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Category Archives: Rolfing SI

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!

Practitioner Spotlight

There are a few questions that come up OVER and OVER in my practice.  And I should probably include those in the FAQ’s on my website, since that is exactly what an FAQ is.  However, just in case you’re not reading my website on a daily basis, I’m going to start answering common questions here in my newsletter.  And lately, the popular question is: “What do you think of acupuncture?”

What I think of acupuncture:

To this, I always reply that I LOVE acupuncture.  Because I do, and I’m not in the habit of lying to my clients.

The next question, is about whether or not I have an acupuncturist I recommend.  And to that, I say, go see Lee.

Lee Hurter and I have been working together for about a year and a half and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for him in my life.  While I originally sought treatment with Lee to see if there was anything he could do to help the swelling in my feet (yes, is the answer), he has helped with so much more than that.  When I crashed my body into a rock while running as fast as I could down a mountain, Lee is the one who put me back together.  When I had a cold that laid me out for a week, Lee is the one who helped clear the mucus out of my lungs so I could go more than 10 minutes between blowing my nose.  But the number one thing that Lee has helped me with (and the most unexpected from my inexperienced viewpoint) is the emotional aspect.  Lee has helped me get to the root of, and move through anger and frustration and grief and sadness and hopelessness and annoyance….and on and on.  It’s been so, so helpful.

  .     

Moving Points Acupuncture

Lee Hurter is the owner and licensed acupuncturist of Moving Points Acupuncture (movingpointsacupuncture.com).

He was drawn to acupuncture 12 years ago after learning the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol. This protocol works with withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, trauma, cravings, stress, and insomnia.  Lee then went to school to learn Classical 5-Element Acupuncture which is an ancient form of acupuncture that focuses on the emotional and constitutional roots of imbalances, illness, and pain.

Moving Points Acupuncture is an office AND mobile based practice dedicated to providing client-centeredtrauma-informedbody-positive, and harm-reduction based treatments. Treatments may include different styles of acupuncturemoxibustion, and cupping. Moving Points is committed to offering treatments to people who have never received acupuncture before, as well as to seasoned clients. Treatments cater to the individual client’s needs and desires.

If you’re at all interested, give acupuncture a try!

It’s a great compliment to your Rolfing sessions and a different perspective on healing.

Flip flop season is just getting started and I’m writing to ruin your fun.  I would say that I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if I’m honest, I kinda love it.  So let’s just get right to it, shall we?

I could talk for days about foot health and how important it is (as the foundation for the rest of your body all day, every day), but suffice it to say that it’s really, really important and whatever you do to your feet, the rest of your body has to deal with as well.  And so, when choosing your footwear this summer, can I please, please, please entice you away from the flip flops?

I know nobody will be surprised to hear me say that high heels aren’t good for you.  But so often I see people trade their heels (and yes, that includes the gentlemen; anything where your heel is higher than your toes is considered a high heel in my book) for flip flops and consider the problem solved.  Not so, my friend, not so.

Ideally, as you walk, your foot should go through a full, smooth roll, from the outside edge of your heel to the very tip of your big toe before leaving the ground to stride forward to the next step.  I tried to find a video of this, but this animation (which is a terrible example of how to walk, but is great if you just watch the feet) is the best I could find:

However, when you wear flip flops, you need to hang on to them with your toes or they’ll go flying.  Which means your toes are contracted when they should be at their longest, most extended.  And you do this with Every.  Single.  Step.  No bueno, team.  It shortens the fibers in the plantar surface of the foot…which can lead to plantar fasciitis.  It prevents you from having a full, long stride, so you end up taking more steps per mile, compounding the problem with each step.  It causes a mirrored shortness in the pelvic floor, straining the super fun zone that’s located there, as well as the bladder and the urethra (but those aren’t that important, right?).  With a shortened anterior pelvis, a hyper-lordotic lumbar curve is encouraged, which is just a fancy way of saying low back pain is probably on its way.  Oh, and knee problems!  I almost forgot about knee problems!  They come with flip flop use as well because all that tightening and shortening in the toes happens mostly through muscles in the lower leg, which creates imbalance in the knee joint, and let me tell you, the knee is a tricky joint to rebalance once it’s out of whack.

