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Can we talk about shoes (oh my god, shoes) for a minute?  I know, I know, we’ve talked about them before.  I don’t care.  It’s my blog and I do what I want.  Shoes keep coming up, so we’re going to talk about shoes again.

You know how we evolved running through the savannas of Africa?  You know how we evolved climbing trees and mountains?  You know how we did that without Doc Martens on our feet?  Yeah.

Your feet (and my feet, or any feet, for that matter) are awesome.  Not only are they strong enough to hold you up and carry you around all day, but they are so magnificently flexible and adaptable.  You can wiggle your toes.  You can flex and point.  You can supinate and pronate.  You can rotate left and right.  You can tell, even with your eyes closed, so much about your environment, just from your bare feet.  Is the surface you’re standing or walking on level, tilted, or uneven?  Is it smooth or textured?  Is it slippery or grippy?  Is it hot or cold?  Is it soft or unyielding?  Is it wet or dry?  Is it constant or constantly changing?  So much information!  Feet are like the wikipedia of human existence!  They might not tell you everything you need to know, and you might want to fact check what they tell you, but you can still learn an awful lot from your feet.

And what do we do with them?  We put them in casts.  We put them in their little leather (and canvas and rubber and plastic) casts as soon as we wake up and don’t take them out until it’s time to go to sleep, when, let’s face it, they’re not good for much besides regulating temperature.  Can you imagine?  (I’m sure you can because you’ve probably been doing this to your feet most of your life, or at least know someone who has.)  It’s like taking a well-trained, super-fit border collie and putting it in a crate all day.  Every day.  For it’s whole life.  Not cool.  And it wouldn’t be super-fit for long, would it?

We’re missing out, people! And the bottoms of our feet are connected to the tops of our heads, obviously.  When we stimulate, stretch, and move one, we stimulate, stretch and move the other, and everything in between.  Did you know there’s a huge correlation between foot function and pelvis function?  Don’t want to be incontinent as you age?  Keep your feet healthy and active.  Did you know that pelvis function is related to head and neck function?  No interest in headaches or TMJ?  Keep your feet fully functional.  And can we just pause for a minute and consider how important it is to feel steady on our feet as we age?  How often have you heard of an elderly someone who seemed to be in great health, but they fell, and broke their hip, and then they were hospitalized, and then they got pneumonia…and that was the beginning of the end?  I’m not saying that you’ll never fall again once you restore your foot health.  But functional, vibrant, healthy feet will not make you fall more.  Guaranteed.

I know, I know, we can’t all be barefoot all the time.  I get it.  We live in a place where winter happens.  We (some of us at least, myself not included) go to real jobs, where shoes are expected to be worn every day.  And quite frankly, for most of us, suddenly going all barefoot all the time would land us with tons of injuries and the accompanying pain.  Think about it like this: if you kept your hands in casts from your fingertips to just above your wrists, starting around age two, until now, and then decided to take them off today and go play a two hour piano concert, do some light carpentry, knead a double batch of bread dough, and write a five-paragraph essay, by hand, how do you think that would go?  Yeah.  Not super great.  Let’s think about our feet the same way.  Yes, the goal is to do light carpentry with our feet.  No, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  (I’m kidding about the carpentry.  Come on.)

Getting Started:  So what can you do, today, to start restoring your feet to high functionality?  Let’s get rid of the shoes once in a while to start.  Can you walk around your house without shoes on?  I’m guessing most (if not all) the walkable surfaces in your house are flat, level, in a narrow range of comfortable temperatures, not too slippery, and not very texturally interesting (ooh! carpet! how exotic compared to hardwood floors!), but also pretty gentle on your fresh-out-of-their-casts feet.  This is like going from a cast to a sling.

