Basic Ten Series
Dr. Rolf designed a 10-session sequence aimed at balancing the body from top to bottom, side to side, front to back, and inside to outside. While a few sessions can achieve measurable results and address immediate needs for relief of chronic pain, the full ten are most effective to get to the core level distortions that put strain on parts of the body, causing it to become unbalanced. Misalignment is often the cause of patterns that become chronically painful.
The ten sessions are designed to work gradually from the outer superficial fascia (sessions one, two, and three) to deeper layers of the fascia (sessions four, five, six, and seven), and then integration of the two (sessions eight, nine, and ten).
Sessions 1 – 3: The superficial layers
The first session opens the rib cage for greater ease with breathing. All areas around the neck and shoulder girdle are addressed for enhanced fluidity of movement and glide in relation to the ribs and spine. Muscle attachments along the posterior ridge of the pelvis, as well as the hamstrings and upper leg are lengthened to allow for greater freedom of pelvic movement.
The feet and legs are the foundation of stability for the rest of the body. This session is designed to lengthen the plantar fascia (foot), the ligaments and tendons associated with the many bones of the foot, and the muscles of the lower leg. This begins the process of balancing the foot to the leg, and the leg to the pelvis. Structural integrity is a matter of relationships of parts to the whole.
Imagine an invisible line along the side of the body from the crown of the head to the knee. The practitioner will lengthen the myofascial tissue working from this midline to each side of it, addressing the relationship of the head, shoulder girdle, and pelvis to each other with an eye toward finding balance from that side view.
Sessions 4 – 7: The deeper layers
This session begins the movement from the “superficial layers” to the core levels of strain in the body. The focus in this session will extend from the inside arch of the foot to the inner leg and to the base of the pelvis where the adductors as well as the pelvic floor muscles are attached.
Here the focus is on the abdominal muscles and the psoas, bringing the body into greater balance with the curve of the back. Often an anterior rotated pelvis begins to become more horizontal, and the body is seen to be more upright.
Having addressed front of the body in session 5, we now move to the back. Beginning with the bottom of the foot, then the lower leg (soleus, calves) and upper leg (hamstrings), we proceed to the hip rotators and the erectors (long muscles along each side of the spine).
This session is devoted entirely to the head. Now that the rest of the body from foot to neck have been carefully lengthened and encouraged into balance, the body is ready for a thorough opening of the fascia of the neck, jaw, cranium, mouth and nose.
Breathing is easier, the eyes appear brighter, some feel and look taller, more poised, more centered. Some report that others see a “facelift” effect.
This session begins the process of integrating all that has been done up until now. We are not looking to correct or fix, but to bring together and into balance the relationship of parts to the whole. The center point of this whole is the pelvis. The pelvis links the upper and lower segments of the body, supports the spine in a vertical position, and allows rotation of the spine. To improve these functions, our work has emphasized freeing and horizontalizing the pelvis. 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 eight is often a lower body session, integrating the legs with higher structures, but many clients will benefit more from upper work at this stage. The focus is to work across joints, to bring a sense of connectedness of parts to the whole.
Here we bring attention to the upper body, from the pelvis to the head – rib cage, shoulders, arms, neck and head.
This session addresses the body as a whole—front and back, top and bottom. We pay attention to large fascial sheets, being conscious of an intention of order and balance of the whole.