Skip navigation

We all know we ‘should’ be doing more, right? Should be moving more, should be doing yoga more, should be eating more greens, etcetera, etcetera.  We all know we ‘should’ be doing less, as well, right?  Less screen time, less blueberry muffins, less sitting, and so on.  But we’re here, now, and we’re all doing the best we can, given what we’ve got to work with.  In light of this, I wanted to share my three favorite upper-body stretches I do to combat all the time I sit hunched over my computer, sitting in my car, staring at my phone, and all that jazz.  I try to do these whenever I think of them, whether that’s for a few seconds in between sessions, or for 10 minutes at the end of the day.  Anything is better than nothing.  (Although, if you want to get technical, you need to hold a stretch for a minimum of 45 seconds if you want lasting change in the fascia.) And there’s very little needed by way of equipment, so you can get started right now, if you want.

Doorway hanging

All you need for this is a doorway and your body.  The idea is to open up your arms, shoulders, and rib cage as much as you can comfortably.  No need to push yourself into an injury.  Just grab the frame of the doorway (wherever you want), and walk through until you start to feel a stretch.  Try to keep the bottom of your rib cage in line with your pelvis instead of jutting your ribs out in front of you.  You can get a million different stretches with this just by adjusting your hands through the whole rainbow of possible positions.

Supported Snow Angels

For this one, I like to use a rolled up towel or small blanket, but you can use a pillow, a yoga block, a foam half-dome, or a rolled up sweatshirt in a pinch.  You’re going put your towel or whatever on the floor, then lie down on your back, with your spine running the length of your prop.  Then, pretend you’re making a snow angel with your arms, at a ridiculously slow speed.  Spend longer in the places where the stretch is more challenging. Also, if you can get Miss Marley to supervise, she’ll make sure you’re doing it right.

Platysma Pull

Your platysma is a muscle that extends from your collar bone to your jaw, or your lower lip, depending on who you ask. This is my favorite “I’ve been looking at my phone way too much” stretch, because the platysma gets short when we look down all day.  Start by looking down, and using both hands, press your fingertips just under your collar bones, with a downward motion.  Hold that pressure and look up as high as you comfortably can without compressing your neck.  This in itself should give you a pretty good stretch.  But when you’re ready for a bigger challenge, slowly jut your chin up towards the ceiling.  Hold that for a minute and you’re well on your way to justifying all that time you spent on SnapChat.

Happy Stretching!

We all know we’re not doing everything we could be doing for maximum health, right?  Who among us gets all the sleep we need in a perfectly dark, cool, quiet room?  What about getting all the movement and stretching we need and all the water we need while breathing crystal clean air and eating perfectly healthy food in a totally stress-free environment every day?  Anyone?  Bueller?  I certainly haven’t met anyone living that life.

But that’s no reason to throw up our hands in surrender.  Modern, westernized living may not be the ideal prescription for health, but there are a few small changes each of us can make to ensure that our bodies work pretty well for a lot longer than average, if we’re just willing to do them.  Yes, I’d love to see each of my clients (and myself, for that matter) move out into the wilderness and and totally commit themselves to health.  But until that comes to pass, try these six things for a better functioning body, now and as you age.

1.  Move more.  We’re all too sedentary and that’s just a fact.  I’ve seen 671 different clients so far and I think 5 of them were getting enough movement every day.  All 5 of them were under the age of 1.  Back in the day when we needed to move to find and prepare food, to carry water, and to travel from one place to another, we moved all day. Now, we can do all those things with very, very little movement.  The more your move, the more your body will thank you, so try adding movement breaks into your work schedule as well as your weekend relaxing schedule.

