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Shaping Potential: Exploring the Rolf Method of Structural Integration with Rob Martin

Shaping Potential: Exploring the Rolf Method of Structural Integration with Rob Martin

Welcome to the transformative world of Rolfing, a unique approach to bodywork that transcends the typical boundaries of massage therapy.

In our conversation with Rob Martin, a seasoned practitioner of the Rolf Method of Structural Integration, featured on MysticMag, we delve into what inspired him to embark on this career and how this method significantly differs from conventional massage techniques. Rob’s journey began with his own profound healing experience and led him to pursue a deeper understanding of how structural integration could not only alleviate physical pain but also enhance overall human potential.

Join us as we explore the nuanced and personalized nature of Rolfing, its philosophical underpinnings, and its potential to redefine our relationship with our bodies through this insightful interview with MysticMag.

What inspired you to specialize in Rolfing and how does it differ from traditional massage therapy?

First of all, I practice the Rolf Method of Structural Integration. Across the board, most schools that teach Dr. Rolf’s work, call it Structural Integration. Rolfing is practiced by graduates of the Rolf Institute and is a service marked “brand” name for Structural Integration.

In 1990, I began session work with an SI practitioner in R.I., and by the 6th session, a constant burn in my kyphotic back disappeared. That, and the wonderful lifestyle I imagined this gentleman had inspired me to eventually quit my job and move to Boulder, CO to study the Rolf Method of Structural Integration.

Comparing it to massage therapy is like comparing apples to oranges. Dr. Rolf felt that as a species, we had developed as far as we could unconsciously. So, she created a body of work that changed our structure so dramatically that it also changed the way we perceived the world. She felt that this new vantage point would provide us with the opportunity to recognize our full potential as human beings.

This is process-oriented work about our own evolution that we are participating in when we go through the 10 series. Ten individualized sessions designed specifically to release the superficial layers of connective tissue from the core, change your relationship to gravity, and to increase your awareness of what that feels like in your body.

Massage is about easing the symptoms of a body that is out of balance but not necessarily the cause. It is palliative.

The pain relief that clients feel in Structural Integration is the result of bringing the body back into balance with gravity and is a secondary result of the work. So, it’s more about evolution.

How do you personalize your approach to meet the unique needs of each client?

The first thing I think about when a client enters my studio, is “What can this person teach me today?” I don’t want to get stuck in the place that makes me think I fixed this person. It’s not about fixing at all. I want to get their story first so that I have an idea of where to begin. There is a “recipe” on how to proceed with the work, but it is always different for each person.

A little less salt and a little more pepper might work for a client at that moment, but it could change the next time that I see them. So, you always have to be listening, observing movement patterns, and seeing the changes that ensue. Whether it is their first session or their tenth, I imagine it is the first time we have met.

Can you explain the significance of somatic education in your practice?

Somatics is where the body and psychology meet. It is the study of the “lived body” and is a new word for a very old field of study. Thomas Hanna was the first to adopt the ancient Greek word “soma” for the interior, “lived” aspect of the body. When exploring this world of Soma, we first become aware that we have a body, it is subject.

Then, we move, literally, into “experiencing” our body. This is when we start to get a ‘felt sense” of ourselves. The next stage is embodiment. This is when we have cultivated a sense of what it feels like to live in our bodies. Somatic education is the process of guiding a client toward more personal growth and awareness, using the insights found within the field of Somatics.

What are some common misconceptions about Rolfing that you encounter?

Common misconceptions of Structural Integration:

1. That it is a form of massage.

2. That it is painful to receive.

When I received my first ten series, I remember feeling some discomfort. Some areas are more than others. Some of that pain may have been a semi-conscious resistance to change. When you tense up while getting any bodywork, it is going to feel very different than if you “allow” the therapist in.

Later on, I received more work from other practitioners and discovered that some were incredibly gentle and others had very heavy hands. I asked my teacher about this painful reputation and he said, “We were a bunch of young Turks and had no idea what Dr Rolf was trying to teach us. So, we tried too hard to copy what we thought she was doing and damaged our reputation to this day.”

Nowadays, there is a very different approach to the work. At the American Guild for Structural Integration, they emphasize that you are working on a nervous system and you need to learn how to have a conversation with it. Deep, heavy work does not ensure good results. It is the practitioner who understands how to listen to the tissue that will produce the most promising results.

How do movement exercises complement the bodywork you do at Rolf Bodyworks?

Movement is the key to life. It slows down the dying process. It serves as an avenue to experience what it feels like to have a body. It enriches our lives by increasing our movement vocabulary. We only have so many movements that we do daily. Most of them are habitual and we don’t pay much attention to them, such as how you get in and out of your car. We are more likely to analyze how we swing a golf club.

In Structural Integration, movement is incorporated into all the sessions. It may be done on the table lying down, sitting up, or walking. This is part of the integration process and allows the client to slowly build his/her movement vocabulary. In real life, this provides us with more movement options and also there is a marked increase in the “quality” of the movement. It becomes more refined with practice.

Find out more at: www.rolfbodyworks.org and www.rolfguildusa.org

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
MysticMag contains reviews that were written by our experts and follow the strict reviewing standards, including ethical standards, that we have adopted. Such standards require that each review will take into consideration independent, honest and professional examination of the reviewer. That being said, we may earn a commission when a user completes an action using our links, at no additional cost to them. On listicle pages, we rank vendors based on a system that prioritizes the reviewer’s examination of each service but also considers feedback received from our readers and our commercial agreements with providers.This site may not review all available service providers, and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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Luka is passionate about the environment and wildlife, captivated by the intriguing domains of energy restoration and hypnotic therapy.