Every particle of the Universe, including the composite of particulate matter that our body is, feels the force of gravity. This force causes our body to sink to Earth's surface - the ground. However, as we are animate matter, we have an inherent desire to rise.

 

In rising, we stand tall and relate with all. In relating, our genetic predisposition, our sociocultural conditioning, our jobs, our interests as well as our psychological and emotional response to times of joy and periods of sorrow create behavioural patterns in us. These patterns may covertly disorganise our body, causing it to be plagued by pain. In pain, our experience of life is challenged.  As life is a gift, should our body be plagued by pain, we may honour that gift by choosing to reorganise our body.

 The reorganisation of our body is fundamentally a negotiation between our body and the field of gravity. While we may be capable of navigating this negotiation independently, we may benefit from a mediator. A respected mediator of gravitational negotiation is a Rolfer, someone who practices Rolfing. Rolfing may be embraced through one of two series: the classic ten-series or a tailored-series, the former consisting of ten session, the latter, at the very least, a couple of sessions.

 

Both series starts with an opening session, a session that sees the Rolfer interviewing the client so as to appreciate his or her uniqueness. After the interview, the client undresses down to their underclothes. Minimally clothed, the client is observed by the Rolfer, both in standing and in movement. The Rolfer "reads" the body, searching for any legacies of physical injury and / or inefficient behavioural patterns that have manifested in the client's embodiment. 

 

Having appreciated the client's body, the Rolfer uses his or her hands to apply gentle, but deep and sustained pressure on the body, feeling through the many layers of soft tissue so as to arrive on fascia, a type of connective tissue found around and within muscles and that is continuous with the membranes that envelop the visceral chambers. When on the fascia, the Rolfer moulds it so that its encompassing fibres align to their natural configuration and its overall material consistency is a healthy proportion of various fibres.

After the moulding of fascia, the client is brought back to standing. He or she is encouraged to sense any changes. This facilitates the internalisation of the earlier moulding. At this point, the Rolfer would suggest to the client if further sessions are necessary. 

Photographs by Monika Höfler. Illustrations by Asta Caplan

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