Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • April 2015
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Recovering wholeness through tag-team trauma healing — Part II

Editor’s note: Part I of “Recovering wholeness through tag-team trauma healing” appeared in the February issue of the Northeast Wisconsin edition of Nature’s Pathways. You can find that article and others written by Victoria L. Huss online at

In the first part of this story, Caroline* consulted with a Certified Rolfer for assistance with addressing chronic pain. The Rolfer determined that Caroline would be a great candidate to receive Rolfing Structural Integration (or Rolfing SI). However, Caroline needed guidance with developing healthier emotional coping skills and in forming a stronger internal sense of security so she was given the contact information of a skilled trauma therapist. The Rolfer envisioned that with time, Caroline could have a clearer sense of boundaries of where she ended and another person began so that she could rediscover her “center.” (The Rolfer’s work of balancing the body to find the body’s healthiest center of gravity combined with the emotional work of finding centeredness and grounding is an especially potent combination.)

The Rolfer did not always hear back from clients who were referred out to other professionals like this and was pleasantly surprised when Caroline strutted back into her office a year later.

There was a definitive shift in Caroline’s energy and disposition this time around. She seemed more confident, more “knowing.” Her physical issues and pain already were eased somewhat. She inhabited her body a bit more — but she still needed help feeling more at home in her body. Caroline’s hard work with her therapist created some space and resiliency for the potential of change to occur. Because of this new adaptability, the Rolfer had no reservations of working with Caroline as long as she continued to see her therapist throughout the Rolfing SI process.

Caroline’s first Rolfing SI session began with an experiential mapping of her “kinesphere.” The kinesphere is personal space that an individual moves and inhabits both with and without awareness. Caroline found herself hypersensitive on the front and left sides of her body, yet very unaware of her right and back sides — which seemed to be blind spots. Now it made sense to Caroline why she sometimes felt uneasy whenever someone entered her space in a certain way.

The Rolfer and Caroline played a little distance game back and forth — slowing things down so that Caroline could really get in touch with the subtle cues her body was giving her whenever she felt that her personal space/safety zone felt invaded. Caroline learned to tune out those signals some years ago and found it amazing to be able to feel them again. She also learned how shifting her perception and consciously feeling the support and space behind her back allowed her to stand more upright with little effort.

When the table-work portion of Caroline’s Rolfing SI work began, the Rolfer instructed Caroline to breathe into various parts of her body as they were being manipulated with firm pressure and long strokes. Caroline found it strange to “breathe into her arm” but she eventually found she could focus and relax enough to breathe all the way down into her fingertips. After connecting with her body and breath in such a new way, Caroline could now experience and feel more of her 3-D self. Her arms felt lighter as she breathed into her whole upper torso with ease.

The months passed and the Rolfing SI sessions continued. Caroline realized that for years, she actually spent very little time being “in her body.” Feeling greater security within, she remembered that she could consciously inhabit more and more of her body. The sessions heightened her awareness of how she held herself. She began to notice how her shoulders and chest tightened when she was around negative people.

Becoming more in touch with her body’s subtle ways of communicating gave Caroline more of a sense of control over her environment. After much listening to her body, Caroline concluded that she really did need a different job that better suited her intelligence and physical needs. She also began to slowly remove the difficult people in her life who tended to take more than give.

The combination of Rolfing SI and trauma therapy helped empower Caroline to become more conscious — thus allowing her to make healthier choices for herself, instead of reacting all the time. Restoring her “center” was a multidimensional approach creating lasting change. Caroline’s efforts rewarded her with wonderful new possibilities for moving, being and living.

*Name changed.

Victoria Huss

Victoria L Huss is the Certified Rolfer™ and owner of New Possibilities Integration LLC in downtown Appleton. She finds joy in helping people unfold and find freedom from rigidity and chronic pain. Victoria offers free consultations. For more information, contact her via phone at 920-427-7653 or on the Internet at Rolfing® is a registered service mark of the Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration.

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