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Why do I use the name The 'Connected' Body ?

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

I used the name 'The Connected Body' because Rolfing SI works to make new connections in clients. The obvious one is within the client's myofascial system (muscles + fascia), but that connection also between the body and the mind of the client (increasing the ability to know your own body and receive information from it) , and also in how we connect to the wider world, (how you can respond to the challenges that we inevitably face in our lives).

I'll expand on these below, but I've also put a couple of introductory books as resource at the end of this blog if you wish to read more about these issues.

Myofascial Connections:

A common remark from clients when working on a specific spot in their body is a surprised sounding 'oh - that's strange....I never knew my body was linked up like that' when they feel the impact of work some distance from where my hands are actually working. For instance, work on the feet creating some sensation in the hip, or even the chest. They say this as if it is a very surprising thing, but once you realise that we are highly connected across multiple joints it is more surprising that most people do not recognise those longer, wider patterns in our body. By giving back that knowledge of the linkages, the movement patterns which are locked in place have a chance to change. Rolfers also work hard to improve the quality of fascia within specific spaces so they can play a better role in movement.

A 'Connected' body is one which takes full advantage of the relationships across the body to move in a way which makes the joints work most smoothly and the effort is most distributed. Have you ever noticed that the best athletes even walk in a way which indicates how well they inhabit their body? - they are great athletes partly because they have great systems for coordinating all the parts together in a beautifully connected way. And they train not just to strengthen muscles but to improve their coordination and timing. So my aim in Rolfing is to help clients find these better connections within themselves.

The Body/Mind Connection

Modern research also suggests that the body and the mind are much more closely intertwined than the typical Western culture has assumed - indeed there is no clear distinction between them. But our systems for dealing with pain or injury have spent little time in improving our ability to listen to the feedback within our bodies to learn how to use it better. We hear our body when it shouts loudly enough and there is discomfort and even pain, but we have little cultural habit for listening to our bodies before that point. We tend to either add strength (lift weights) or try and release (stretch, foam roll) in a rather blind way. Rolfing Structural Integration is an education of how to tune into what your body is sensing - with slow, quiet work and an encouragement to sense what is there, you learn for yourself where something needs adjusting. And it works in the other direction as well - a better balanced and responsive body helps to settle and support our mood.

Connections to the Wider World

The final connection that Rolfing offers is one of how someone can take their inner world to be a resource in a world where we tend to emphasise outward appearance, performance, achievement, and endless comparison to others. The Rolfing 10 Series becomes a rich and slow unpacking of what resources we have inside, and how to find resilience and adaptability in response to challenges. One often commented-upon consequence of Rolfing Structural Integration is a different state of mind, an ability to feel other resources and to have a 'reset' to come back to when the world makes so many challenges for us. It is very common for clients to say they feel 'grounded', or 'supported' by the effect the work has on them. By knowing ourselves better, and by using our body better, we meet the outside world with more confidence, comfort and resources.

Accessible Resources:

Myofascial chains:

Anatomy Trains - an very readable anatomy text based on longer chains of myofascial links, by Tom Myer., who trained directly with Ida Rolf and worked as a Rolfer for many years. He has now established his own school of Structural Integration, but this is an excellent starting point for understanding myofascial links.

Body Mind and Mind/Mental Health links:

Move - The New Science of Body over Mind by Caroline Williams

This book sets out modern research on the importance of movement and the quality of movement to mental health and body comfort. It covers a huge amount of ground in a user-friendly way, including a section on fascia and recent scientific research. The author is a science journalist.

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