2. Move differently. Think about the different positions available to a given body and then think about the positions your particular body assumes in a given day.  I think I only get about 10 if I’m not careful: sitting in chair, standing, sitting on couch, lying down to sleep, sitting on the floor to put shoes on, reaching my arms up to pull a shirt over my head…boring.   When was the last time I tried to do a cartwheel?  Or army crawled from the bedroom into the living room?  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve EVER army crawled from the bedroom to the living room, but I totally could.  I’ve walked that trip a gazillion times.  Why not mix it up with a crab walk or a bear crawl?  Somersault.  Hop on one foot.  Build an obstacle course between the bedroom and the living room.  Move all of your body in all of the ways.

3. Spend time without shoes on.  I know I sound like a broken record and I’ve said it a million times.  But it’s just so dang important.  Our whole entire body is supported by our feet. And most shoes restrict and alter the ability of our feet to support our bodies.  Let your feet do their jobs!  If you’ve spent your whole life shod, start small, with a few minutes a day on the carpet and work up to hours outside on natural terrain.  Since you’re already building obstacle courses in your house this winter (you are, right?), build a pillow path along your most-used routes to gently build your foot, ankle, and knee strength up so you can be barefoot in the grass when it’s warm enough.

4. Squat.  This is one of those movements that is required for a healthy spine, a healthy pelvis, and a healthy digestive system.  But thanks to chairs, tables, toilets, and outsourcing our food production, we don’t need to squat throughout the day, many, many times a day.  So most of us don’t.  Which leads to so, so, so many problems down the road.  Pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, constipation, and low back pain, just to get started.  Incorporating just two minutes of squatting into your day, every day, can drastically change your expected health in the long run.  I’m not talking 30 reps in the gym, but actually hanging out in a squat.  Ideally, you’d have your heels on the ground and your tailbone untucked while squatting, but after a lifetime of not needing to squat, most of us can’t do that squat without years and years of stretching and bodywork (Rolfing can help!).  Like it or not, your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones all grow into the shapes we use the most.  Which means after not squatting your whole life, you can’t just start doing full, proper squats today because you decided to.  But you can start the process.  And that’s what matters.

5.  Hang.  Just like with squats, we used to need this movement for survival; climbing trees to scout our direction of travel or to look for danger, to pick delicious food from branches, to stay safe, etc.  And now, well, when was the last time you swung from the monkey bars or pulled yourself up into a tree?  Unfortunately, just like with squats, most of us have long lost the flexibility and strength required to safely extend our arms above our heads and support our full body weight.  If we hadn’t, I’m sure we’d see a lot less TMJ, thoracic inlet syndrome, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, and on and on.  Alas.  Start by stretching your arms overhead to touch the doorway every single time you walk through one.  Work your way up to being able to hang your entire body weight from your hands.  Then starting swinging and pulling your self up.  Take it slow, but hanging and swinging can be so much fun!

6. Twist.  Our spines are designed to move in three main ways.  Forward and Back.  Side to side bending.  And twisting.  Luckily, getting into and out of our cars usually requires a little forward and back movement, as well as some side bending, so our spines get those movements regularly.  While we could probably all use a little more of the ‘back’ than the ‘forward’ and more side-bending in general, the twisting is the one that we’ve really let go of in this modern existence.  And the one place we used to get some twisting in, checking our blind-spots while driving, is now being phased out with back-up cameras and safety sensors and whatnot.  So, build it back into your life however you can.  I mean, putting on some oldies and actually doing the twist is probably my favorite of the options, but there are plenty of times throughout the day you can easily just look over your shoulder and give your spine a lovely squeeze.  For bonus points, do some twists while hanging from the monkey bars and make your body feel like it won the movement lottery!

That’s it, peeps.  There are books and podcasts and videos and such about how to safely increase your flexibility and strength in any and all of these ways (check out Katy Bowman’s work for my favorite source), but just getting started is the biggest challenge.  Happy moving!



Rolfing is a big undertaking.  It’s not cheap, it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of bravery and vulnerability, and there can be many uncomfortable side effects in the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental realms of your life while getting Rolfed.  And so, I am often asked by my clients, “What can I do to help?”  When undergoing such a possibly transformative process, many people want to make sure they do their part to help things along, and to make sure they’re getting the most bang for their buck, so to speak.  (Which is awesome, btw.  I love when my clients are really invested in the process of transformation.)