Other sling-like options include switching out your hard-soled shoes for more flexible-soled shoes.  Sure, there are lots of companies nowadays making ‘barefoot’ shoes and minimalist shoes.  Which is awesome.  And most of those shoes are hideously ugly.  (I still own them.  Stop judging me.)  And some of those shoes may just be too much for your recently-back-from-the-dead feet.  So, instead.  Next time you go shoe-shopping, try this.  Walk around the shoe store for a minute or two in just your bare feet, or with socks on.  Yes, you will look weird.  Who are you trying to impress? You can do this at home, first, to get a feel for it.  While you’re walking around, pay attention to how your feet feel.  How do they move?  Do your toes spread as your weight transfers forward over them?  How long is your stride?  How fast do you comfortably walk?  Where does your foot contact the ground?  Heel first?  Mid-sole?  Starting at the toes?  Really feel your feet as you walk.  Then, try on a pair of shoes.  Go for another walk.  Really feel your feet again.  What changed?  If the answer is “nothing,” this is probably a good shoe for you.  In fact, this is probably a great shoe for you (but is also probably imaginary, as even ‘barefoot’ shoes still feel different from actually being barefoot).  If the answer is “everything,” this probably a terrible shoe for you.  Try to get as close to “nothing changed” as possible within your style/budget/patience-for-shoe-shopping constraints.  See?  Easy.  If you do this every time you go shoe shopping, in 10 years, you will have totally different, and significantly healthier feet.  I promise.  (They’ll also probably be bigger.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

With your new and improved choice of footwear, you can now start mixing up the terrain you walk on.  Start with walking through the grass at the park instead of on the sidewalk or path.  This will help build up the stabilizing muscles in your lower legs and feet (and all the way up through your pelvis and back) that might have atrophied from always walking on flat, level surfaces.  Go hiking (not in thick-soled hiking boots, in your new, more flexible shoes).  Climb trees.  Scramble up rocks.  Go out in the rain and the snow and the ice.  Teach your feet to be good at handling as broad a range of experiences as possible.  This is also good advice for bodies in general.  Flat and level is for sissies.

Another option for improving foot health and slowly restoring function to your feet is taking shoe breaks.  We all know by now that sitting for four hours straight is bad for us, right?  Right.  We all know that even if we can’t be moving all day, we’re supposed to get up every hour (or 20 minutes) and walk around/stretch/just stand.  Same thing applies to shoes.  Can you slip them off at your desk and wiggle your toes?  Can you pad around in your socks while you’re on that phone call?  Can you go stand barefoot in the grass in your backyard for five minutes while you’re waiting for the water to boil?

Next Level Shit:  Once you’ve gotten your feet out of their casts, and comfortable in slings (and this could take several years), it’s time to take things to the next level.  Go ahead.  Take the slings off.  You might want to consider some of those ugly, but awesomely functional ‘barefoot’ shoes.  Work up to spending as much time as possible barefoot.  Strengthen the skin of your feet by walking barefoot on as many different textures (and in as many temperatures) as you can.  Strengthen the tiny little muscles in your feet and the big strong muscles of your core by walking on different terrain, at all sorts of angles.  You can even do some of this in your house!    Throw the couch cushions on the floor.  Throw the kids’ building blocks and Lincoln Logs (Do they still make Lincoln Logs?  Please tell me they still make Lincoln Logs.) on the floor.  Walk over it all.  The couch cushions will make you work harder to balance.  The Lincoln logs will challenge your skin strength and flexibility.  Rolled up towels, wooden spoons, pencils, a rolling pin, a candlestick holder, a bookend, heck, crumple up your junk mail and throw it on the ground.  The list goes on.  Throw it on the floor and walk on it.  (And you’ll get bonus movement points when you have to pick it all up and put it away!)  Keep seeking new and different challenges for your feet.  Don’t let them get bored.

You can get those border collies back in top shape.  It’s a long process, but you can do this.  I know you can, because I’ve done it.  And my feet continue to get stronger and more flexible.  And the rest of my body continues to thank me for it.  But we’ve got to start with the shoes.  For the love of your feet, please stop it with the high-heels and the flip flops and start letting your feet be the magnificent beings they are.  Oh my god, shoes.

I don’t know about you, but for me, summer is non-stop, and I absolutely love it.  There are just so many opportunities for movement that I don’t feel like I need to “work-out.”  It just happens.  Volleyball in the park, riding my bike instead of driving, a hike with friends, camping, dancing at weddings, long walks with ice cream on a warm night, the list goes on and on.  And as a general rule, I know I feel better when I move more (serious injury not withstanding).  More activity equals more joy.

