Rock & Rolf

Rock and Rolf is a technique that connects some complementary elements that come from two treatment methods that are usually considered two opposite ends in terms of their style and therapeutic techniques.

The source methods are the Structural Integration of Dr. Rolf (Rolfing) and Trager Approach.

The techniques that come together here are:

Rock - creating a swing

Rolf - connecting to the client's central axis while applying pressure.

The rocking movement in the Trager Approach is the most common element in the therapeutic technique and has several meanings and aspects:

The first aspect is creating relaxation in the client's system. While swinging, we teach a client who finds it difficult to let go, to identify the supporting factor, that is, to identify the treatment table on which he is lying.

The identification is not only conceptual but is the very feeling of the pressure between the client's body and the supporting table. The identification of the supporting factor is a primary factor for relaxation - it is a factor that works against the fear of falling, which is the primary factor for us to fear and contract. The treatment table is the messenger of the earth which actually supports our body.

We know how to deepen this aspect of release in those who find it difficult to release by directing their attention to the saliva in the mouth and in the next step directing attention to the eye moisture.

These two elements, both the saliva in the mouth and the moist in the eyes indicate the fact that the patient is in a state of relaxation - that is, the sympathetic nervous system is in action and it is in what is called rest & digest. On the other hand, when there is dryness in the mouth and eyes, this indicates the fact that the client is under stress - the sympathetic system is in action and he is in fight or flight mode.

The second aspect of the rocking movement is the experience of connection created by the wave of oscillation. The very fact that the client's body is driven in a wavy movement along its entire length even though there is only one point of contact between the moving therapist and the client - produces a sensory illustration of the connection of the client's entire body.

In clients who tend to participate in the swing, meaning they actually produce it themselves, we will again use the direction to identify the supporting factor, and identify the weight of the swinging body and of each swinging part, - identifying the parts of the body through the feeling of their weight also helps to more correctly regulate the level of tension in the body or of excess muscular strength.

The vibration itself is a calming factor when it is done in a monotonous manner without surprises, it relaxes the client just as a baby is soothed, whether on the hands with the mother's vibrations on the ground, or in a hammock or a stroller, at the same time it must be remembered that in all of these as the feeling of connection to the earth exists, the relaxation occurs more quickly, this may explain why in some people a baby calms down faster and in others less.

The meanings of connecting to the middle axis while applying pressure
To connect to the central axis of the client, the therapist himself needs to be present in his own central axis, this is a condition that allows the connection from the middle of the therapist to the middle of the client.

The meanings of being present in the central axis are many and important and perhaps in this turbulent period more than ever!

To be in the middle axis is not to be at one of the poles, not to be on an extreme side that sees only itself and its righteousness and does not see the other side. To be in one of the poles is actually to be divided within yourself and not to recognize certain parts of yourself but to identify firmly with one side.

On the other hand, being in the middle axis means that I contain my poles but do not let them rule me. The middle axis directs me and uses the qualities of the poles proportionately and as necessary as an expression of self-expansion but does not tear to one side or break the package into parts. Such unity within myself, symbolizes the recognition of a shared truth, shared by all the parts of me and which leads me, and not extreme aspects of one or two poles.

These days in the State of Israel the need to identify such a common truth among all the citizens of the country is transparent and the lack of success in identifying such a truth and placing it at the center is manifested in the social and political chaos we are in today. But this difficulty exists in principle in all humanity and in every person within it. The practice of using the middle axis is therefore a very important anchor for all humanity to prove the possibility of the presence of the middle axis without being torn into poles and without creating wars between the parties, but rather being contained within the middle axis and from a clear vision of a truth common to all.

From a physical point of view, the use of the middle axis of the body expresses physical efficiency. In this situation there is no need to fight gravity - on the contrary, we grow up because of gravity and thanks to the ground reaction force

The use of the physical central axis becomes easier as the organization of our structure is more symmetrical in relation to the central axis and this is actually the main "work" in Rolf's Structural Integration - to create more symmetry around the middle axis by opening adhesions in the fascia which caused the shortening of specific muscles and thus contributed to the deformation of the structure and its imbalance in relation to the middle axis and gravity.

Next to the opening of the adhesions and the creation of the possibility of a better organization of the structure, is accompanied by a clear and practical study of the use of the middle axis both in standing and sitting and in a dynamic way such as in walking or any other movement.

At Rock & Rolf we use the middle axis, which means that the therapist is in the middle of himself and from there connects with the client to meet and stimulate the vitality in the middle axis of the client. The use of rocking movements within this connection, illustrates to the client again and again - here is your middle axis and here is the connection that occurs both between you and the earth through me (through the therapist) and within your system along the middle axis and from it to the farthest ends.

The meaning of applying pressure
In Rolf's Structural Integration, pressure is applied in order to create heat that will melt the glue that adheres the folds of the fascia. In this state of aggregation, it is possible by a stretching movement to reopen the folds of the fascia and thus to re-lengthen a muscle that has shortened due to adhesions in its sheath.

Therefore, when at Rock & Rolf we also use pressure, we allow in a certain way the opening of the adhesions of the fascia, thus creating a better organization of the structure or at least more freedom in the area to which the muscles on which we exerted pressure are attached.

If in the structural integration the opening of the adhesions is done by active movement of the client while the heat is generated and the glue is melted, then at Rock & Rolf the movement we produce is usually a passive movement created by the rocking movement. The advantage of the rocking movement and the passive movement it produces, is in the release level of the muscle during the pressure and oscillation. Because the looser the muscle is, the easier it is to create the opening of the adhesions!

Many clients do not know how to produce a slow and soft movement, they are usually used to making a sharp movement in the orientation of sports or fulfilling an order. The passive movement bypasses this difficulty and produces an extremely soft movement and at a pace that the therapist decides.

Of course, there are also advantages to active movement and learning how to produce slow and soft movement, here I will only say that this learning goes through alerting the attention from the movement to the feeling. Whenever we make a movement - immediately the brain will insert a known pattern that will produce the movement. Whereas when we work with a feeling like how much pressure there is under the palm of my foot, or how much the hand weighs while moving, etc., we can avoid entering the pattern and stay in the realm of soft and slow movement with minimal effort, which is the most effective movement for opening adhesions in the fascia.

In conclusion, the Rock & Rolf allows working even in acute situations such as severe back pain, herniated disc etc. because it does not produce effort in the client. It does soften and expand the space of the muscle - it does open fascia very gently and thereby improves the result compared to the use in rocking movement alone. The Rock & Rolf allows the opening of fascia where deep work alone is not possible because it will produce too much pain!

Furthermore, because of the connection of the Rock & Rolf to the middle axis, in this work there is an opportunity to illustrate to the client both connection and release at the same time, both a middle axis that connects the entire system into one unit and also softness and flexibility within this connection, an experience that greatly enhances the relaxed presence in the body and in reality – in this distorted world we live in.

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