Generally, most of what you can do to support the work of Rolfing, whether you’re doing one session, or the 10-series, or ongoing work to unravel old injuries and patterns, is a lot of stuff that we all know we should be doing regardless, but is extra helpful if you can do it around your sessions.  Drink a lot of water.  Eat the food your body is asking you to eat.  Stretch and move when and how your body asks you to stretch and move.  Rest when you body asks you to rest.  Don’t sit in one position for hours on end.  In short, pay attention to what’s going on in your body, then respond accordingly.  It’s so obvious, but a lot easier said than done.

There are, however, a few things specific to Rolfing that can be beneficial to supporting your sessions.  Exercising immediately after a session is not a great plan.  So, get your workouts in beforehand, and make sure you can take a rest day after your session.  Actually, this applies to more than just exercise.  If you have the freedom to schedule your sessions so that you can relax and tune in to what your body is asking for afterwards, that can be super helpful.  Even if you do hear your body screaming that it would like a nice, long walk after your session, it’ll be hard to manage if you’ve got back-to-back meetings scheduled for the rest of the day.  Also, letting your body be a body without many other inputs is great for the integration of the structural changes we’ve made.  This means no shoes, no tight or restrictive clothing, no sitting on/in furniture/cars, and no movements that don’t happen in nature (i.e. no treadmills, no ellipticals, and no lat pulls).  Pro-tip: If you need a machine or a piece of equipment to do it, it’s probably not a natural movement.  So save that stuff for after your session has had a while to settle out and your body has found its new normal.  Obviously, it’s hard to go 24 hours in our culture without shoes or sitting in chairs or cars, so I’m really just asking that you mindfully avoid these things as much as possible, but there’s no need to get obsessive about it.

And on the emotional/spiritual front, talk therapy can be very helpful for processing and integrating the changes being made through your work with Rolfing.  As I like to say, “There are issues in the tissues.”  If any of these emotional issues come up during your sessions, I’m happy to talk about them, but it can also be super beneficial to work with a trained therapist, social worker, or counselor who can more thoroughly and skillfully help you get to where you want to be.  I’m also happy to coordinate with your therapist so they have a better idea what you’re going through (as so many people, therapists included, still don’t know what Rolfing is), if that’s at all helpful to you.

But that’s it.  Try to be aware of what your body wants and needs (both physical and mental) and create space to do what you want and need.  That’s all it takes to support your Rolfing sessions.  That, and enjoy your new flexibility, balance, strength, and stability.

(And buy a whole new closet full of barefoot-shoes, and get a moveable stand-up desk, and probably quit your job, and do pilates and yoga, and start walking a lot more, and climbing trees, and sleeping outside, and throw away your phone…  But that’s it.)

No.  I’m not pregnant.

So, I’m back from hiking the Colorado Trail and finally feeling settled back into my ‘normal’ life.  And, I have news.  Big news.  Are you ready?  Okay.  I’m expanding my practice to include another Rolfer!  Enter Emily Kolb!  Emily is an amazing human who just finished her training at the Rolf Institute® and she is ready to rock and Rolf (I’m sorry, I can’t help myself).  Emily studied under some incredible teachers and did an internship with me and I’m confident that you guys are going to love her.  Not to mention the flexibility that’s available, because you can now get Rolfed at my office 7 days a week.  So if you want an appointment on a Tuesday morning, you can get one, which hasn’t been true with me for ages and ages.  Also, Emily will be offering sessions for $110 for her first year in practice.  If you’ve been wanting to do the 10-series (or a set of any number of sessions) this is your chance to save.  Or, your chance to try someone else’s Rolfing since every Rolfer has their own style and flavor.  Regardless of the reason you try a session with Emily, she could be the perfect fit for you!

