From the Appendicular to the Axial- A Journey to the Center
When seeing a Rolfer one might question why we usually take our time to address spinal issues. Unlike chiropractic and massage work, we have the view that spinal work will not be very effective until there is some groundwork laid down first. The way we move around, stand, and sit affects our spine (our axial skeleton) but it is the arms, legs, and the hip and shoulder girdles (our appendicular skeleton) that are the vehicle for standing, sitting and locomotion. This puts a lot of strain on the axial skeleton. As Rolfers, we do spinal manipulation as well as soft tissue work, just not high velocity “adjustments” like chiropractors do, but just because we detect that something is off with vertebral alignment does not mean we address it right away. What use is adjusting the spine if the arms and legs will just keep pulling it out of alignment? We strive for long lasting results, not to have a client keep coming back to have the same issue addressed over and over again. In order to facilitate this we first seek to free the hips and shoulders as well as the larger more external muscles, what we call “the sleeve”. Once we have achieved this we can move on to the muscles of posture, “the core”, with confidence that work there will be more meaningful and lasting. It is somewhat of an oversimplification to think of it this way, but for the sake of simplicity, when going through a Rolfing series we progress from the surface to the core, and from appendicular to the axial. It is a journey from the peripheral to the center.