I also love the fall, but as the temperatures drop, the hours of daylight lessen, and that myriad of movement opportunities seems to disappear just as quickly.  Volleyball leagues end, my bike seems like a chore because of all the layers I need to wear, hiking seems more tedious for the same reason, it’s too cold to camp, wedding season is over, and ice cream doesn’t hold the same appeal if I need to put on a coat first.  It sounds like a much better idea to cozy up on the couch with that book I’ve been dying to read and a blanket on my lap.

So this is when I really need to be careful that I’m still getting all the movement my body needs and wants.  In an effort to make sure I don’t lose my summer-time happiness, or, for that matter, my summer-time muscles, I’m trying to consciously up my movement wherever and whenever I can.  And I really mean wherever and whenever.  I’m trying to wiggle my toes and shift my weight from side to side while I wait in line at the grocery store.  I’m trying to do squats and calf raises at my office while I wait for clients (don’t laugh too hard if you catch me in the middle of a squat when you come in).  I’m trying to walk while I make phone calls instead of sitting on the couch or the bed.  I’m trying to dance while I fold laundry.  Can I do 5 push-ups while I wait for the water to get hot in the shower?  As I write this, I’m lying on the floor, kicking my feet behind me, just to try a different position from sitting.  I’m looking for races in the winter and spring to keep me motivated through the desire to hibernate.  I just listened to a Katy Bowman podcast where she mentioned building obstacle courses through her house, just to keep things interesting.  The cats will love me forever when I finally do that.  Maybe this is the excuse I’ve been looking for to jump on the bed to my heart’s content.  Just like I’m always trying to sneak more vegetables into everything I cook, I’m now trying to sneak more movement into my day.

What about you?  Do you have a plan to keep you moving through the fall and winter?  Got any tips or tricks you want to send my way?  I’ll take all the help I can get.

Happy moving and happy fall!

Oh my gosh, SassyPants!  I have a new office!  I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m really excited about this!  So, my new office is at 701 S. Logan (suite 110).  Just about a mile and a half south of my current office, which is hopefully not too big a change for you.  It’s on the southwest corner of Logan and Exposition.  There’s plenty of parking (yay!), it’s on the main floor, with not one single stair (double yay!), and it’s got a lot more elbow room (hip, hip, hooray!).  Also, from what I can tell, it’ll be a lot quieter in this building than in my last, with less people tromping up and down the stairs or making phone calls right outside the door (yeehaw!).
I’ll be starting there Wednesday, September 17th, and with the new space will come slightly different hours of availability.  I’ll still be working full days on Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays, so that much will stay the same.  I might also have a half-day available on Fridays or Saturdays but those details are yet to be hammered out.  Regardless, if you book a session with me on or after the 17th of September, it will be at the new location.  I hope you like it as much as I do!  And if you have a soft-spot for my current office, be sure to get yourself scheduled in the next month to say goodbye to it!

Sometimes the world makes me so sad.
Today is one of those days.
Why are we so awful to each other?  Why are people afraid, based on the color of their skin?  The shape of their genitals?  The people they love?  Why don’t we take care of our own?  Why don’t we teach conflict transformation in first grade?  Why do we pay football stars millions and midwives pennies?  Why do we live in isolation?  Why don’t we learn to be human?  To be ourselves?  To listen to our gut instincts and the earth and each other?

Sometimes I get so tired.
Today is one of those days.
Tired of concrete and asphalt.  Tired of beige and white and more beige.  Tired of fluorescent lighting and corporate ladders and not having health insurance.  Tired of artificial…flavoring and coloring and chocolate and plants.  Tired of mass produced and every highway exit looking like the last one.  Tired of looking up the weather instead of looking outside.  Tired of not knowing my neighbors.

Sometimes the world mows me down, bowls me over, and completely uproots me with its wonder and beauty.
Today is one of those days.
Cool, quiet mornings.  Surprise meetings with friends.  Chatting with someone across the ocean.  Breakfast in bed.  Kind words from a stranger.  A garden walk with an excited pup.  A purring cat in my lap.  Thunderstorms in the middle of the heat.

Sometimes it’s too much.
Sometimes it’s just enough.
Today is one of those days.

Hey there!  So, it’s been a whirlwind of a ten days or so since I sent out that email about snakey sessions.

