The Integrative Sessions: 8 Through 10

In each of the first seven sessions of Rolfing, the practitioner focuses on one area of the body. The goals of a particular session center around placing its part in the vertical balance of the whole body. With the eighth session, a broader and more comprehensive approach to the problem of integrating the entire structure becomes necessary. These last three sessions are considered "integrative" in nature, so they are customized for each person.

Click to enlarge Seated Back Work

The dictionary defines "integration" as "a combination and coordination of separate and diverse elements or units into a more complete and harmonious whole." This is the job of the client and Rolfer in these final sessions. "It is easy to take a body apart," Dr. Rolf would declare, "but it takes skill and understanding to put it back together.

In the last three sessions, the practitioner aims for a body that is poised on a narrow base and can move in any direction with equal ease. Large fascial sheaths are related one to the other, and a "silky" quality in the muscle tissue is sought. Spiral patterns in the body will be smoothed and lengthened to allow for more graceful movement. Much work will be done with the client sitting or standing, because the relationship of a particular body part to gravity is the most important goal in these integrative hours.

After the first ten sessions, it is suggested that clients avoid additional deep structural work for six months to a year after the initial series, because the change that is initiated by the first sessions will continue to evolve for many months after the series is completed. During this time, the emphasis is on integrating this work through movement. Paying attention to daily body use in work, sports, and hobbies is helpful. Movement disciplines such yoga, dance, and martial arts will help create balanced strength and assist in the process of retraining muscle memory. Clients are encouraged to look to the intelligence within the body for new ways of using the initial changes. Your Rolfer is a resource for you if you have questions after the series.

Next Section: Advanced Work