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Rolfing SI and chiropractic care: Synergy for whole body alignment

Linda* had been seeing her chiropractor for treatment of back pain for some time when her progress eventually plateaued. The adjustments she received no longer seemed to “hold.” She had been so hopeful up to that point because she was finding some relief from her pain for the first time in years. The chiropractor suspected that deep hard-wired movement and compensation patterns prevented Linda from integrating localized soft tissue manipulation and spinal adjustments. Familiar with the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf and the whole body process of balance and alignment known as Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing SI), the chiropractor recommended that Linda seek out the skills of an area Certified Rolfer. Having tried everything else and not knowing where to turn, Linda decided to give it a try.

During Linda’s first consultation with the Rolfer, she learned how Rolfing SI addresses system-wide imbalances found within the fascia infrastructure of the body. Since fascia is a web of connective tissue that surrounds, supports and protects all of the muscles, nerves, bones, organs and tissues of the body, any restriction or shortness in one part of the web can pull the entire structure out of alignment. Linda was experiencing tightness in some areas and laxity in others, which—like uneven tension in guy wires for a utility pole—was pulling her body off of its healthiest center of gravity. Linda could see the manifestation of this in her posture while standing in front of a mirror: she had slumped, rounded shoulders (one higher than the other), forward head posture, one foot turned out to the side and uneven weight distribution on her feet.

The Rolfer explained to Linda that she would be an excellent candidate for the “Ten Series”: ten sessions of manual therapy that address specific areas of the body in a particular order. The purpose of the Ten Series is to balance the right side of the body with the left, the front side of the body with the back side, and the inside (innermost core structure) with the outside of the body (body sleeve). The overall goal of these sessions is to help change unhealthy patterns of moving, standing and being. Linda felt that the process of Rolfing SI made sense, so she committed to experiencing the work. The Rolfer encouraged her to stay physically active and maintain regular appointments with her chiropractor for additional support.

After Linda started seeing her Rolfer for regularly scheduled sessions, she began to notice that her body felt less achy and more alive. She found that she could access deeper, more subtle movements in her exercise routine and daily activities. She could feel more evenness in balance and grounding in her feet. After having some of the rotation in her arms and legs addressed, Linda’s spine seemed to have more freedom. Her body seemed to more naturally default to being tall and upright without forcing what she thought was “proper” posture. She found that her new tool of heightened body awareness could help her proactively correct movement patterns and habits to effectively halt formation of aches and pains. What surprised Linda the most was that she could allow for much longer expanses of time between chiropractic adjustments. She was delighted that her chiropractor was now able to adjust different areas of her body with greater ease.

Linda’s journey to a more mobile and pain-free existence helped her to discover that she could heal if she gave her body what it needed. For Linda, chiropractic care and Rolfing SI proved to synergistically complement one another. By experiencing the benefits and strengths of both therapies, she began to see her body as a close friend to be listened to rather than an outside obstacle that only caused frustration and pain. n
*Name changed to protect privacy.

Victoria L. Huss, is the Certified Rolfer™ 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®.

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