Thank you.  Really.  So much.  Like, a lot.  And then some more.  Thank you for all of your support.  So many of you wrote me kind words.  So many of you signed up for snakey sessions and came in with open minds.  I am so grateful.  I have the best clients.  Really.  Thank you.

That being said, I wanted to clarify a couple of things.

-No, I don’t have any actual snakes in the room with me.  So for those of you who are worried about that, you can exhale now.  I’m sorry I wasn’t clear on that in the first place.  I don’t even know if it’s legal to own a king cobra, but I certainly don’t have one in my possession.

-The pricing on all this got messy fast.  So basically it’s on a donation basis from here on out.  At least until we’re done with all 39 sessions.  $0 to $60.  I’m just grateful that people are showing up for me to practice with.

-I would love to have people come back for second and third snakey sessions, if they want to.  I’d love to hear your impressions of how this thing is progressing, if at all.  I just ask that you finish your first before signing up for the second.  Make sure it’s something you’re into before committing to a time someone else might want.

-Along the same lines, I’ve had some issues with people not showing up for sessions.  I know, they’re practice sessions.  I get that.  But I’m putting in the same amount of effort, care, and respect that I always put into my sessions.  I’m blocking out time and making sure I’m prepared mentally and physically to do the best work I can.  When you don’t show up, well, it makes me sad.  And frustrated.  So please, if you schedule a session, even a practice snakey session, show up for it.  Or at least call me to tell me you won’t be coming so I can head out to that barbeque I’m missing, instead of sitting in my office waiting for someone who’s not planning on being there.

-Snakey sessions are taking anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, it seems.  I’m going to keep it at 2 hours so that I don’t feel rushed, but there it is.

-I’m thinking about putting together a survey or a questionnaire of some sort to see what you think of these snakey sessions, so be on the lookout for that.  In the meantime, if you’ve had a session and have any sort of feedback to share, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

-As of this moment, I’ve done 17 snakey sessions (with another 6 scheduled in the next couple weeks).  I feel like I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve come a long way.  And yet, there’s still a lot to be done.  Many more snakey sessions to be done before that magic 39 is reached.  So if you or anyone else you know wants to help me out with this project, I’d love to have you come in.

Lastly, I have to announce that this will be my last month practicing in Lafayette.  I’ve been extra conscious of where I’m investing my energy lately and I just can’t justify the drive up north every week.  I am so appreciative of every client I’ve worked with up there.  And that was my first office as I came out of Rolfing school, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.  But the time has come for my practice to be just in Denver.  Again, a big thank you to each and every person I’ve worked with in Lafayette over the last 3+ years.

That’s all I’ve got for you for now.  Thank you, thank you for your support as I experiment with this new energy in my life!

Happy New Year, SassyPants! I hope your holidays were lovely and just what you wanted them to be. I spent all of Christmas day in my pajamas, so it was a success in my book.

So this is the time of year when everyone’s making resolutions and starting fitness programs and cutting calories and whatnot. More power too ‘em. Generally speaking I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I think January’s a crappy time to start new projects since this time of year is all about rest, introspection, and slow germination. Spring is the time for new projects and ambitious goals. On the other hand, I’ve had a strange feeling lately. It’s as if I know, deep in my bones, that the habits I form now, the patterns I create now, are the ones that are going to stick with me for the rest of my life. This isn’t the time to plant new seeds. But it is the time to start looking through the seed catalogs to pick out what I will plant in March, April, and May.

It feels like now is the time for me to decide what I want to grow in my life. Instead of “Lose 20 pounds by May 1st,” I’d rather cultivate a healthy, active lifestyle. I love biscuits and gravy. But do I want to be the sort of person who eats biscuits and gravy for breakfast every day? Or would I rather be the sort of person who enjoys them a few times a year, as a treat? ‘Cause let me tell you, I LOVE me some biscuits and gravy, but I never get up after a plate of them feeling amazing. And I want to feel amazing pretty much every day. So I need to figure out what I can do to feel amazing pretty much every day. This is what I came up with. My list of things I’d like to cultivate; this month, this year, this lifetime.

