My back and psoas muscle have long been giving me jip..but not enough to stop me doing stuff..more just a constant annoyance and stiffness..and this week I decided I really shouldnt leave it unhelped any longer..it wouldnt do me any favours. My flatmate has long been a fan of 'Rolfing' and it seemed more of a longer term solution than the osteopath/pysio who gernerally seem to just click things out and not address the actuall problem.
So I decided to give it a try. According to the Rolfing website (I was surprised to learn that Dr Rolf is a woman...I automatically assumed they were a man...I found my assumption quite an interesting reflection of the way our society shapes our thoughts...anyway I digress)
'The model today called „tonic function",is the guideline for most of the Rolfing movement exercises. It is based on exchange with other movement schools and theories, long time experience and the latest scientific studies about the function of the connective tissue (fascia).
This holistic approach brings together awareness, coordination, structure and psychology.'
I would describe it as a kind of massage, using pressure to release muscles, and that focuses on the whole body.
As dancers we tend to think we know a lot about bodies, our bodies, but I love to talk/experience people who work with bodies from a different perspective beacuse you always learn something new. And it reminds me that you can never stop learning..the body is so complex and unique. It is really quite extrodinary.
Sam, my Rolfer yesterday, was talking with me about the diaphram, a easily forgotten muscle. He was talking about the breath and the fact that people tend to use other muscles, such as the shoulders to breath, rather than the diaphram muscle. Breathing this way can increase tension.
At the end of the session he suggested I practise my breathing in my underwear in front of the mirror, so I could see my ribs more clearly, as he noticed I used my shoulders.
When I took some time to look at the way I breathed I was really surprised, but with a little thought I could isolate the muscles of my diaphram so I stopped using my shoulders, it was quite a different feeling to breath this way.
Thanks to someone else's body knowledge a life long (bad) habit was suddenly exposed to me.
And as I was driving home I felt sorry for all those people who never give their bodies any time or thought.