Without further ado, let me just give Emily the mic so you can meet her:

Hi, everyone! I am so excited to be joining Theresa’s practice and look forward to the opportunity to meet and work with you. First, let me tell you a little about me and my particular path to becoming a Rolfer.

I was born and raised in East Texas but spent most of my adult life in Austin. It certainly would have been easy to continue living in the comfort and familiarity of that city and the people who I came to know, but I felt drawn to start a new chapter in my life. I decided to give Denver a shot, mostly because I was seeking a city with four seasons, something I had never had the pleasure of experiencing before. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with this city and all that it offers, particularly the mountains.

I have worked primarily as a dental hygienist for the last eleven years. While I always enjoyed this line of work, I soon began pursuing other trades, both personally and professionally, after I suddenly developed work-related back pain that limited my performance and quality of life. After experiencing the life-changing benefits of massage, I instantly fell in love and became fascinated with body work, and I was drawn to a second career as a licensed massage therapist. I spent several years doing body work but gradually became more interested in long-term pain management. I vividly remember when I first learned about Ida Rolf and the 10-series, after which I quickly decided it was, once again, time for another change. I suppose the old adage, “third
time’s a charm,” rings true for me because, after learning and practicing three different trades, I feel that I have finally found my calling.
I feel incredibly privileged to have personally experienced the transformative power of Rolfing, and my goal is to be able to share this gift with others. I have never been more excited about my professional work as I have been about my new career as a Rolfer.

This practice is profoundly rewarding, as I get a front-row seat to witnessing others grow, transform their minds and bodies, and become the best versions of themselves. My philosophy is that every client is unique and that optimal results are only achieved when we work together collaboratively and I support each client in reaching his/her desired goals.

When I’m not working as a Rolfer, dental hygienist, or massage therapist, I spend my free time outside being physically active. I mostly love climbing mountains or trail running with my two dogs, Sambo and Zeyda. Sambo is a quirky golden retriever, who always keeps me laughing, and Zeyda is my newest rescue, who I met in the Costa Rican jungle and later decided to bring home to the States. I love to travel, explore local restaurants, and connect with new people. I feel happiest when I’m on a lake and love water sports, and I plan to pick up snowboarding soon.

I look forward to meeting and learning from you as you invite me along on your journey to wellness. Please don’t hesitate to call (704-775-2067) or email me ( if you have additional questions or if you are interested in discussing your interests and goals.

So, when you’re ready to schedule a Rolfing session with either one of us, feel free to click here.  We both want to work with you whenever it makes sense!

As part two in our sleeping series, let’s talk about pillows.  Everyone wants to know what kind of pillow they should use.  Cervical pillow? Body pillow? Memory foam pillow?  Buckwheat hull pillow?  And how many? One? Two? Three?  Six?  Here’s where I’d like to reiterate that getting a good night’s sleep is more important to me than what sort or how many pillows you’re using.  So if you’re sleeping well and happy, keep doing that.  But ya’ll keep asking for my opinion and now you’re going to get it.

I’m anti-pillow.  I know, this is hard to believe, given that I’m anti-flip-flopanti-high heelanti-shoeanti-arch support, and anti-bra, but it’s true.  I’m anti-pillow.  And I’m pro-hugs, pro-goat, pro-sunshine, pro-hiking, pro-nap, pro-chocolate, and pro-garden, just so you don’t define me by the things I’m against.  But when it comes to pillows, I like to sit on them, but not sleep on them.  Let me tell you why.