So.  Flip flops are bad.  Sorry, not sorry.

But, I really am trying to help you live your best life.  Not just now, but 10 years from now.  And 10 years after that.  And if you spend half the year wearing flip flops, every year, for 60 years, then come to me with plantar fasciitis, knee pain, back pain, and pelvic organ prolapse…well, don’t say I didn’t warn you, but I’ll happily take your money and we can do weekly Rolfing sessions for the next 5 years to get you back on track.

OR, try going barefoot!  Or, try one of the (what seems like hundreds of) ‘barefoot’ sandal options.  Or, just find a shoe that securely attaches to your foot so your toes don’t have to grip with every step.  Remember, your foot should be able to move like this:

And if it can’t while wearing and walking in your shoes, you’re basically putting your foot in a cast, then expecting it to do its job, which isn’t exactly fair.  I don’t put your hands in mittens then ask you to play the piano.  Set your feet up for success and ditch the flip flops.

Until next time, happy moving!
Theresa

Hey there, I just realized (I know; it’s been 8 years; sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake) that even though each of you has come to see me for a specific reason, you might not know about all the other specific reasons people try Rolfing.  So, in an effort to address that, I’m going to be highlighting clients and having them tell their stories.  Hopefully you’ll find it 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!

Now, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Beth Angel.  Here’s what she has to say about her experience going through the 10-series with me:

I could write about Rolfing, my experiences with Rolfing, and my outcomes with Rolfing.  However, if you have made it this far, I think you have read enough about Rolfing to make a decision if it is for you or not. Instead, I’ll spend my time explaining why Rolfing with Theresa was my best decision.

I came to Theresa after seeing two other Rolfers.  I already knew that Rolfing was for me; research on the body and the impact Rolfing sessions could have on posture, pain management, and injuries had made my decision.  My previous Roflers had been good at the technique, but the connection wasn’t there.  I couldn’t see spending 10 sessions with those individuals, so I kept on looking. My first day with Theresa was a breath of fresh air. I told her what I didn’t want from my Rolfer, and then rambled away on what I was looking to accomplish with Rolfing.  My thoughts were not focused, so I just rambled and Theresa began working.

Throughout my time with Theresa, I became more aware of my body and my ability to explain what was going on within my body.  Theresa listened, pointed out things when appropriate, and educated whenever she could. She remained calm and kind when I came into a session with tears coming down my face, and she was always up for a random discussion on whatever I decided to ramble on about that day.

Throughout my 10-series, I worked on minimizing the pain in my right shoulder from a repetitive motion injury and better posture to fix my habit of locking my knees.  Theresa and I worked on so many other things, and I am beyond thankful I took the time to find the right person.  Rolfing is an amazing experience that will open your eyes to your habits, your body, and the impact they have on each other.  Do not entrust just anyone with the ability to Rolf, pick someone that will listen and educate you so the impact of this practice will be long-lasting. For me that was Theresa, and I truly believe she will be that person for anyone that is willing to give Rolfing a shot.

Hey there SassyPants,

It’s (apparently) been 8 1/2 months since I wrote a blog post.  I guess I didn’t have much to say.  But now I DO have something to say.  Two things, in fact.  No, make that three.  Good things come in trios, as they say.

First and foremost, I’m moving to a new office.  For the second time in my almost-8-year career, the space I’m currently renting will soon be torn down and turned into a luxury apartment building.  Love you, Denver!  And so, it is with great excitement that I announce Monday, January 29th will be the last day I see clients at 701 S. Logan and Wednesday January 31st will be the first day I see clients at 1221 S. Clarkson (suite 122).  I’ll be sending out reminders of the new location for the first month or so, but after that, you’re on your own.  The new building is around the corner from Whole Foods for all your pre- and post-Rolfing snacking needs and is still very accessible and in the West Wash Park neighborhood.  The only trick is parking, in that there are about 8 spots directly in front of the building on Clarkson which is designated as 2-hour parking.  The surrounding blocks are all 1-hour parking (which is a bit short for a Rolfing session).  However, exactly one block north, on Mississippi, parking is unlimited (except for the once a month street sweeping days).  So here’s your chance to get a little more movement in your life and spend just a minute or two more outside by parking a block away!  I really am excited about this new space and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.  I’m also looking for a few other therapists to share the space with, as there are two treatment rooms and I’ll only be using one (and even that one I don’t use 24/7).  So, if you are a, or know any massage therapists, Rolfers, Reiki practitioners, acupuncturists, counselors, psychologists, or other healers who could use some full or part-time office space, please let me know!