-A positive outlook
-Spontaneous dancing (including, but not limited too: dance-walking, dance-cooking, dance-cleaning, and general booty-shaking)
-Connecting with family
-Expecting abundance
-Healthy, delicious home-cooked meals
-Lots of laughter
-An active life
-Vitamin D supplements every winter
-Generosity
-Hugs and snuggles
-Loving the animals in my life
-Random acts of kindness
-Gigantic, overwhelming love
-Smiling at strangers
-Quality time spent with quality people
-Patience
-Lots of kissing
-Dreaming big
-Gratitude
-Reading a lot
-Growing plants, including my food
-Embracing down-time
-Making things from scratch
-Being enough, right now, in this moment
-Quality over quantity in every aspect of my life
-Beautiful, sacred spaces
-Time spent outdoors
-Getting enough sleep every single night
-Listening: to my body, to my intuition, to the earth, and to my friends
-Going deeper; getting to the heart of it
-Stretching: physically, mentally, emotionally

So what about you, SassyPants?  Are you a resolution maker?  Are there things you want to cultivate in your life? Who are you going to be (today, this year, this lifetime)? And are you brave enough to share it with everyone here in the comments?

Happy growing!

Hey there, SassyPants, I’ve got a question for you.  When you have an injury, or a painful spot on your body, how do you talk to it?  When you sprain your knee, does the conversation go a little something like this?  “Stupid freakin’ knee.  Always gotta be hurting and twisting all funny-like.  Why can’t you just work right like other people’s knees?  Why can’t you just do what you’re supposed to?  Man, how long are you going to take to heal?  Does this mean I can’t play basketball on Wednesday?  Great.  Thanks a lot, you stupid knee, you.”

Or does the conversation go more like this?  “Oh, hey knee.  Well, you certainly got my attention.  Is there something you need?  Something you’ve been trying to tell me lately, that I haven’t been listening to?  Do you just want some time off?  Take a little break?  That’s cool.  You got it.  I love you, knee.  Let me know if you want some ice or gentle stretching or anything, okay?  You’re awesome.  Thanks for everything you do for me.  I know we’ll get through this just fine.”

I know my first instinct is to go the first route and be angry when I get hurt, or when something hurts.  But I think it makes a difference when we go the second route and send love towards the pain instead.  I can’t prove that it speeds the healing up.  But I know that whatever you think about all day trains your brain to keep thinking about that same thing.  It’s like when hundreds of people take the same shortcut across the grass in the park and pretty soon there’s a path worn through it.  From then on, it’s easier to take that path than to cut a new one through the grass, so you probably walk the path.  Your brain works like that.

If you spend your day thinking “my knee is so stupid and weak,” then your brain starts to believe your knee is stupid and weak.  So your knee behaves as if it’s stupid and weak.  But if you spend your day thinking “my knee is so healthy and strong,” then your brain starts to believe your knee is healthy and strong.  So your knee behaves as if it’s healthy and strong.  I don’t know about you, but “healthy and strong” sounds better than “stupid and weak” to me.

Now, I try to send my injuries love instead of hate.  Compassion and patience instead of frustration and anger.  So, SassyPants, what’s ailing you these days?  Wanna try sending it some love?

My dad’s parents were born in the same small town in northern Italy and until the day she died, my nonna would swear at my nonno in that Italian dialect and speak to us grandkids in strongly accented English.  I grew up knowing that “Santa Maria!” was the appropriate way to respond to spilled milk or outrageous prices and that “Ciao, bella bambina!” meant I was about to get my cheeks pinched.  I also grew up hearing “Con chi la ghettu?” quite a bit from not only my grandparents, but my mother, who loves this phrase more than all the others she’s learned over the years married to an Italian.

“Con chi la ghettu” isn’t standard Italian.  It’s all-the-way dialect, so it’s not something I learned in years of Italian classes, nor something I heard studying in Italy, as I wasn’t in that region.  I actually had to call my dad and ask how he thought it might be spelled, since my Italian dictionary has nothing resembling the word “ghettu.”  But the meaning was always apparent in my household: who are you mad at?  Literally, I think it means “with whom do you have it?”  But it was always used to ask the rhetorical question of who was to blame.  Mad that you got a “C” on that paper?  Con chi la ghettu?  Upset that you burned the pancakes?  Con chi la ghettu?  Pissed about the rain today because now you can’t mow the lawn and you knew you should’ve done it yesterday?  Con chi la ghettu?

