Breath marks both the beginning and end of life. Our breath not only helps to keep us alive, it helps us to stay connected to ourselves. We are often told, “take a deep breath” or “take a moment to breathe”, but this is not always so easy.
Our breath is often shallow. Tensions in the ribcage and throat can restrict and impede breathing. Over time, slouching may become recorded in our bodies and the upper trunk often becomes habitually stooped or kyphotic. Taking a deep breath is not always so simple!
Do you want to breathe easier? The first Rolfing session opens the breath. The ribs wrap around the trunk, connect to with the spine in the back, and the sternum in the front to form the rib cage. This bony structure houses and protects the organs of respiration.
During the first hour of treatment, the connective tissue wrappings that surround the muscles that span from rib to rib and overlay the chest are released. This allows for fuller inspiration and expiration.
Clients often feel like a tight corset has been removed. Breathing becomes freer and easier. Chronic tensions in the anterior trunk, shoulder, neck and back are encouraged to release. With each Rolfing session the initial work of the first session is enhanced as the deep muscles of the back and scapula are released from their chronic patterns of bracing.
Before the Rolfing session begins, the Rolfer observes how a person appears in a standing position. Are the shoulders at the same height? Do they roll inward and forward? Is the head forward of the trunk? Do the ribs move with the breath? How does the person look as he rises from a chair and walks across the room? Everyone’s structure tells a story. The Rolfer watches carefully to discover areas of restriction and imbalance in the body.
The Rolfing Technique of Structural Integration is a technique for improving posture and alignment. The Rolfer uses deep pressure to release chronic shortenings in the myofascial network. The goal is to improve alignment within the gravity field. By realigning the body, gravity becomes a supportive factor rather than a force that drags one down. The result is a person who stands taller, breathes easier and moves with greater efficiency and ease.
Taking a good breath has a multitude of benefits. The brain receives oxygen and the nervous system relaxes. Breathing deeply renews and energizes the body and spirit. When taking a deep breath we have the chance to come back to ourselves and to be fully present. When one is frightened breathing tends to become quick. When one is depressed and in pain breathing tends toward shallow. Breath is reflective of our physical and emotional state.
Stress of any type tends to compromise breathing. Over the course of time shallow breathing becomes habitual. This results in a lack of oxygen flow throughout the system. The Rolfing Technique of Structural Integration provides a way back to breath that is spontaneous and full.