Man- An Accumulation of Dust, but not Made of Clay
It was believed in Ancient Greece that Prometheus fashioned humans out of clay, an idea that is interesting as it was a rebellious Titan that created humanity rather than the creator and ruler god Zeus. In the west we are likewise familiar with the biblical version in which God makes the first man, Adam, out of dust. I personally find the Scandinavian myth of human creation (Anthropogony) more interesting, in that humans were made from trees, which are already living beings and the only upright beings besides humans. Creation myths aside, the topic I wanted to address in this article is that even if you believe we were made from dust, we are not made of clay.
One concept about Rolfiing that many people find hard to understand is that we are working for results that are self perpetuating and evolving, continuing to develop long after a person has completed a series, long after they stop seeing their Rolfer. I experienced this even more often during my years as a massage therapist. Clients will come in for bodywork and then they have to deal with traffic, a crowded bus, or some other stressful situation and then return the next time saying that it “undid” all the good work we had done. What people do not understand is the effects or Rolfing, or even properly conducted myofacial work (deep tissue) in general are much more extensive than what we easily perceive.
When conducting a Rolfing series, we are manipulating muscle and connective tissue with the idea that it will help the mind and the body find new ways of adapting to life. Learning new ways are of a higher nature than simply manually manipulating tissue, even if such manipulation is the primary vehicle that we use to facilitate the process. The changes that occur are often on a level that is deeper than our perception is capable of fully comprehending. Observing the physical bodies of celestial objects makes sense from the perspective of Newtonian physics, but studying quantum particles reveals a whole underlying realm of reality that can not be predicted by the more simple and seemingly more logical laws of physics are observable to the eye. To restate it, there is more than meets the eye.
I will reiterate, you are not made of clay, you are a complex innervated being. If someone performs manual therapy on you/ with you, like a deep tissue massage, you don’t just stay in the state you are in when you leave until time degenerates it. Many massage therapist do believe that and many would like you to believe it because they would like to stress the importance to you of coming to see them once a week for the rest of your life, and I imagine such job security is desirable for most of us. What makes Rolfing different is the realization that we are self correcting machines striving to regain balance and improve adaptability to life, and this is not something that simply wears off a week or a month after your last session, not if we figured out how to work in a way that speaks to the natural intelligence of the body.
If you are at a hot spring or taking a sauna and then jump in a cold river or a cold plunge, do you simply become cold and stay that way? No, it jump starts your heating system, taking a cold shower will increase your body temperature, up to a certain point. Likewise, studies have shown that impact on arthritic joints can cause the joint to produce more cartilage, though I am not sure if jumping up and down on arthritic knees would be a good source of therapy. More so, just because a therapist worked on your shoulder to get it in a more supported position does not mean that performing an activity that could potentially put it back in a less desirable posture will cause it to stay that way. You are not made of play-doh, the value is that the body, the nervous system, and the mind may now know there could be better ways possible and will explore those ways if it is made possible to do so, if not there are other issues that need to be addressed before those changes can be achieved and retained. This is really what Rolfing revolves around. You are an complex innervated being, you are not made of clay