And when I sat down to write this post, immediately, the phrase “con chi la ghettu” came to mind.  Because here’s the thing (in the words of Danielle LaPorte):

Everything that’s on your plate is there because you said “yes” to it.

Consciously or unconsciously, out-loud or in your head, you agreed to today.  You may have felt you had no choice, but there’s always a choice.  And so, if you’re not thrilled with how things are going, con chi la ghettu?

I was so thoroughly reminded of this on Friday, as I sat in agony on my couch, with every movement bringing more agony.  See, my sacrum was in open revolt.  Sitting hurt; as did standing; as did lying down.  And anything that made any part of my spine move, say like walking, or sneezing, or well, anything, made it hurt worse.  It was a pretty wild way to spend a Friday, let me tell you!

Also, it was my choice.  See, I’ve got this weird hip-popping thing ’cause my right sacro-illiac joint is stuck, since I fell down some icy stairs 8 years ago.  It’s not that big of a deal.  It’s loud and mildly uncomfortable, but on the grand scale, it’s really nothing.  But when I found myself in a yoga class Monday morning with only one other student, and the teacher asked if there was anything we wanted to focus on, I remembered that sticky sacrum joint and I said “I’d like some hip openers, please.”  And open those hips we did.  Which was great at the time.  Tuesday was a little sore; Wednesday, moderately uncomfortable; and Thursday night was awful.  But nothing compared to Friday.  I felt like I’d just fallen down those stairs the day before.  Groaning like an old man with every movement.  Wincing as I sat down.  Shuffling through the house at a snail’s pace.

And I thought to myself, “con chi la ghettu, Theresa?”  I had literally, out-loud, asked to open that hip up.  Unsurprisingly, there was some trauma stored in there.  At the time I fell, I was at a really low point in my life and there was a lot of anger, and shame, and hurt, and loneliness around that slip on the ice, not to mention the postcard-sized bruise on my butt for 3 weeks.  When I asked to open it up, the universe said, “Sure, if that’s what you want.  Have fun with that.”  So I tried to do my best and just be present in the process.  I looked at the anger and shame and hurt and loneliness that I had been feeling and welcomed each emotion, then reminded myself of how far I’ve come.  That heartbreak didn’t end me.  That loneliness didn’t kill me.  That shame was self inflicted and undeserved.  That anger was justified and has since been transformed into love.  And now this pain wasn’t going to end me either.  I could take a day or two to move slowly.  I could get some bodywork for myself.  I could practice energetic clearing on my own traumas.  No biggie.

So now I want to open it up to you.  What’s on your plate right now that you’re not thrilled with?  Can you figure out when you said yes to it?  Or how you continue to say yes to it with your choices every day?  Is that a choice you still want to make?  Ultimately, con chi la ghettu?  Pain isn’t the enemy.  But knowing why you’ve allowed that pain into your life can go a long way towards healing.

Please forgive me, SassyPants.  I know I wrote back in May about how I became a Rolfer.  In fact, I wrote so damn much about it, that it took up two posts.  And now, I’m telling the same old story, again, this time on video.  Really, if you already know, or don’t really care how I became a Rolfer, you don’t have to watch the video.  Not that I could make you if I tried.  But really, you don’t have to watch it.  I just get this question ALL the time.  And I love answering it.  So I answered it in a video to put up on my site.  And I loved the results.  So I’m sharing it with you.  And I say ‘and’ a lot.  Also, I say ‘so’ a lot.  So many things to beg forgiveness for.

If you have anything you’d rather hear about or questions you’d like answered, please let me know.  All the topics I considered writing about today bored me.  I’m asking you to be my inspiration.  Got anything good for me?

In the meantime, if you want, check out the video and let me know what you think.  Worth putting up on the site?

Oh!  And Demo Day is on Saturday.  Yes, this Saturday, the 15th.  Tell your friends.  Or your family members.  Or your neighbors.  Or nobody at all.  But if you want someone to come give me a try, this could be a good way for them to get a taste.  30 minute trial sessions for $10 each.  New clients only.  Have ‘em give me a call, or shoot me an email, if they want to schedule one.  Yay!  Demo Day!

