Rolfing: Session 2. Fancy Footwork!
I went in excited and ready for my second Rolfing appointment with Marie. I didn’t know what to expect, and was looking forward to continuing my journey towards a balanced, pain free body . Before we began, Marie quickly gave me the session #2 “run down”. According to Marie, the aim of the second Rolfing session is to create a more stable base of support for the upper body. Session two centers around the feet and the lower legs. The goal of the work is to improve the function in your foundation joints (feet, ankles and knees) giving you a greater sense of ease in walking and a feeling of ‘groundedness.’ This helps to bring awareness of your individual walking patterns and to help you learn how these affect the structure and function of your entire body. Session two also includes some work on the upper, middle and low back, in order to provide more length all along the spine.
Did you ever stop to think how HARD your feet work or how they move when you walk? Take a minute and check it out (lots of GOOD feet info on THIS POST). Everything from your ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and head moves from your base of support: Your feet. If you aren’t using your feet correctly, its a good chance nothing else is working right either. Everything starts from the ground up. Just like a tree and its roots, you’ve got to make sure you’re planted correctly if you want to live a long healthy life. Before we began I knew session two would be an important and eye-opening one for me.
It was all that and MORE. We started right away with my right foot and calf. Since I use my feet everyday, I figured it would be intense, but OH MY GOODNESS. Theres a LOT going on down there! Marie spent twenty minutes working on my right foot, calf, and shin. The amount of stress and imbalance that my body had accumulated over time was suprising. Trust me, this is no pedicure massage. Session two gets IN THERE.
Twenty minutes later (oof! still breathing… kinda), Marie had me walk around and compare the actions and differences between the two legs. The leg that had been Rolfed was sore, but oddly enough felt stronger and more secure. I felt as if I could articulate throughout the entire foot – from the tips of my toes to my heel. I could spread out through my toes and my walking stride seemed lengthened. It was a dramatic difference between the two. I was ready to share the love with the left. After a few deep breaths I laid back down for Marie’s work on the other side.
Marie taught me that typically, most people carry their weight on the outside edge of each foot, even though the inside appears better able to support the stresses of body weight. Apparently, most people walk by allowing the legs to pull the upper body along after them. This habit puts too much pressure on the heels and can reduce flexibility in the toes and metatarsals. If, on the other hand, the upper body initiates a step by “falling” lightly forward, the legs can easily swing forward in response, the body’s weight “caught” on the whole foot. After both my right and left had been worked, Marie had me get up in the massage space and practice properly walking. The rolfing work left my feet feeling grounded and stretched out. We took it slow and picked apart my foot stride, paying attention to how I hit the ground and how that influenced the movement of my entire body. Its AMAZING what you notice when you take the time to pay attention. The rolfing combined with Marie’s movement session helped me learn a new way for my body to walk through the world. Session two taught me to step strong from the ground up. It might take some time for me to learn this new movement pattern… but I have a feeling in the end it will be worth the work 🙂 We finished our 90 minute rolfing appointment with a bit of work on my neck and spine. Neck work is always delicious, and it was a nice treat after the intense work on the feet.
Since session two I have been much more MINDFUL of how my feet move and how I walk through the world. I pay attention to my feet when I walk to work, during cycling class, and even during yoga. I cant say I’ve completely changed my walking stride, but with this new knowledge it gets better every day. As the days pass, Ive continued to notice subtle changes and shifts. Its an experience that has allowed me to slow down, pay attention, and develop healthier movement patterns.
Up next is session three, which according to Marie is all about the upper back and neck. I cart a heavy purse around San Francisco day in and day out…. I am beyond excited for my next appointment.
Have you ever had a foot massage this intense? What was your experience?
More Fun Foot Info: How Fit Are YOUR feet? Great Article