Secondly, my dear friend and personal Rolfer, Dave Sheldon is organizing and co-teaching a SourcePoint Therapy module 1 class in Boulder at the Rolf Institute April 6th-8th.  This class is open to the public and you need absolutely no experience as a bodyworker or in any particular field to participate.  I’ll be attending the class myself for a review and would love to see you there as well.  If you’ve ever had any interest in exploring SourcePoint Therapy for your own personal use (or to use on your friends or kids or pets or unsuspecting strangers), this is a great opportunity to check it out.  You’ll learn a lot of the basics taught by the creators of SourcePoint, Bob Shrei and Donna Thomson.  Early registration is $550; after February 23rd it goes up to $600.  You can contact Dave directly at dave@davesheldon.com to register and more information about SourcePoint Therapy can be found at sourcepointtherapy.com.

Lastly, I wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be taking off 6 weeks this summer to thru hike the Colorado Trail (unless the whole state is on fire because we haven’t had any snow or rain).  My exact date of departure is yet to be determined, but will probably be around the first of July. I bring this up now just in case you want to do a 10-series this year.  Since a 10-series takes a minimum of 10 weeks to complete, and more commonly takes 20-30 weeks to complete, and because there are only 24-25 weeks before I head out, and because it’s really not ideal to take a 6-week break in the middle of your 10-series (but it won’t kill you either, let’s not be overdramatic here), it’d be ideal for you to either start your 10-series pretty soon, and get on a regular schedule, or wait until I get back, in mid-August to start.  If, however, you have already done the 10-series, or have no interest in the 10-series, then proceed as usual and don’t even worry about the fact that I’ll be gone for 6 weeks.  It’s half a year away!

That’s all I’ve got for now, peeps.  I hope you’re enjoying the new year!

I came to Rolfing out of curiosity. I didn’t really know much about it before my first session. I’d heard it was deeper than the deepest massage I’d ever had. I’d heard there was something about 10 sessions. I’d probably heard something about realignment or restructuring, but truth be told, maybe not. And that was about it. So, I didn’t have many expectations for going through the 10-series the first time. I didn’t know what was possible to hope for. And honestly, I thought I was doing pretty well. My body felt good, for the most part. I saw my chiropractor about once a week. I hiked and danced and ate reasonably well and got plenty of sleep and had a fairly low-stress life. I didn’t have any major complaints. I just wanted to learn about what Rolfing was.

However. I had no idea how much better my life could be after getting Rolfed. And here I am, almost 9 years after I first tried Rolfing and, looking back, there is so much I gained besides knowledge about Rolfing. So I made a listical. If I get in the habit of writing listicals, please stop reading this blog.

