Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Feldenkrais Method® and Rolfing; or Functional Integration® and Structural Integration

Many people have heard of Rolfing and the Feldenkrais Method®. Many more have not. Or, as I like to say, optimistically: not yet.

A lesser number know the names Ida Rolf, who, it is quite clear, is the founder of Rolfing. Likewise little known is the name Moshe Feldenkrais, the founder of the Feldenkrais Method. Ida Rolf at least has the advantage of one name that is vaguely familiar, whereas those of us who have completed a Feldenkrais Training, and become a Feldenkrais Practitioner, have to endure endless, Huh? responses to the name Moshe Feldenkrais and the work. Though this is changing and a surprising number of people have heard of Feldenkrais, rhymes with nice.

Rolfing involves a series of lessons, often ten, done with the client lying on a table. The lessons have been associated with deep and sometimes "painful" work, but the word is out, that this has changed greatly. The goal of the lessons is in their title: Structural Integration. The structure of a human body in relationship to gravity can be greatly improved, according to rolfers, by deep and clear work in the myofascia in a way to clear out stuck and structurally inappropriate patterns.

Many successful outcomes have resulted from Rolfing.

See, if you wish, Wikipedia on Rolfing and Wikipedia on Structural Integration).

bless their hearts,
and learning centers,
has written
in their PRESS RELEASE on
Rolfing®, Structural Integration and the Feldenkrais Method®.
Check that out,
if you are in the mood.

The Feldenkrais Method has two modes to improving human life, one, called Awareness Through Movement®, involving lessons wherein the student moves in aware and deliberate and curious and usually slow and often novel patterns, and from these "lessons" learns more about how to move and function in the world and in their movements in new ways. These so called Feldenkrais Exercises can be useful to a dancer or a person recovering from a stroke or a child with cerebral palsy or a weekend gardener with a sore back or a professional athlete with an aching shoulder.

The other mode, called Functional Integration, is the Feldenkrais parallel to the Structural Integration of Rolfing.

The work is done by touch guided manipulation of a client on a table.

The touch is aiming to produce a difference in the organization of the client.

However, in Feldenkrais Functional Integration "lessons," we aren't treating, or fixing, or rearranging anything but the wiring in the client's brain. Our aim is to create new pathways of connection and possibilities of movement.

The difference is obvious from the words, Structural vs. Functional Integration helps explain the difference of Feldenkrais from not just rolfing, but good yoga (not flop around yoga or work yourself to death yoga), in that good yoga and Rolfing are both concerned with alignment, getting the best alignment into our human structure.

We move the skeleton and the awareness. We aren't concerned with undoing any tissue.

In fact, it could be said that we say:

the issue isn't in the tissue,
it's between the ears.

In the Feldenkrais Method, we are concerned with function, which is a huge word, and can be anything from lifting an arm that has been laid low by a stroke, to crawling for a challenged child, to skiing better for someone who wants zest back in their life, to being able to run or dance again for another zest seeker. The Feldenkrais path is one of learning, and though we often imagine an ideal path of moving, the goal is not to "correct" or "fix" anyone, but to open up learning and options and possibilities, so that the person, as a learner, can discover easier and more pleasurable and more efficient ways of functioning in the world.

Many successful outcomes have resulted from both pathways of the Feldenkrais work.

(See , if you wish more learning on the Feldenkrais possibilies,
you might enjoy
almost any of the links in my links section to the left.
As starters, why not peruse....

The Feldenkrais Method® in wikipedia


and my own What is the Feldenkrais Method®? )

Whatever you do,
Please be Well.


Sensitive Strength


Waking up to now.
Embracing Change.
Learning to learn.
Loving to move, improve and transform.


Ryan Nagy said...

Chris - You are a phenomenon! Someone needs to hire you as a copyrighter. You get posts and information up so quickly.

I was trading my Feldenkrais sessions with a Rolfer several years ago. I enjoyed them. Although, I must say he (the rolfer) and his wife are now in the Razumny's Feldenkrais Training Santa Fe!

I hope you are well. - Ryan Nagy

Cynthia Allen said...

I agree with Ryan. What you have written is so clear.
My favorite part:
the issue isn't in the tissue,
it's between the ears.

I have a couple of entries you might like at http//:cynthia.futurelifenow.com. One is an invitation to hear from people who had done both Feldenkrais and Rolfing. The other is some info on the history of Moshe, Ida and somatic education in general.

Cynthia Allen