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Monthly Archives: June 2011

What exactly is a Source Point?

Your Source Point is a point just to the right of your navel.  Six to eighteen inches to the right of your navel to be exact.  It’s also called the Blueprint Point or your Order Point.  At the beginning of every session, I set four points around your body, all in relation to your belly button.  The first one is the Source Point, out to the right.

The next three points are below your feet, to the left of your navel, and above your head, all six to eighteen inches from your body.  Below your feet we have the  Grounding or Balance Point.  To your left is the Activation or Harmony Point.  And lastly, above your head is the Transformation or Flow Point.  They form a diamond around you and are therefore called the diamond points.  Everyone thinks this SourcePoint stuff is fancy and complicated, but really it’s just the opposite, which is why I like it so much.  In case you were wondering, they’re gold and tiny, but you can picture them as purple racquetballs if you’d like.  And you (or I) should always set them in the same order.  Right, below the feet, left, above the head. Order, Balance, Harmony, Flow.  It even sounds nice to say!

The diamond points are with you all day, every day.   You had them in the womb, and they’ll stay with you ’til you die.  They’re your container, as well as your connection to the energy field around you.  And even though these points are always with you, we sometimes lose the connection to them.  It’s like an old radio tuner and you’re not quite on the right frequency.  Close enough that you can hear the music; far enough away that it’s all staticky with another station butting in once in a while.  When I’m ‘setting the points,’ I’m just getting you tuned in to precisely the right frequency.

So now you know what I’m doing at the beginning and end of every session.  You can set the points yourself whenever you’d like.  Simply picture them in your imagination, or you can physically try and feel them with the palm of your hand.  You can imagine gold lines connecting each of them, to form the diamond, as well as a cross in the center.  The line from top to bottom is your midline, remember?  Setting your own points can be a great way to bring in a little calm and order if you’re feeling frantic.  I like to set mine if I’m having trouble falling asleep.

Give it a try and tell me what you think.  If you’re having trouble finding or feeling your points, bring it up in your next session and we’ll go over it together.  You’ll soon be on your way to being a SourcePoint Sorcerer yourself!

If you’ve got plantar fasciitis, you know what a pain in the foot it is.  But do you know why?

Plantar fasciitis is an incredibly generic term: Your fascia is your connective tissue.  Rolfers can and will talk about fascia all day long as it is the focus of our work, so it’s probably best not to get us started.  You have fascia from your head to your toes, from your front to your back, and everywhere in between.  Every nerve has it’s own fascial wrapping.  So does every muscles fiber, every organ, and every bone.  That’s a LOT of fascia.  Your plantar surface is the bottom of your foot.  As you might imagine, there’s some extra fascia in the bottom of your foot ’cause it needs to hold the rest of you up all day, as well as maintain those pretty (and very useful) arches.  Your plantar fascia is simply all the fascia along the bottom of your foot, from toe to heel.

Plantar fasciitis, therefore, is simply an inflammation of the fascia in the bottom of the foot.  This fascia can be inflamed for a million different reasons and it seems that not many people care about any of them.  The only thing I hear people talk about is their plantar fasciitis, not WHY they might have it.  Which is fine…if you want to keep having plantar fasciitis.  But if you want it to go away, it might be helpful to know why it’s there in the first place.

There are some obvious places to look.  It’s common for us to look to an injury or an instance of overuse as the cause of inflammation.  And those are good places to start. Too much swing dancing?  Step on a giant rock?  That may have caused it.  From a Rolfing perspective, though, we have to keep in mind that all your fascia is connected.  And the plantar fascia specifically is connected to the fascia of your calves, which is connected to your hamstrings, through your glutes and lower back, to mid-back, to upper back and shoulders, through the back of your neck and all the way over your head, forming your skull cap of fascia.  And if there’s a problem in any of that fascia, you may see symptoms somewhere else along the train.

So, when dealing with plantar fasciitis, I may be working nowhere near your feet.  Do you get migraines?  What about low back or hip pain?  Are your calves tight and inflexible?  How’s your neck feeling?  Whiplash you suffered from a car accident ten years ago may lead to plantar fasciitis now.  Which may be confusing if you come in complaining about your feet and I work inside your mouth or around your ears.  That’s simply the crazy thing (well, one of them) about Rolfing.

This applies to pretty much anything in your body.  You may have noticed that no matter what you come in and report to be hurting, I’m probably going to work on at least one other area.  I may not even touch the area where you feel the pain.  As my favorite instructor, Ray says, “The good news is:  it’s all connected.  The bad news is:  it’s all connected.”  But please, if you came in with pain in your left elbow and want to know why I’m working on your right knee, just ask; I’m happy to explain the connections.  And if I don’t have a good answer, I promise to admit it if I’m making something up.

