The process begins with freeing the lungs to allow fuller breath. This is accomplished by working the superficial tissue having anything to do with the breathing mechanism. Areas all around the ribcage, shoulders, arms, and hips may be worked, as well as the neck and back. Neck and back work is included in almost every session to balance and integrate the work into the body.
Next we address your foundation. The feet, lower legs, and possibly knees are opened and aligned to better support the body in gravity. Often the client feels a greater sense of support and balance coming up from their feet after this session, as well as better contact between their feet and the ground. Foot problems such as high or fallen arches are also addressed in this session.
Now we move to your sides. We want to ease the body in the front-back dimension, and create a peaceful relating between your upper and lower body. We will work the sides of your torso, your neck, and your hips to allow those major segments to better support each other.
We move back to the legs in this session, focusing on the inside of the leg from the ankle to the pelvis, at a slightly deeper layer. This session provides the feeling that the legs are supporting the abdominal core and providing lift for the upper body. Torsions at the knee and hip are also addressed in this session.
The goal of the sixth session is to remove imbalances between the legs, pelvis, sacrum and spine and to address any remaining fixed patterns of imbalance or rotation between the legs, pelvis and back.
This is a back session. Starting in the legs, if necessary, we address the calves, hamstrings, the back of the pelvis, and up both sides of the spine to the head. The opening in the back matches the opening in the front achieved in Session 5.
This session focuses on the upper shoulders, head, jaw, neck, and sometimes the arms. After this session clients often feel that their head is more "on" and that they newly face the world.
The last three sessions are about integrating all we've done. Session 8 is usually a lower body session with the goal of integrating the legs with the whole body.
This is the other half of Session 8 - the upper body. The ribcage, shoulders, arms, neck and head are the usual focus, with the goal being always to integrate.
The final integration. This is our opportunity to complete, for now, all we've been able to free. We will smooth the fascial wrappers over the structural changes that you have gained, and make peace with anything that remains. This session usually involves the whole body at a somewhat more superficial layer.
The 10 Series
The Rolf Method of Structural Integration is applied through what is known as the Basic-10 Series.
Each of the 10 sessions builds on the last, and prepares the body for the next. The series addresses the entire body, and is a beautiful and thorough way to address any restrictions you might have anywhere in your body. For most people, the series progresses as described below. There are instances, based on a person's unique issues, where it makes sense to deviate from the flow of work as it is described. The descriptions below are general in nature, and represent goals for each session rather than specific territory to be worked. In any case, every session is as unique as the person receiving it, and the work flows in concert with each person's physiology and context. At no time does the work become routine or mechanical.
"A small token of appreciation for your hard work in helping me reach my goal in running the marathon. The (S.I.) sessions have enhanced my performance and given me more confidence. Thanks for your encouragement. I have also taken a huge step in the way I feel about my body image! You're appreciated!"
-- Wanda White R.N.