In no particular order, here is my personal list of 10 unexpected results of being Rolfed:
1. I can stand for hours at a time without pain. Once upon a time, I was a freshman at CU, and, as was customary at the time, I camped out with my friends to get season tickets to the football games. It’s not my thing now, but I had a blast going to those games as a freshman, with one small caveat: it killed my back. In the student section, we stood for the entire game and I remember watching the game clock desperately wishing for half-time when I could sit down without being taunted. And then again for the end of the game. My back and shoulders would ache after the first 20-30 minutes and so the remaining 2-3 hours would be torture. A few years ago, a friend of mine invited me to a CU football game and for the fun of it, we stood in the student section. It wasn’t until the game was over that I realized I was perfectly comfortable. I had stood for at a tailgating party before the game and I was happy to continue standing at the continuation of the same party for another hour after the game. I hadn’t even needed to sit down during half time.
2. I no longer see my chiropractor. Which is a shame on an emotional level, because I really like my chiropractor as a person. I just don’t feel like I need a chiropractor anymore. There was a time in my life when I was getting adjusted 4-6 times a week. I had been getting adjustments since I first “threw my back out” at 17 years old. I’ve worked for 3 different chiropractors. I love chiropractors. But I don’t need one anymore, because I don’t “throw my back out” anymore. And my ribs stay where they belong most of the time. And if anything’s out of place, I go see my Rolfer, not my chiropractor. So, in the last 6 or 7 years, I think I’ve been adjusted less than 10 times.
3. I have better posture. This one, I should’ve seen coming, as improved posture is one of the main goals of Rolfing. But again, I didn’t know much about Rolfing and I didn’t know that was one of the goals. Having been told to “sit up straight” and “stop slouching” my whole life, I now feel like I have pretty decent posture. It’s not perfect or anything. But I can look back on pictures of myself from high school and college and see my head 6 inches in front of my shoulders. Whereas in more recent pictures of me, my head is actually over my shoulders. And my shoulders aren’t rounded forward as much. Without even trying, or my mom nagging me.
4. I stopped spraining my ankles. I used to sprain one ankle or the other a couple times a year. I mean, I’ve had 2 or 3 ankles braces as well as two ace bandages in my medicine kit since the beginning of college, when I “borrowed” them from my parents’ medicine kit. A few months ago as I was konmari-ing my bathroom, I realized, I haven’t used those ankle braces since I first got Rolfed. And into the garbage they went. To be fair, this is not just because of Rolfing, though I attribute it largely to Rolfing. But it’s also because I’ve transitioned to minimal footwear and spending as much time barefoot as possible. I’ve helped my ankles get stronger and more adaptable through regular use in challenging situations as opposed to trying to always keep them protected in supportive, inflexible shoes and boots. But still, Rolfing started me on that journey and thinking differently about my feet and ankles.
5. I’m a runner. A trail ultra runner to be exact (I run longer than marathon-length races on trails, not roads). I used to hate running. Hate. Dread. Despise. And again, I can’t give Rolfing full credit for my current love of running. But as a combination of a few of the above surprises (better posture, stronger ankles), running is a lot more comfortable than it used to be. And as a direct result of Rolfing, I can breathe so much better now than I used to be able to, which is somewhat important when you’re running.
6. I can kneel and squat without pain. I had knee surgery in 2007 for a torn lateral meniscus and after months of physical therapy, I was frustrated that I still couldn’t kneel or do a full squat without pain. When I asked my doctor and my physical therapist about this, they both responded with some version of “You just shouldn’t do those things anymore. And while you’re at it, you shouldn’t run.” I was 26 and being told that I might never be able to kneel or squat again was beyond maddening. Since being Rolfed, I often forget which knee I had surgery on. I have no problems whatsoever with kneeling or squatting. And see above about the running.
7. My eyesight has improved. This is such a weird one. But it’s undeniable. I first got contacts as a freshman in high school and every check-up with the eye doctor since then, my prescription got a little stronger. Until I got Rolfed. Now, they downgrade my prescription with every check-up. At this rate, I won’t need glasses or contacts by the time I’m 45.
8. I have more confidence. I feel like getting Rolfed helped me understand who I am better. And helped me express that core, true self more clearly. With less apologizing, less accommodating of other people’s expectations for who I should be. I just am. This is me. And knowing, in a deep way, with a felt-sense, that who I am is just fine. Who I am is great, actually. I had no idea bodywork could bring me confidence. But it did. And with this confidence, I’ve been better able to navigate the world in a manner that’s congruent with my values. Having a better understanding of who I am helps me make choices that support me.
9. Along the same lines, I have better relationships. Maybe this is just a side-effect of getting older, and of having more practice at being in relationships, or of having more confidence. But I really think that Rolfing, in helping be have a better understanding of who I am, helped me relate to other people differently and in a clearer way. I think it has also helped me be a better communicator and if there’s one way to improve a relationship, it’s better communication.
10. I have a career. I was not supposed to have a career. I got bored after 6 months at any job I ever had. The longest I ever held a job continuously was 14 months. I just couldn’t imagine myself doing the same thing every day for 40 years. I couldn’t really imagine myself doing the same thing every day for 3 years. So a career was out of the question. Until Rolfing. Because with Rolfing, I never do the same thing every day. I’ve never done the same session twice. Even if I do the same session of the 10-series 4 times in one day, that session looks completely different with each client. So I don’t get bored. And I don’t even feel like I have a job. And please don’t ever make me retire. I love this work so, so, so much.