A few hours ago, on my way to the grocery store, I very nearly got into a car accident that would have likely resulted in my car being totaled, and me with at least a very nasty bump on my head.  I bring it up not for pity, but because it got me thinking about adrenaline and it’s effect on the body.  Half a block after this incident, I arrived at the grocery store, put the car in park and sat there on the verge of tears, trembling all over, taking quick, shallow breaths, with my eye lids glued to my eyebrows.  See, that’s the tricky part with adrenaline:  it doesn’t care if you really got in an accident, or if you just came close.  In fact, it doesn’t care if you actually had anything to fear or if you were just startled by your alarm clock.

Adrenaline is the chemical that triggers your body’s fight or flight response.  This response should really be known as fight, flight, or freeze.  When your adrenal glands dump a ton of adrenaline in your system, you can stand and fight (with super-human strength), you can fly (or run really, really fast), or you can freeze (this is literally what that deer in your headlights is experiencing).

This adrenaline response is incredibly primal.  Every animal has this built into it’s brain.  And because it was developed for basic survival needs, it overrides any of the more superfluous mechanisms and patterns your body and brain may normally use.  For instance, following an adrenaline dump, you won’t be digesting anything.  Your body knows that if it’s putting energy toward breaking down that breakfast burrito, that’s energy it’s not putting toward keeping you alive for a couple more seconds.  And you can just forget about creative or logical thinking.  Symphony composition (or even good newsletter writing) will be impossible immediately following a tiger popping out of the trees in front of you.

Which is all well and good when you’re actually faced with a life-threatening situation.  But the thing is that most of the things that trigger an adrenaline dump in each of us these days is NOT life-threatening.  A fender-bender, or even a close call; someone jumping out from behind a door; a loud alarm clock; getting pulled over or getting in trouble at work; each of these (and many more) can trigger that pulse-racing, eyes wide open, muscles-tensed reaction.  So what do you do with all that energy?  That can make all the difference in the world.  That caffeine-like jolt is meant to be used for fighting, flying, or freezing, and often-times what happens instead is you get out of your car and exchange insurance information.  Or you laugh and go back to your desk.  Or you jump in the shower and get ready for work.  Our bodies get really mad at us when we do these things because they want to use that adrenaline for something super physical.  Sitting there shaking for a good long while is one option.  Going for a run or a long walk, or taking it out on a punching bag is a great way to burn through it.  If we don’t do anything hyper-physical, there’s a good chance we’ll get stuck in a trauma cycle, locked into fight, flight, or freeze mode.  Then, you’re in a constant state of elevated awareness, taking shallow breaths and not digesting that burrito.  And because your body doesn’t recognize that the trauma is over, it keeps pumping out adrenaline.  It’s a pretty sticky cycle to get stuck in, especially since this can last for years and years.

So the next time someone pulls out immediately in front of you, and you get that nauseous, shaky feeling, try putting that energy to good use, even if it means you’ll be a little late to work.  You’ll be more productive, creative, and smart when you get there, so the boss shouldn’t mind.

(I’m talking about your relationship to your core, not that special someone in your life.)

Hey, let’s talk midline.

‘Midline’ AKA ‘Core’ is a concept we Rolfers talk about ALL the time. So, what exactly is your midline?  It may be surprising, but it’s the line that goes through the middle of your body, top to bottom.  I know; I was shocked as well.  Your midline goes through the top of your head, along the front of your spine, through the center of your pelvic floor, and down between your legs.  It extends above your head towards the sky and below your feet into the earth.  You can picture it as a golden line or thread connecting you to space as well as to the ground.

Why does anyone care about midlines?  In Rolfing we talk about each person having the ability to relate to their core; encouraging their actions and movements to come from their core.  If all our movements come from the outside, we tend to rely on big burly muscles, which makes for blocky movements.   When our movements come from our core, we start with smaller intrinsic muscles, making for smoother, more graceful movements.  Then, those big blocky muscles can be used primarily for the heavy lifting instead of making breakfast.

We also need a sense of up and down and center.  Without those senses, we can get dizzy and off balance.  There’s also more of a chance you might put all your weight on one side or the other when you’re not aware of your midline.  And everyone feels better when they’re centered.  Your midline can be compromised as a result of trauma or just from forgetting it’s there.

Get your midline back!  There are some really simple SourcePoint techniques for reestablishing a midline during a session, if you’re interested.  You can also help reestablish your own midline by simply tracing a line down your center, a few inches above your body.  You can simply imagine your golden core while you lie in bed.  You can picture a golden point about six inches above the top of your head, and another golden point six inches below your feet and then draw that line between the two points.  So practice working with your midline today and see how it helps!