I did it! I made it to the halfway mark in my 10 series Rolfing experiment. It has been an eye-opening and body-changing process; one that continues to teach me more about proper movement and spinal alignment. I find myself looking forward to each session with Marie and another opportunity to progress towards a healthier spine.
Sessions 4, 5, and six in Rolfing are coupled together because they all focus on the body’s “core” musculature. Rolfers define “core” structures as those that lie close to the spine and the body’s midline; they are differentiated from the “sleeve,” consisting of the shoulder and pelvic girdles, and the lateral structures of the legs. Session 5 builds upon the work of Session four and continues to move up the body’s core. It works up the midline of the body; opening the abdominals, psoas, and sternum. The goal of session 5 is to balance the hip flexors and release the upper structures of the pelvis and abdomen. These are DEEP physical structures and hard to release through regular massage. The Rolfing technique is considered genius in that it found a safe method of working with these structures with a minimum of discomfort. Rolfing methods performed by a properly trained therapist can provide an enjoyable and structurally successful session for the client.
Marie began our fifth session by working my upper sternum. It was unusual work, I am not used to having my chest or clavicle worked on. Even though it was very intense, it instantly provided a deep release and opening in my shoulders. My chest felt open, lifted, and proud. My typical slouched shoulder stance was gone and my posture felt perfectly long. The session then continued down my torso using unique techniques to release the muscles of my abdominal wall. Marie had me perform different movements as she worked to release of each part of my torso. For example, she had me perform a hip bridge and then used both hands to rolf individual segments of my abdominals while I moved. This technique felt as if she was “scooping out” my abs, it was the most unusual massage method I’d ever experienced. Have you EVER had your abs massaged before? The fifth session with Marie made me realize how badly the abs need regular work. Take a moment and think about how much those core muscles do to support your EVERY movement. They play a key role in everything you do (besides just looking sexy in a swimsuit). As bizarre as the abdominal work was, I was surprised by the dramatic results. My diaphragm felt loose and my breathing was easy. My abs felt open and relaxed.
Marie continued the session by working a crucial part of the abdomen, a deep muscle called the PSOAS. The Psoas is considered a hip flexor. It stabilizes your posture and assists in straightening the lumbar (lower) spine. The muscle starts in the lower back, branches into the your pelvic area ,and inserts on the lesser trochanter of your femur(leg). A tight posas muscle can cause lower back pain, is a huge culprit in poor postural alignment, and can hurt performance in sport/daily life. From the extreme athlete to computer addict the psoas is chronically TIGHT on most people. The rolfing method works to relieve your psoas tension and allows for more mobility and freedom in the pelvis.
Even though it can often be painful, the psoas muscle is one of my favorite things to have massaged. Im a firm believer EVERYONE needs to experience getting their psoas released at least once in their life. I see it as a “rite of passage towards better body awareness”. In our session, Marie used special rolfing techniques to release my psoas muscles. The intensity was worth it. I stood from the table with NEW HIPS. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of freedom and mobility experienced in the pelvis from the fifth rolfing session. It was as if I had just done three days of non-stop yoga. I was a new woman.
We concluded our time together with a little bit of neck work (love) and movement training. Marie had me practice standing in proper alignment with my new (free!) pelvis. It was extremely educational. Since our time together I find myself recalling her movement cues and correcting my posture in everything I do. Next up is number 6, which according to Marie continues to work on the pelvis, hips, and back of the body. Im ready and eager for more – cant wait to see Marie again enjoy another eye-opening body session.
Marie is certified in the Rolf Method of Structural Integration, also known as Rolfing® from The Guild for Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado. Her massage training was completed at National Holistic Institute where she was trained in Swedish, Deep tissue. Shiatsu, Myofascial Release, and Reflexology. CLICK HERE to continue reading about Marie Thiebaud, structural integration specialist.