I have been one of those lucky people who never really gets headaches.  And by that I mean I get about 2-3 headaches a year and each time I think I’m probably dying because it’s the worst pain ever and how do people go through life getting headaches all the time and I can’t even imagine what a migraine must be like oh my god just kill me now.  And after a few hours it goes away and everything’s fine again.  For my whole life.  Until a few years ago when I got a headache that wouldn’t go away.  It was dull, and low-grade and annoying.  I didn’t want to die or anything, but it was still weird because I so rarely get headaches.  And then I still had it the next day.  And the day after that.  And three weeks later I still had a headache.  And I was exhausted and cranky and no fun at all to be around.  And then I listened to a podcast from Katy Bowman about how she’s always suffered from headaches, but then she stopped using a pillow and now she has way less headaches.  And so I thought, I should give that a try.

Over the next few months, I weaned myself off pillows.  I have to say that I had a distinct advantage here over a lot of people in that I’ve always been a one-pillow kind of girl, and a fairly flat, thin pillow at that (as compared to my husband’s 3-4 pillows a night habit).  So I only had so work down from one, thin pillow to a folded towel, to a less folded towel, to a sweatshirt, to a t-shirt, to nothing.  And now sleeping with a pillow is pretty much not an option for me, unless I’m super sick and fall asleep while reading.  And even then I tend to wake up after 10-20 minutes and toss the pillow aside.

What I noticed in the weaning process and since then is that my neck had to become more flexible to accommodate my new way of sleeping.  I sleep in all the positions and initially, sleeping on my side with less of a pillow was challenging.  But now, my neck is flexible enough that side sleeping is comfortable and in fact, is where I get my best neck stretching done, reducing the tension in my head.  Oh, and I’m back to not getting headaches almost ever.  Which is my preferred way to go through life.

So, to answer your question, in my opinion, no pillow is the best pillow.

A common question I get (at work, not while I’m just walking down the street) is “How should I sleep?”  And let me just preface this by saying that getting a good night’s sleep, consistently, is more important, in my book, than what position you sleep in.  So if what you’re doing is working for you, do that.  Being well rested makes everything else better and easier.

However.  If you really want to know how you should sleep, keep reading.

First of all, there’s no “right” way to sleep.  Other than with your eyes closed.  Because those of you who sleep with your eyes slightly open are creeping out the rest of us.  Knock it off.  But as far as body positioning goes, all of the positions are good to some degree and bad if they’re the only one you ever use.  The truth of the matter is that we were never supposed to lie down in one position and then maintain that position for the next 7-10 hours without any change. In fact, lying in the same position without moving is how bedsores happen and I don’t know anyone who wants bedsores.  While humans have been seeking soft places to sleep for a long time now, it’s only with the advent of these pillow-topped, memory foam, sleep-number, super mattresses that it’s even been an option to lie in one position for 7-10 hours.  Can you imagine your prairie grass or buffalo hair mattress would be comfortable enough for you to lie still on all night, every night?  No, me either.

What I’m saying here is it’s okay to move while you sleep.  In fact, I’m encouraging you to move while you sleep.  Whichever side you’re sleeping on will be compressed, while the side that’s up will be allowed to lengthen.  Let all the sides (and the front and the back) have their chance at both.  Movement is your friend.  So go ahead, stick your legs and arms out at weird angles, spoon your bedmates, and stretch your neck by sleeping on your stomach now and again.  Just keep it varied and you’ll be good to go.

And if your body needs some encouragement to move while you sleep, you might try a firmer or less comfortable mattress.  Yes, it will take a while for you to adjust, but it’s probably worth it to avoid the damage done by repetitive positioning.  You don’t want to be that person who has to go around telling people they got hurt in their sleep by not moving, do you?  That’d be embarrassing.

A (sort of) quick note about arch support and then I promise I’ll shut up about feet and shoes for a minute.  I know, I know, we were all told we needed to have good arch support.  We were also told that marijuana was a gateway drug that would lead to a terrible death by heroin overdose and it turns out that’s just not true for most people.  I’m here to be your counterpoint to the D.A.R.E. officer’s version of the arch support story.

