During the course of a series of Rolfing sessions I have observed one particular client’s walk change. I explained to him at the end of his tenth session that his walk now looked “free wheeling”. Later, questioning the choice of words, I looked up the definition. “Free wheeling – loose and unrestrained.” Exactly the description I was looking to convey to him, a new sense of freedom and confidence that his walk exuded.
The client, a 50-year-old man with an active lifestyle and no significant health issues explained to me that he had caught sight of his profile in a store window and not been happy with the reflection. I asked him to walk around the treatment room. His walk revealed a goal that we could mutually agree to work upon during the course of his Rolfing treatment. Although he moved spritely and did not look like anyone would be able to push him over without a fight, he had lost something in his stature and movement that had aged him.
We mutually decided upon some goals for his Rolfing series – length through the spine, up through the top of the head and movement which is fluid and unencumbered.
Looking effortless as we move is often taken for granted when we are young and missed when we are older.
Aging is not something reserved just for the over 50 crowd. While our bodies do change as the years pass much of the change is due to how stress and trauma manifest in our physical structures. Injuries, illnesses and surgeries can set into our structures creating imbalances and limiting movement.
When alignment becomes out of balance the shoulders may be hunched forward or backwards, the midline may go off center or the pelvis rotates. The result is that we are fighting gravity. Stiffness in the body gradually takes residence affecting the structure and quality of our gait.
Many aspects of aging are determined by the loss of movement. Movement of the spine, ribcage, diaphragm is necessary for us to take a full breath. Movement is also necessary for the exchange of fluids to nourish and eliminate waste from our bodies. Our physical activity stimulates this process. Weight bearing stimulation provides nourishment for bone health. Muscles stay strong due to their contraction and release during activity. Healthy aging is reliant upon movement.
Concurrently our bodies can be remodeled through transformational processes such as Rolfing. During a Rolfing series the connective tissue wrappings of muscles are lengthened and repositioned. As areas of tension and holding are released the body gains length and freedom. In the case of the client previously described length, expansion and mobility added to his structure rendered him more youthful and relaxed. He began to hold his head high and lead with his heart. He appeared younger and reported that he slept more soundly.
Rolfing is a profoundly effective technique for restoring youthful movement and enhancing well being. During a Rolfing session gentle, sustained pressure on soft tissue areas that lack circulation and resist movement is applied. As a result, hydration is restored, energy is liberated and mobility is gained. Over the course of ten sessions a gradual transformation occurs as the relationships of the head, spine and extremities shift toward a more integrated whole. Additionally, the gravitational forces support the entire body.
Perhaps the idea of aging should bring on images about quality of life rather than physical decline. Rolfing is the ultimate tool for preserving a healthy and strong body!
Featured Image Credit: www.agingresearch.org