Different Levels of Healing

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Rolfing levels of healing

Most injuries heal – like an open child’s knee. A patch on the pants, a plaster on the wound, and we’ll soon forget everything. But when our injuries reach deeper, the healing doesn’t have to be superficial to be lasting. I.e., there are different levels of healing that must happen.

In my practice I am amazed again and again how many old injuries I find in the tissue which were not mentioned at all in the preliminary discussion and which are no longer even in consciousness. After that I notice this “healed” injury as less mobile, often as dull and not supple. Sometimes it’s like a whirlpool, all the surrounding tissue “pulls” towards this injury and directs my hands there. These injuries are then like a suction and the body therefore erects safe barricades against this suction.

The First Level of Healing – Medicine

This is where I speak medical. The wound’s closing. Scars are forming. And through good mobilization we are usually healthy again after a few weeks. This is the first level of healing and in the best case it was. But already in my sport training I was always surprised that the collarbone fracture then 20 years later again reported or the OP or the rear-end collision or, or… We are then not sick! We have only grown older and our body is no longer elastic enough to compensate for these injuries.

The Second Level of Healing – Integration

Let’s take as an example the removal of the appendix. Read about the current state of surgery on page 8. The operation is usually performed in childhood, is considered comparatively simple and the young body can compensate for possible limitations well.

Rolfing healing structural integration
Level of Healing – Structural Integration

Compare our movement possibilities with a clock hand that evenly sweeps every hour on the dial. And now it comes to an intervention and the hour hand always hangs for half an hour between 2 and 3 o’clock and then jumps forward with a small jerk. The watch is still very useful, especially if you know its little quirk. But this jerking of the hand will load the movement with time at a completely different point, perhaps a spring breaks or the hand moves on the axis.

This can also be the case with the late consequences of an appendectomy. You don’t use your right hip quite as freely anymore, you tense your right foot, maybe you get hammer toes, you reduce your stride length, you tense your left shoulder … To make it clear here: you are not ill in the true sense! They have only “accumulated” adaptations, which in turn lead to greater loads and thus wear. Here a structural integration, i.e. Rolfing, can be very helpful. The aim is then to enable the tissue to become independent of scars and to realign movements. Structural integration means to reach another level of healing.

The Third Level of Healing – Dissolving the Trauma

There are accidents and injuries that have not only injured our tissue, but are also “stuck” in our nervous system. A trauma is thus an emotion or movement that has not come to an end.

Rolfing healing Trauma

Our nervous system was overwhelmed because something was too big, too strong or too fast. It is important to note that it is not the event that is the focus, but the reaction of our nervous system to it. What is an experience for one person means a trauma for another. Here, Somatic Experiencing (SE) can help very well and is an ideal complement to pure structural healing. I like to recommend therapists with whom I work well. You can also take a look around here.

Summary – Levels of Healing

Rolfing Summary - Levels of Healing
Our body – tuned like a clockwork

We consider our body to be more finely tuned than a clockwork. And yet we deal with it more carelessly. If a gear breaks, it is soldered or exchanged. But then we are not surprised when the clockwork ticks louder or sometimes the hands hook a little. But it still bothers us, and we do a lot to make the clock run smoothly again.

We want to be able to use our body, our clockwork joyfully for as long as possible. But that also means to take care of all necessary levels of healing yourself. To stick with the picture: The broken gear was operated on – good. But do all the neighboring wheels play well with each other and mesh neatly again? Applied to your body, this means asking of structural integration.

And then our body is more than just a mechanical clockwork. Experiences can be so lasting that our nervous system has been overwhelmed. On this level of healing we have to take care of our traumas. Only then will we not become slaves to our autonomous nervous system.


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