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Time to Align Rolfing

Dean Raper

Servicing area: Melbourne CBD and Bentleigh, VIC

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Time to Align Rolfing
Dean Raper
Certified rolfer (RISI)

Time to Align Rolfing



About Dean

Dean was born and raised in Sydney. From from an early age he had a strong interest in sport which led to a career in professional Rugby League. Injuries sustained while playing and a consequent reduction in physical function at the age of 25 prevented him from pursuing his career further. In the ensuing years, Dean investigated many different forms of therapy to try to straighten his body out and regain proper function. It was at this time that he was introduced to rolfing “structural integration” by a friend. The results were outstanding and his body had improved to the point where he was convinced rolfing worked like nothing he had tried before.

Inspired by this unique form of manual therapy, Dean gained qualification as a “Certified rolfing practitioner” at the original school of structural integration in Boulder, Colorado USA. Dean has helped professional footballers, Commonwealth games athletes and people from all walks of life achieve relief and improvement through his Rolfing. Dean is extremely committed to helping people get the best out of their bodies in return improving their quality of life.



What Is Rolfing?

Rolfing or Structural Integration was developed by Dr Ida Rolf through a half century of study and practice. It is a hands on process of manual manipulation of the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia) using precise, deliberate and penetrating strokes to rehydrate tissue and dissolve adhesions that cause restriction of movement, impede function and cause pain. Rolfing’s aim is to modify the structure of the body and in so doing, improve the capacity to function as it was designed to do – efficiently, easily and without pain.

What Is Your Body Really Telling You

IS IT A SHARP PAIN in the low back when you bend over to tie your shoes? Or a persistent neck ache that is aggravated by long periods of sitting? If tension, constriction and pain have become chronic in your life, it is an important signal – a signal that your body is struggling with a structural imbalance. Often years in the making, such imbalances can arise from poor postural habits and accumulated stress. Or they may occur suddenly as the result of a physical injury or traumatic incident in which tissues are stretched beyond their limits. Whatever the cause, treating symptoms rarely brings lasting results. While massage or medication may give you some temporary relief, the tension, inflammation and pain inevitably return.

Postural Changes

Proper posture is a state of balance that involves the minimal amount of strain and stress on the body. Our posture can be affected due to many reasons. We do have a genetic predisposition that is passed down from our parents. Then as our life progresses we start to form certain holding patterns within our body depending on our life experiences, injuries and attitudes bringing about postural disorder. Many people over time are unaware of these poor postural patterns forming only to consider this when pain or discomfort arise. Good posture feels good and it looks good but one of the main reasons we should have good posture is that it is preventative. In other words it protects us against degeneration of our discs and soft tissues. If we neglect our posture it will lead to rotations, tilts, and compressions which inevitably lead to pain and injuries. The exciting news is that it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Improved Flexibility

As we go through our lives we can become stiff and immobile to some degree. Accidents, illnesses or lack of attention to our body can inhibit our ability to move freely. This can have an impact on us from a physical point of view and a mental side as well. Pain and discomfort can arise causing us to lose vitality and zest for life. The amazing ability of rolfing is how it can truly change the body which can ultimately change quality of life both physically and emotionally.

Why Not Just Do Yoga

Doing yoga or stretches of your own is definitely beneficial. Rolfing techniques however can achieve much more. When we stretch ourselves or take a yoga class muscle fibres tend to be stretched all at the same time. The adhesions (knots) formed in the muscle belly are also stretched but without intelligent pressure these knots still remain. Imagine stretching a rubber band with a knot in it. The band will stretch and lengthen but the knot will still remain until you unwind it. Using rolfing techniques we are able to separate the individual muscles fibres and muscle compartments. This then enables our muscles to glide over one another, properly performing their individual functions in harmony with one another, as they were designed. Then when all our muscle compartments regain their independence the body can move effortlessly.

Rolfing treats Sciatica

The symptoms of sciatica range from a small localised pain in the lower back or buttock to a severe pain which travels down the leg and often into the foot. At its extreme a person could sustain permanent nerve damage and lose sensation in the foot and toes. As imbalances in the body occur, ligaments, tendons and soft tissue put pressure on the nerves causing pain. A rolfing practitioner applies intelligent pressure to certain areas which creates space around these nerves alleviating the sciatic pain. Rolfing has been able to successfully treat and bring hundreds of people back to full function and the total removal of all sciatic pain.