Our feet were designed to support the weight of our bodies.  Our feet are incredibly good at this job.  Our feet actually have three arches to help not only with this job, but to help us run, jump, walk, dance, and play “This Little Piggy Went to Market.”  Actually, I don’t think the arches help much with that, but it’s an important game.  Today, we’re going to focus on the medial and lateral arches, but don’t worry, transverse arch, I still love you.

So, the medial and lateral arches of our feet run the length of our feet.  The medial arch is the one on the inside, and it’s the one we all tend to think of as THE ARCH of our foot, that runs from big toe to heel.   It is the most pronounced and obvious arch.  The lateral arch runs along the outside of our foot, parallel to the medial arch, from pinky toe to heel.  These arches are formed partly by the shape of the bones in them (somewhat wedge shaped), but are largely formed by the muscles of the lower leg which hold them in place and let them relax and contract, using power much like Cupid’s famed bow.  As we put weight on our foot (like when we’re walking), both the medial and the lateral arches should be able to lengthen, then spring back into a contraction as we push off of our toes.  This action is particularly helpful when we run or jump.

Now that we’ve got a basic understanding of how these two arches work, let’s talk about arch support by way of talking about canes. You know how if you had a problem with one leg; say you sprained an ankle or had knee surgery or got a giant, gaping flesh wound on your thigh, you might use a cane for a little while to take some of the pressure off that leg.  The cane, essentially, is a stand-in for some of your leg.  It doesn’t do all the work of your leg, but it lightens the load.  And while that might be really helpful for a period of time, it will also allow the muscles of that leg to atrophy to some degree.  So, if you use a cane for a few days, you might not notice much of a difference from one leg to the other.  However, if you use a cane for a few years, one leg will become significantly stronger than the other and if you then tried to hike a few miles without your cane, you might end up hiking in circles.  Probably not, but there would be a big difference between your legs.  And the leg the cane had been helping out would be noticeably weaker than the other leg.

Arch support in your shoes is like a cane, but for your medial arch.  And specifically, it’s like a cane for the muscles of the lower leg that maintain your medial arch and allow it to function as well as it does.  So, maybe you had a foot, or lower leg, or ankle injury and you needed a little arch support while things were healing.  That’s one thing and I don’t have any problem with that.  However, most people I know, myself included, started wearing shoes with arch support of some sort before they were in high school, with no injuries or weakness to speak of.  Can you imagine if we went around telling 10-year-olds to use canes all day, every day just because one day they might need them?  Arch support in your shoes allows your medial arch (and the muscles of the lower leg that support it) to atrophy, while at the same time, it offloads the work of lengthening and contracting to the lateral arch and the muscles that support it.  So while the medial arch gets weaker and weaker, the lateral arch just gets stronger.  These muscles supporting each of the arches run the entire length of the lower leg.  If the muscles corresponding to the lateral arches are all beefed up like the Hulk, while the muscles corresponding to the medial arches are withering away to nothing, do you think the ankle can perform at its highest potential?  What about the knee?  Do you think those joints are very balanced?  No, me either.  So what happens when you go to walk around without arch support (like when you try to switch to barefoot sandals or just being plain barefoot) is that your medial arch tends to collapse a little, sometimes causing pain and discomfort or at the bare minimum, fatigue.  And that’s not just in the foot, but in the ankle, the knee, the hip, and so on.

So, what’s a whole population of life-long arch supporters to do?  Well, we can stop forcing arch support on our kids, for one.  But we can also work to slowly reduce, then eliminate the arch support in our own lives.  May I please stress the importance of slowly.  If you’d been using a cane for the last 30 years, you wouldn’t go run a marathon without it tomorrow, would you?  Starting with a few minutes to a few hours of barefoot time here and there and working towards as much time as possible over months or years is not only a more pleasant way to rebuild your medial arch strength, but a safer one.  Depending on how long you’ve been wearing shoes with arch support, your bones, and ligaments, and tendons (not only in your feet, but in your whole body, especially your legs) have grown to accommodate that situation.  It will take a long time for them to grow into new shapes and strengths to suit your new, stronger arches.  And (obviously, because I’m the one writing this) Rolfing can help with this transition as well.  Including a session here and there to encourage balance, strength, and flexibility in your feet and legs (sessions 2, 4, and 6 of the 10-series anyone?) can really go a long way in increasing the speed with which you go from support-dependance to freedom.

