We are hardwired to survive before anything else. If you were to run away from a mountain lion, you would not be aware of the nicks and bruises you incurred. Nor would your body focus its resources on healing those injuries. You would focus all your resources on escaping. Once safe, then you become aware of your injuries as your body comes down. When you release the shock and exhaustion of running for your life, then the healing begins.
What make Rolfing powerful is that it pulls the plug on this “stuck” state of survival, thereby allowing healing to begin. From working with post-traumatic stress clients, I learned that the trauma needs to be released before real healing can occur. If the client remains in trauma (or post-traumatic stress), a state of survival, he or she does not have the resources to allocate to healing.
We all in some way are stuck in chronic stress or post-traumatic stress, the constant state of fight or flight where the autonomic nervous system’s sympathetic subsystem stays on. This wears us out. When Rolfing releases it – all hell can break loose. The physical and emotional imbalance is upset as the energy that went to surviving goes toward healing. Often, the body first will purge the stress and/or toxins that held it in its current state, as these are what prevented it from healing. Take releasing the fascial adhesions that held stress and restricted circulation, for example. This release can result in the physical and emotional “toxins” letting go, and thus temporarily upset the balance of the system as they are loosed and integrated. The body has its own intelligence of what is needed to optimize the healing.