Winter 2000 Newsletter
As Dr. Ida Rolf worked toward solutions to problems of alignment in the human body she studied many things including Osteopathic manipulation and Hatha Yoga. On the surface Rolfing® doesn't look like either of these ancestors, but the concepts and philosophy are there.
Osteopathy has taken diverse paths of development in different countries. Two offshoots in the US are Rolfing® and CranioSacral Therapy. France has a particularly vitalOsteopathic lineage with several lines of development including cranial manipulation, visceral manipulation and what is called mechanical link.
The Rolf Institute® encourages its graduates and members to take continuing education courses in these various osteopathic techniques. What is unique to Rolfing® is understanding the relationship of the human body to gravity. Most Osteopathic techniques do not directly address this gravitational relationship, however these same techniques are very useful in producing a better relationship to gravity when they are used with a Rolfer's analytical skills and intent.
In 1999 I completed a clinical preceptorship with CranioSacral Instructor Signe Erickson and the following seven continuing education courses with the Upledger Institute: Visceral Manipulation IB; Visceral Manipulation II; SomatoEmotional Release II; Practical Integration of Visceral Manipulation; Advanced CranioSacral Therapy; CranioSacral Therapy for Pediatrics; and Advanced Visceral Manipulation.
I intend to make a major part of my work CranioSacral Therapy for infants and young children. The roots of a majority of structural problems later in life are present at birth either as developmental issues or birth trauma. These conditions can often be quickly improved when the child is still young and small. Over time, the patterns become set and more compensations have been established, much more work is required to make changes, and results may not be as complete.
Osteopath Dick McDonald examined and cranially manipulated every newborn baby in a certain hospital for a several year period. Following these children for the next few years, he found the incidence of many childhood problems was substantially lower, for example colic all but disappeared, ear infections were rare and the incidence of SIDS was zero.
I am very excited about the work of French Physical Therapist and Osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral. Folk traditions of organ manipulation have existed since prehistory. Barral studied this tradition as it existed in 20th century France. Applying his medical knowledge, Barral refined, extended, and scientifically documented those techniques. His work is taught in this country through the Upledger Institute under the name Visceral Manipulation.
Most of the internal organs are attached to the spine by connective tissue. If the organ itself, or more commonly, the connective tissue associated with the organ is distorted or stiffened, spinal disfunction will result. Barral believes this is the most common single source of spinal disfunction.
As an example, the beginning of the small intestine is in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen, and the other end of the small intestine is in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. All thirty feet of the small intestinal loops are connected by planes of membrane, called mesentery, to a diagonal line of attachment on the front of the spine, running between the two ends of the small intestine. This line of attachment is called the root of the mesentery. Because of the diagonal alignment of this attachment any tension or distortion in the mesenteries will bend sideways and rotate the lower spine. Simple gentle manipulation can relieve this.
In addition to continuing my studies in CranioSacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation this year, I also have begun to assist in the instruction of beginning level CranioSacral courses through the Upledger Institute.
Most of my Rolfing® sessions now include some CranioSacral and or Visceral technique. This has substantially improved my effectiveness and efficiency.
Please note that this Summer is quite busy for me with teaching and continuing education, so schedule your sessions with me early for the limited appointments available during June and July.