(I’m going to go ahead and assume you can deduce my opinion on orthotics and shoes with ‘good’ ankle support instead of writing whole separate posts about those things.)

Happy walking!

Alright, alright.  I’ve told you not to wear flip-flops, I’ve told you not to wear shoes with a heel…what can you wear on your feet, for those times when going barefoot just won’t work?  Let’s talk about how to find good shoes instead of just complaining about the bad ones, shall we?

Ultimately, when you’re shopping for shoes, the target you’re aiming for is that your foot can move as naturally as possible.  Meaning, if you took a stroll around the block barefoot, then put your shoes on and did another lap, not much would change.  Your stride and foot-strike and roll-through and push-off would all feel the same.  But to really make this easy, there are 4 main things to look for in a shoe: toe-box, heel, sole, and upper.  Or, front, back, top, and bottom.


Toe-Box: So this is the part of the shoe that is around your toes.  Ideally, your toes would have room to spread as wide as possible, as you roll from your heel to your toes with each step.  This not only provides you with a wider and more stable platform, but allows for the best push-off so you get the most bang for your buck with each stride.  If you were going to do a handstand, would you keep all your fingers smushed together, possibly overlapping?  If you were trying to walk on your hands, do you think you should keep your fingers together?  Then why would we think shoes like this would be in our feet’s best interest?  (Answer: They’re not.)  Look for a wide toe-box when shoe shopping.

Which pair do you think gets my vote?

Heel:  We’ve already been over this, but just in case.  Any rise in your shoe from where the toes are to where the heel rests is not great.  Look for zero-rise shoes.  As heel height becomes a popular thing for people to care about, more and more shoe companies are listing the ‘rise’ on their shoe descriptions.  If you can’t find zero rise, try to minimize it.  A 4-inch rise is obviously worse than a 1-2 millimeter rise.  Less is more, people.

Instead of this…

Try this.


Sole:  What we’re after here is a flexible sole.  Again, we want the foot to move as naturally as possible; the key word in this context is ‘move.’  Many shoes have such a rigid sole that your foot can’t really move, and the ankle joint has to do all the work.  There are 33 joints in the foot.  That’s a lot of potential movement, and if you’re asking your ankle to do all of it for you, you’re also asking for ankle injuries.   Your body’s ability to respond to different types of terrain (slippery, slanted, uneven, soft, etc.) depends on your foot’s ability to know what type of terrain it needs to respond to.  If your foot can’t tell because it’s got an inch of rigid rubber between it and the terrain, how can your body respond appropriately? (Answer: It can’t.)  Look for a flexible sole, the thinner the better.

Your choice.

Upper:  This is the part of the shoe that attaches it to your foot and the number one problem I have with flip-flops.  The upper of a shoe should securely attach the sole of the shoe to your foot, so that you don’t have to grip with your toes or adjust your stride in order to keep your shoe on.  Also, the upper of a shoe should not bite into or pinch your skin, since this will affect the way you walk, as you try to avoid that pain.  Any shoes that you can slip on probably don’t have a sufficient upper.  And any shoes that are too big or too small probably aren’t great either.

Instead of this…

Try this.

So that’s it.  The 4-point quick guide to buying shoes.  If you can hit all 4 in a single pair of shoes, you’re winning.  But if not, try to get at least 3 and work towards 4 with your next pair.

So, a minute ago, I told you not to wear flip-flops, right?  And I talked about the importance of not wearing shoes that you had to grip with your toes in order to keep attached to your feet.  Now, we’re going to talk about the one aspect of footwear that everyone already knows about, but completely ignores.  Heel height.

