August 18th, 2011 by Tam Tran

Have you heard of the Rolfing Basic Ten Series, but don’t know exactly what it is?  I invite you to visit the Rolfing section of my site, and come back here to read a more detailed overview of each session to give you a sense of it’s strategy in totally aligning and integrating your body to move with more freedom and less pain!

Every person benefits in their individual ways, and the changes may be profound.

Session 1

The goal to start the process of structural integration, is to help the body breathe better by decreasing the effort required.

We bring awareness to your present breathing pattern while at rest and in walking, and start to feel how breath can help the body release tension.

To facilitate breathing, we address the relationships between shoulder girdle to diaphragm to pelvic girdle, the three large intersections of the body.

Session 2

After the body starts to breathe better, we establish balance by helping the feet walk with better contact and relationship to the ground.

We focus on the feet and lower legs, and address the ROM at and relationships between the knees to the ankles, and through the toes.

We work on the functional arches of the feet to help either build them up or relax them down, depending on your particular arch pattern.

Session 3

Folks, we are not two dimensional!

As the body is breathing and walking better, session 3 lengthens the entire side of the body and brings awareness to where and how the front of the body relates to the back of the body, which gives you a real sense of three-dimensionality.

With the new length from head to toe, you will also start to feel taller.

Functionally, you will be able to move better, in flexion and extension, in lateral flexion from side to side, and in rotation, from head to toe.

In a seated exercise, we improve on your sitting and getting up from sitting positions.

This session has prepared us for the core sessions, 4-7. We have completed the primary work on the sleeve of the body, or big muscles (and their relating fascia): traps, lats, glutes, hamstrings, calves, etc.

We are now structurally sound to work on the deeper inner structures.

Session 4

Now that the extrinsic outer structures of the body are relating and coordinating better, we are ready to start an intrinsic core session. Here we work the entire inner leg, expand the pelvic floor (yes, you’ve heard this over and over again in your yoga and pilates classes) so that your legs and pelvis can give better support to your lower back.

By relating the medial arch of the foot to the medial lower legs to the adductors or inner thighs, we work to increase range of motion of the legs at the hips, knees, ankles and feet.

We balance the pelvic floor, as it relates to the lower back, hip and legs.

Most people will experience a strong sense of grounding to the ground as they stand and walk, as well as a substantial increase in normal range of motion in the hips, knees, ankles, and feet.

Session 5

With a strong sense of support from the lower body, the upper core body is ready for work. We release restrictions in the abdominal region and deep hip flexors and follow with gentle work to release restrictions in the chest.

After this session, you will effortlessly tone and lengthen your torso with each walking step you make.

You will most likely reveal a smoother, shapely contour in your torso and the ability to walk from your abdominal space, as opposed to your quads.

Many people with digestive problems, old scars from surgery in this area, or hip flexor tightness generally find relief afterward.

Session 6

After Sessions 4 and 5, you may feel light, have more agility and be more responsive.

The body is ready to feel more freedom and balanced undulation in the spine, starting from your sacrum (part of the hips). You will discover your natural rhythm!
For those with lower back and hip concerns, this session is key to help the left and right hips move independently from one another, and increase the ease of rotation throughout the spine.

As in Session 3 where we were able to achieve better movement in flexion/extension, lateral flexion side to side, and rotation, after Session 6, we are able to move deeper and even better.

Session 7

The body from the shoulders down has found new more stable and functional relationships and it is now a great foundation for the head and neck to effortlessly rest upon it in alignment and suspend upright.

A key movement we want to accomplish here is a normal and easy range of motion in rotation, to be able to easily to left to right, as well as an ease in looking up and down.

In terms of balance and awareness in space, this area is saturated with sensory and proprioceptive receptors. It is a huge relay center for communication from the head to the body.

After this session, you will feel tension dissipate from your head and you’ll be able to move your head where your shoulders can finally remain down and at ease.

Session 8 and 9

We enter now into the integration phase of the 10 Series. Depending whether the body is expressing more or less coordination in the upper or lower body, we will work on the region that could use assistance in adapting to the more integrated region of the body.

We are particularly interested in the kinetic drag from the shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle, and how the movements from there transmit through the middle of the body (in the back, think where your mid back meets your lower back. And In the front, think diaphragm.

We are seeking smooth coordination across joints, up and down, across, and through the body.

Session 10

We are at the close of the basic 10 series! Here we stabilize and integrate the body at its new current level of order. Our goal is for the person to embody a sense of wholeness, an ability to adapt to simple and complex physical demands, and to feel light and energized about the process.

Here we discuss the next phase, which may include the client’s goal for periodic touch ups or future advanced mini series. Touch up sessions satisfy any backtracking the body may experience and advanced mini series takes the body to the next level of integration.

We tweak the work on joints from the last two sessions and work for a uniform brilliance, a system-wide integrated person, in static and dynamic gestures.

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