Allison* had been seeing her chiropractor for treatment of back pain for some time when her progress plateaued. The adjustments she received no longer seemed to “hold.” She had been so hopeful up to that point because she was finding relief from her pain for the first time in years. The chiropractor suspected that deep hard-wired movement and compensation patterns prevented Allison from integrating localized soft tissue manipulation and spinal adjustments. Familiar with the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf and the whole body process of balance and alignment known as Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing SI), the chiropractor recommended that Allison seek out the skills of an area Certified Rolfer. Having tried everything else and not knowing where to turn, Allison decided to give it a whirl.
In Allison’s first consultation with the Rolfer, she learned how Rolfing SI addresses system-wide imbalances found within the fascial infrastructure of the body. Since fascia is a web of connective tissue that surrounds, supports and protects all of the muscles, nerves, bones, organs and tissues of the body, any restriction or shortness in one part of the web can literally pull the entire structure out of alignment. Allison was experiencing tightness in some areas and laxity in others, which like uneven tension in guy wires for a utility pole was pulling her body off of its natural and healthiest center of gravity. Allison could see the manifestation of this in her posture while standing in front of a mirror: she had slumped, rounded shoulders (one higher than the other), forward head posture, one foot turned out to the side, and uneven weight distribution on her feet.
The Rolfer explained to Allison that she would be an excellent candidate for the “Ten Series”: ten sessions of manual therapy that address specific areas of the body in a particular order. The purpose of the Ten Series is to balance the right side of the body with the left, the front side of the body with the back side, and the inside (affecting innermost core muscles) with the outside of the body. The overall goal of these sessions is to help change unhealthy patterns of moving, standing and being. Allison felt that the process of Rolfing SI made sense, so she committed to experiencing the work. The Rolfer encouraged her to stay physically active and maintain regular appointments with her chiropractor for additional support.
After Allison started seeing her Rolfer for regularly scheduled sessions, she began to notice that her body felt less achy and more alive. She found that she could access deeper, more subtle movements in her exercise routine and daily activities. She could feel more evenness in balance and grounding of her feet. Her body seemed to naturally default to being tall and upright without forcing what she thought was “proper” posture. She found that her new tool of heightened body awareness could help her proactively correct movement patterns and habits to effectively halt formation of aches and pains. What surprised Allison the most was that she could allow for much longer expanses of time between chiropractic adjustments. She was delighted that her chiropractor was now able to manipulate different areas of her spine with greater ease.
Allison’s journey to a more mobile and pain-free existence helped her to discover that she could heal if she gave her body what it needed. For Allison, chiropractic care and Rolfing SI proved to synergistically complement one another. By experiencing the benefits and strengths of both therapies, she began to see her body as a close friend to be listened to rather than an outside obstacle that only caused frustration and pain.
*Name changed to protect privacy.