Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change.” It certainly felt like that this past year! Forces beyond our control pulled and pushed at us in all sorts of ways: economically, socially and personally. We were subjected to truths, falsehoods and opinions masquerading as facts—leading to information overload and, at the same time, has us grasping for more information. Grief over “the way things used to be” colored everything. And folks of all walks of life had to reevaluate how they have lived, breathed and planned for a future that is still a bit uncertain. So, considering all of this, how have YOU been faring during this time of shifting sands?
For many people, this time of collective trauma has been disorienting from a mind-body-spirit perspective. The isolation within safety protocols and social distancing has affected mental health. Nervous systems have been on high alert. And at the same time, this great slow-down of life has forced many folks to ask deeper, probing questions of themselves. So much shifting and changing within individual worlds it can be difficult for the physical body to keep pace.
One way to foster a greater sense of ease and adaptability during these times is through the experience of Rolfing Structural Integration (or Rolfing SI). Rolfing SI is a process of soft tissue manipulation (manual therapy), natural movement and awareness-building exercises. The goal of the work is to change muscle memory by releasing restrictions held within the web of fascia or connective tissue that surrounds, supports and protects all the muscles, bones, blood vessels, nerves, organs and tissues of the body. Since the fascia is a communication network for the nervous system, certain areas of the body may experience more contraction and tightness than others—creating imbalances and adding to distracting “body clutter.” Uneven tensioning within the body will pull an individual off his/her healthiest center of gravity.
A body even slightly off center needs to work harder to sit or stand upright. While a recipe for the development of chronic pain, this imbalance can also drain a person of energy, create inflexibility and reduce adaptive capacity for emotional, physical and spiritual stressors. Consequently, an individual unable to fully process or discharge stress may be weighed down by their own “body suitcase” of past accidents, traumas, experiences or injuries.
The process of Rolfing SI focuses on restoring alignment and posture by working to balance the body in terms of left/right, front/back, top/bottom and inside/outside. This exquisite detailing process creates congruency, support, adaptability, space for ease and more efficient expression of movement. A body less tethered is more easily able to find a sense of grounding. Ida Rolf, Ph.D, (the founder of Rolfing SI) said, “When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.” A renewed sense of grounding invokes a greater capacity to feel one’s healthiest center of gravity and center of self. (Which can do wonders to help calm and regulate a traumatized nervous system.)
A grounded and centered individual is able to access more resiliency and greater awareness of his/her body. Without distracting “body clutter,” more choices and opportunities to be able to hang out in the present become more readily available. This can help shift the old patterns of just surviving/constantly reacting more toward patterns of ease and adaptation. Emerging into this strange new world with a much cleaner and defined slate is a catalyst for transformation, active change and openness to other possibilities for a fresh life direction during this time of shifting sands.
Victoria L. Huss, is the Certified Rolfer™/owner of New Possibilities Integration LLC in Appleton. She finds joy in helping people unfold, find freedom, and authentically express themselves within the challenges of rigidity, chronic pain and trauma. For a free consultation or more information, call 920-427-7653 or visit www.wisconsinrolfing.com. Rolfing® and Rolfer™ are registered service marks of the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute®.