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;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.