I feel like I wrote this article already.  But when I went searching through the archives, I couldn’t find it.  Maybe I’ve just explained it so many times that it feels like I’ve written this article.  Or maybe I did write it, but I titled it something like “Plantar Fasciitis,” which makes no sense whatsoever, but it could’ve happened, I’m not going to lie.  Regardless, I’m going to write this article now.

Here’s my thing about referrals:  I love referrals.  Duh.  What business owner doesn’t?  I love referrals not just in a referrals-mean-more-clients-which-is-good-for-my-business sort of way, although that’s true.  There’s also the aspect of referrals-mean-I-get-to-help-more-people-live-their-lives-without-pain, which is awesome.  But really, the number one reason I love referrals is that people who come to me through a referral already know what they’re signing up for, at least to some degree.

I do my best on my website and on the blog and on the phone to prepare new clients for what they’re getting into when they come in for a session.  But there’s something about having a friend explain to you what it was like for them that helps people understand it all better than I can ever seem to achieve.  Which is great, ’cause a session with me can be pretty intense or weird or overwhelming (or all of the above) as it is; nobody needs the added factor of surprise.  So for the lack-of-surprise factor, I love referrals.

That being said, I don’t have a referral rewards program.  You know; send 3 friends, get a free session.  Or for every person you refer, you get $10 off your next session.  Trust me, I’ve thought about it.  I think about it often, in fact.  The number one reason I haven’t instituted a referral rewards program is privacy.

Here’s a hypothetical story.  (I do have a sister named Anna and she does have a friend named Gina, but I’ve never seen Gina as a client, and if I had, I’d never tell you about it, I promise.)  Let’s say that my sister Anna refers her friend Gina to come see me.  Great!  Gina comes to see me, and while we’re going over her initial intake, we come across the vey embarrassing problem she’s been having with incontinence lately.  This is something we can work with and try to resolve with Rolfing.  Hooray!  But then Anna comes back to see me, and she gets $10 off her session.  If she referred 20 people to come see me, this wouldn’t be a big deal.  But I don’t know how many people she referred to me.  All I know is that one came in.  Maybe Gina is the only person Anna’s told about me.  In which case, it would be very easy for Anna to deduce, from her reduced price session, that Gina has come in for a session with me.

This is where it gets tricky.  All of a sudden, client confidentiality is out the window.  I haven’t expressly told Anna, or anyone else, that Gina has come in for a session, but Anna knows, regardless.  And next time Anna and Gina are hanging out, Anna might casually mention to Gina, “So you went and got Rolfed by Theresa, huh?”  Now Gina may not know that Anna deduced this simply from getting $10 off her session.  She might instead assume that Anna and I were out at a bar and I started talking about the session I had with Gina.  She may also assume that in this conversation I let it slip that Gina’s been dealing with incontinence.  All of a sudden Gina is mortified, and will never trust me again.

Not okay.  Big fat not okay.  Capital ‘N,’ capital ‘O,’ Not Okay.

And so, even though I never expressly told anyone that Gina came to see me, nor any details of her session with me, Gina feels her trust has been betrayed.  And I never, ever, ever want you or any client to feel that way.  I am very careful to keep the identities of my clients private and the details of their sessions private.  Yes, there are HIPPA laws around this, and I respect those laws, but there’s more to it than what the laws dictate.  I want your sessions to feel safe.  I want them to be a place where you can relax and lay it all down, whatever it is that you’ve been carrying.  And I don’t want you to worry that it’s going to get back to your friends if they come in and see me as well, or if I see them while I’m walking around Wash Park.  Which is why I will guard your privacy with the utmost care, and also why I don’t and won’t have a referral rewards program.

Also, I want you to send people my way because you think they would benefit from a session with me, not because you’re trying to get cheap sessions for yourself.  That’s just a personal pride thing.  And lastly, referral reward programs feel a little like pyramid schemes to me and pyramid schemes feel skeazy.  I don’t like skeazy, even if it’s a cool word.

But I love referrals.  Really.  Like a whole bunch.  Thank you so, so much for each and every person you send my way.  It really is an honor that you trust me with the people you care about.  Thank you.