So there’s my list of 10 unexpected benefits of Rolfing. What about you all out there? Any surprise results since you’ve been Rolfed? I’d love to hear about them!

Session Ten! Of ten! We made it, you guys! This is it! The end of the 10-series! I don’t know why I always use so many exclamation points when talking about Session Ten. It just seems like such an accomplishment. To make it through the 10-series requires such commitment, so much perseverance, and so much vulnerability. It is such an honor to work with someone all the way through; I feel the desire to bow to each person who makes it this far. It’s a big undertaking. So nicely done, you, if you’ve made it this far. I’m proud of you.

Like I mentioned last time, Session Ten is not the time to start new projects. Session Ten is about closure. Dr. Ida Rolf said, “In the 10th hour we put bodies together. Putting together means relating imperfect segments so that they create a functional whole; not working for one hour to correct bad feet or bad whatever.” I like describing Session Ten as the session where we frost the cake. Hopefully, we’ve built a strong, stable, balanced foundation, and when we put on those final frosting touches with this session, everything will work beautifully together, and look pretty in the process. One of the goals of Session Ten is, no joke, “uniform brilliance.” Or maybe it’s “unicorn brilliance.” One of the two, for sure. (If I could make my clients into brilliant unicorns in 10-sessions, my phone would never stop ringing.) But for real, in Session Ten, we tie up any loose strings, smooth out any rough edges, and send you on your way. Or, said another way, we bring the body to the highest level of integration that it needs and can sustain for an extended period of time. And we say goodbye. After Session Ten, it is advised to take a break from Rolfing for three to six months to let the whole series settle out and integrate. After that, you’re free to never get another Rolfing session again, if you’d like. Or, you can go to a maintenance schedule of your choosing (I like once a month, but I’m pretty damn reliant on my body working well). Or you can just come in when something hurts for a little tune up. I love how self-directed Rolfing is.

Before my trade of Session Ten with Dave, I’d gone for a little backpacking trip (this was a while ago, obviously) and I was having a little neck and shoulder pain. I also had a little, strange soreness in my lower right ribs, even though I had no memory of an injury or impact there. I know my liver’s under there and it felt more related to anger than a physical problem. But all in all, I was feeling pretty good. I was curious to see what Dave would find. At the very start of the session, Dave lightly touched those lower right ribs and instantly, I felt my right side contract, as if to protect, from my hip to the top of my head. It felt heavy and uncomfortable, but after a minute or two, that feeling shifted and I felt much lighter. Things felt easier and I felt calmer. Sometimes a minute or two of discomfort is worth the relief it brings in the end. Through the whole session, it felt like Dave was working on an energetic and emotional level, more than a physical level. Afterwards, I felt whole. I hadn’t realized I felt less-than-whole before, but now that I had the sense of wholeness, I found it very comforting. I felt peaceful and relaxed and my breath felt full and steady. I always find it bittersweet to end the 10-series, because I love receiving Rolfing so much and never want it to stop, but I feel so good and complete I can’t imagine what we’d work on next time, if there was a Session Eleven. This time through the series, I think I felt a more profound sense of completion than any previous time. Maybe the third (and a half) time through the series is the charm. As they say.

There’s this concept that Session Ten should leave you feeling energized and whole because whatever work still needs to be done, your body will now be able to do on its own. Bodies are really good at healing, after all. Bodies want to be healthy and functional and efficient. It is always my goal and my hope that with each client I take through the 10-series, the work has given them a nudge and a poke in the direction of health and now their body will take that and run with it.