. And it is this collection of micro-movements at hand that becomes smaller. We need to re-enlarge our repertoire of movement details reactivate “misplaced” motion patterns.
Sorting Out – Break Away From Protection
We all experience injuries and try to move around these injuries as gently as possible during the time of healing. And our body finds the solution that is the smartest possible for it. Over time, however, these motion compensations become a habit, and we always raise our shoulders when we lift our arms. And we always hold our breath when we go up the stairs and, and, and …
It is a typical part of Rolfing to recognize and eliminate these “bad” habits. I.e. you lie on your back and glide your arm slightly outwards. The trapezius – a back muscle in the shoulder area – should not be the first to work, but rather a muscle of
Learning and Pleasure
Changes and new things always mean learning. Finding clarity should be associated with pleasure, as should dissolving of stress and tensions. The discovery of new body patterns should also be associated with pleasure.
My shoulder’s never been there before. It lets me breathe a lot more freely.Quote from a client after working on the upper ribs
The skin is our largest sensory organ, but we are usually not aware of it. This is probably the reason why we most neglect this sense. For our senses hearing and seeing, we indulge in watching and listening to films, videos, and music. Tasting is refined by our cooking library and smelling gets its money’s worth through the contact with wonderful perfumes.
On the other hand, the pleasure by touch has been banished to the genital area. But there is also a clear reference to touch and enjoyment outside of that! A good touch tells us about references in our body and we usually find this pleasurable and enjoyable!
Be at home in your body
If, for example, you have a high basic tension of the abdominal muscles, then you can feel such a relation from the “sixpack” of your abdominal muscles to your larynx. The art though is to get such fine access to the abdominal musculature that the traction gently spreads under the breastbone into the neck up to the height of the larynx. In the first
I wasn’t even aware of the different levels in my body.
Quote from a client on the question of why her body feels good and comfortable now