Yeah, yeah, we all know that high heels are like cigarettes.  Sexy and terrible for you.  We get it.  But what so many people don’t realize is that any heel on a shoe is detrimental to your health.  This does not just apply to women’s shoes.  This does not just apply to fancy dress shoes.  Almost all shoes these days have an elevated heel compared to the toe.  That includes almost all running shoes, almost all slippers, almost all sandals…you get the picture, right?

The very best metaphor I have to demonstrate why wearing any heel at all is detrimental to your health is one I am shamelessly stealing from Katy Bowman.  I believe she uses this example in both Move Your DNA and Whole Body Barefoot, which are books you should probably read at some point.  But until then, let’s just talk about a bookcase, for a minute.

Imagine a bookcase, filled with books (and maybe a plant or a few rocks or shells or glass jars, or whatever else you like to keep on your bookcases besides books).  Now, imagine a wooden block, 1 inch high and 1 inch wide.  Go ahead a slip that block under one edge of your bookcase.  Is that bookcase functioning to the best of its ability?  Now, imagine that your bookcase is as tall as you are, probably somewhere in the 5 to 6 1/2 feet range.  Now, imagine your bookcase is as wide as your foot is long (maybe 9 to 14 inches).  How does that 5 1/2 foot tall, 1 foot wide bookcase look, leaned up against your wall with a one inch block under one side?  Super good?  Want to see what it looks like in a 4-inch stiletto?  I didn’t think so.

Now imagine your bookcase has to do more than just stand there, holding books.  Imagine your bookcase needs to walk the dog uphill in the snow, carry a giant pan of lasagna from the oven to the table, run after the ice cream truck, jump on the bed, bend down to pull a golden ticket from the gutter, hang from trees, do the twist and the hokey-pokey.  Do you think your bookcase is very well set up to do all these amazing things with that block under one side of it?

No; me either.  And yet, we ask our amazing bodies to do all these things and more with giant (proportionally) wedges under them, throwing them off-balance with every step.  So yeah, stop it with the heels.  Please.  Or do less with the heels.  Try slowly transitioning to shoes with less rise from toe to heel.  How about that?  Is that fair?

Client Spotlight

Today I’m going to introduce you to Liz, who finished the 10-series a few months ago.
Hopefully you’ll find her story as interesting as I do!  And if you’d like to tell your story, I’d love to hear it and share it if you’re willing!

Liz Edelman

I began receiving the Rolfing 10 Series with Theresa last fall. I had been hearing about Rolfing for the last 20 years and was curious about pursuing Rolfing as a career. Although I had a little informal experience with a sport coach who was a Rolfer, I really wanted a more complete experience with the 10 series.

Right away, at my first session, I felt comfortable and at ease with Theresa and her approach. I spaced my sessions about every two weeks and found that I very quickly began to eagerly await the next session. Theresa always seemed to find those special spots that needed a bit of extra attention despite the fact that I either didn’t know they did or didn’t mention them to her!

I’m sure other Rolfers are good, but the true value in seeing Theresa is Theresa herself. Her spirit, energy, caring, and experience create an incredibly healing atmosphere. While the Rolfing is exceptional, it’s what Theresa brings to the table that makes it transformative. You wouldn’t just go to any mechanic or pick any vet out of the directory; the same goes for bodywork. You want someone who brings a little something extra and that is definitely what Theresa does!

It’s like what Theresa says on her website. “Rolfing lets you be more yourself.” When I first read that I thought “what the heck does that mean???” But then around session 7, I got it. I felt it. I knew what that meant, but not in a verbal way. All I know is that I feel better after sessions with Theresa, and not just in my body, but also in my heart and soul.

Favorite area to be Rolfed: SI Joint & Sacrum

From Theresa:I’d really love to hear your story about why you decided to try Rolfing!  If you’d like to be featured in my newsletter and on my blog, please reach out!