Rolfing Can Improve Emotional Wellbeing

Emotions have a powerful effect on our psyche as well as our bodies. Positive emotions generate a sense of lightness and ease of movement. On the other hand negative emotions also generate body responses. They cause our shoulders to slump, our head to tilt down and forward and our muscles to tense and contract. It is now also widely known that negative emotions can actually become pushed down and trapped in our body tissues showing up in the form of pain and other ailments. Emotions are designed to move through the body and out. Emotions such as joy, humour and empowerment move freely through our bodies. We enjoy and even encourage their presence so they can move unimpeded through our bodies and efficiently complete their life cycle. Negative emotions aren’t as welcome in our bodies. When we experience hurt, sadness, anger, resentment, loneliness or sorrow, we feel it deeply. As a result we often suppress those parts of ourselves to keep the pain from intensifying. When we resist an emotion and block its natural flow through the body, problems and imbalances can occur. This is where rolfing can assist greatly in releasing trapped emotions.



Ten Series

Dr Rolf designed the ten series as a tune up for your body. The ten-series is a systematic approach to aligning your structure, each session building on the previous session and preparing the body for the next. The first three sessions work on the superficial layers of connective tissue. Sessions four through seven remove strain from deeper layers of the body. The remaining sessions organize and align the body as a whole, providing better balance, enhanced range of motion and higher energy levels.

The ten-series provides rolfers with a map, but anyone that travels knows, “the map is not the territory”. Although structural goals may be similar, the same session may look very different for different clients based on their structure, learned behaviours and movement patterns. For most people the series progresses as follows;

Session One

This session focuses on freeing the lungs to allow fuller breath, and beginning to free the shoulder and pelvic girdles from the ribcage. This is accomplished by working superficial tissue around the rib cage, shoulders, arms and hips. Neck and back work is included at the end of every session to integrate the work into the body. Most people report after the first session a feeling of openness to their breathing, less pain, more mobility and an increase in energy.

Session Two

Next we address your foundation. Balance in the body begins with the feet. Here the feet and lower legs are opened and aligned to better support the body. After session two clients report that they feel a greater sense of support and balance from their feet as well as noticing the weight transmitting through their feet more evenly.

Session Three

Now we move to your sides and establish a lateral line. The goal here is to ease strain patterns in the front-back dimension. You might think of it by giving the body more depth by opening the “seams”along your sides! We manipulate the sides of your torso, neck and hips to allow these segments to better support each other thus improving the relationship of your upper and lower body. There is often a relaxed “high” after session three with a greater sense of front-back balance. Clients by this stage of the series notice pain has been significantly reduced or even completely gone.

Session Four

We move back to the legs on this session focusing on the inside of the leg from the ankle to the pelvis. The relationship of the foot to the pelvis is aligned and torsion at the hip and knee are addressed. Manipulating adductor attachments allows increased range of movement of the pelvis, which starts the pelvis on its way to becoming more horizontal. This
session provides the feeling that the legs are supporting the abdominal space and providing lift for the upper body. This session can also be effective for chronic back and knee pain.

Session Five

Work continues up the front of the abdomen, Quadriceps and psoas, lengthening the front of the body and providing lift up the centre of the structure. By freeing deeper pelvic and abdominal restrictions, which can inhibit pelvic movement, the pelvis can continue its shift to a more supportive and balanced horizontal position. Clients often report a big opening of the entire front line- quite the opposite to all of the hip flexion we experience working in front of computers, commuting, sitting in meetings, bending over to pick up children etc.

Session Six

This session lengthens the deep muscles of the back and hips matching the changes achieved in the front in session five. Starting in the legs, if necessary, we address the calves, hamstrings, back of the pelvis and up both sides of the spine to the head. This work can be extremely beneficial to back pain (including soreness due to scoliosis), sciatica and
chronically tight hamstrings.

Session Seven

Here we organize the head and neck. All the work we have done so far has been necessary to prepare for integrating. This session focuses on the upper shoulders, head, neck and sometimes the arms. After this session clients often feel that their head is more “on”. By this time in the series, flexibility and athletic performance are noticeably improved.

Sessions Eight, Nine and Ten

The final three sessions are about integrating all the work that we have done. Sessions eight and nine revisit the upper and lower segments of the body and work to integrate them with the pelvis and each other to work as a fluid whole. Session ten we continue to fully integrate the whole body attending to anything that may remain. At this final stage the body is at a very balanced state. Your body has the ability to move freely, with ease giving you a completely new body experience.



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Qualification Details

Certified Rolfer (RISI)

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