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Monthly Archives: January 2012

This subject has come up 4 different times, with 4 different people in the last week.  So I figured now was as good a time as any to drag it out into the light. The conversation goes something like this:  “I’m fine with the Rolfing.  I just don’t believe in the energy work.”  Or, more directly, “So, you’re a witch doctor.”  And my favorite, “Weird.  You went directly to where it hurts and I didn’t even tell you.”

And can I just begin with this:  I know it’s weird.  I think it’s weird, too.  It’s just that I happen to like weird stuff.  I was first exposed to SourcePoint Therapy by my hero, my mentor, my greatest instructor at the Rolf Institute, Ray McCall.  And watching him work was amazing, in that we, as students, never had any idea how he knew what he knew.  But when the client got off the table, the results were undeniable.  They looked lighter, freer, easier, and about a foot taller.  It was so weird, and so maddening, because we had no idea how to recreate it in our own clients.  My classmate, Laura, and I commonly remarked that we just knew he had a magic wand somewhere, maybe up his sleeve, or under the table or something, and if only we could get our hands on magic wands of our own, we could be amazing Rolfers, too.

The thing is, it wasn’t too long ago that I thought energy work was for whack jobs.  I used to roll my eyes and nod condescendingly when people talked about moving qi and seeing auras and whatnot.  So if you’re there now, I’m fine with that.  I get it.  I wanted something “real;” something I could touch with my hands.  But now, I can feel energy, and touch it with my hands.  I know it’s real, even if nobody else believes me.  Call it intuition combined with self-esteem.  Call it the placebo effect.  Call it crazy.  It doesn’t matter to me.  This is the way I work.  This is what makes sense for me.  If it bothers you, or offends your sensibilities, or you think I’m wasting your time waving my hands in the air, then you probably shouldn’t be my client.  I’d be happy to refer you to a Rolfer where there will be absolutely no energy work or magic wand waving involved.

But when I get a session that includes energy work, it’s a much more holistic session, than one without.  Yes, we’re working on my back pain and that weird thing my knee does, but we’re also working on the bad ju-ju that’s stuck in my knee contributing to why I keep injuring it.  Which is why I signed up for a SourcePoint class ten days after I graduated as a Rolfer and have been incorporating it in my work ever since.  I called Laura after that class ended and said, “I feel like I got my own magic wand!”  She knew what I was talking about.  Now, when I’m working, I trust the information I receive from the energetic field.  More often than not, it makes for happy, pain-free clients, and that’s what I’m after.  Without SourcePoint, I’d be doing the 10-series, and pretty much only the 10-series.  Despite my love of the 10-series, it’s not for everyone.  Besides, I think the world could use a little more magic, in every aspect of life, so why not have a little more magic in our healing?  So go ahead, call me a witch doctor.  I’ll take it as a compliment.

Hey there!  Today we’re talking about the weirdest thing Rolfers do, which is saying a lot, considering just how weird Rolfers are.  And that strange thing is nose work, or intranasal work.  Traditionally, this is done in the 7th hour of the 10-series, along with some work inside the mouth.

First, let’s talk a bit about the 7th session.  This session is devoted to the “upper pole” or the top of the thorax, the neck, and the head.  The goal is to create space front to back, differentiating the visceral cranium, or the face and the associated tongue, throat, and viscera (guts), from the neural cranium, or the back of the skull and the associated brain and spine.  This session is the last of the four “core sessions” before we move on to the “integration sessions” of 8, 9, and 10.  And since it’s the last core session, we Rolfers decided to go out with a bang and stick our pinky fingers into our clients’ noses.

We wear gloves for this, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t really make it any less strange.  While the mouth work is odd, we’ve all been to the dentist and are somewhat familiar with having someone else’s fingers inside our mouths.  Nose work, on the other hand…  What can I say?  It’s just plain weird.

Also, in my opinion (again, I’m a Rolfer), it’s totally awesome.  I love receiving nose work.  It makes my head feel spacious and open.  It feels like my sinuses are cleared out afterwards.  I feel like my peripheral vision has just been polished and shined and I can see twice as much.  I can breathe easier.  In fact, I want some nose work right now.  Too bad the dog isn’t a Rolfer.  But I digress.

Mouth and nose work can also be emotionally intense.  Our face is where we express to the world all of our emotions.  Sadness, grief, anger, joy, excitement, fear, nervousness, regret, apathy, frustration, and the like all come out, hopefully, through our face.  Every issue we have around eating, or not eating, starts here, at the mouth.  The throat chakra is smack in between the heart chakra and the third eye, or the head chakra.  It’s where your will rests, and until you can get your head and your heart to agree, your will is going to have a hard time making itself known.

It’s not all emotional roller coasters and sinus clearing, though.  Intranasal work can be super helpful for people suffering from chronic headaches and migraines.  The intraoral (mouth) work can be great for TMJ sufferers.  And since you already know, as an A+ Rolfing client, that everything in the body is connected via the fascia, you also know that work in the cranium can affect everything else in the body, all the way down to the bottoms of your feet.  Which is pretty crazy.  But not as crazy as having someone else stick their fingers in your nose.

First of all, thank you.  Demo Day on Sunday was a blast, as usual.  Thank you for coming, for sending your friends and family members, for making it a great time overall.  Secondly, the next Demo Day will be Wednesday, February 15th in Denver.  AND, Big News!  I’ll be doing a Demo Day in Lafayette next month as well.  So, Lafayette’s Demo Day will be on Tuesday, the 14th; yes, it’s Valentine’s Day, because I love my Lafayette clients so much.

Now, onto our topic of the day:  sadness.  Yesterday was a sad day for me.  Not death in the family sad, but sad nonetheless.  And I was telling my friend Carl about it and I said, “you know, I’ve had two weeks of awesome, happy days; I was due for a sad one.”  But the truth is, it still sucked.  Later, I was talking to my friend Gwen and wondering aloud what I’d write this week’s blog post about; she suggested sadness; I agreed.  So here we are.

I’ve been wondering lately, why it is that the ‘negative’ emotions tend to get stuck in the body, while the ‘positive’ ones run their course and go on their merry way.  I put negative and positive in quotes ’cause I don’t really believe that there are negative or positive emotions.  There just seem to be emotions that we like and really enjoy experiencing, like giddiness and excitement and joy and then there are all the others.  But every emotion serves it’s purpose and anger and grief certainly aren’t ‘bad’ emotions.  Anyway, what I came up with was this:  it’s much more acceptable in our culture to express a positive emotion, than a negative one.  And there are exceptions to this, of course, but generally speaking, it’s more comfortable for other people to witness our joy than our sadness.  It’s easier for other people to be around our enthusiasm than our anger.  Think about it:  if you’re sitting on the bus and you see someone giggling for no apparent reason, how does that make you feel?  And if you see someone crying, how does that make you feel?  Which would you rather feel?  Since we’re social creatures who like to keep our friends around, we are sensitive to these things and take them into consideration.  So, when we’re feeling particularly happy, we’re likely to tell everyone about it.  And when we’re feeling awful, we tend to tell a couple of close friends, if we tell anyone at all.  And the rest of that emotion gets pushed down into our bodies and stored instead of expressed.  Now, it’s just a theory, but it makes sense to me, and I’m going with it.

Emotions aren’t just thoughts, though.  We call them ‘feelings’ for a reason:  we feel them, in our bodies.  And just like an amoeba, we react, physically, to what we feel.  We’ve all experienced heart ache, and it literally feels like somebody punched you in the heart, right?  Your heart aches.  We talk about things being gut wrenching, and where do we feel that?  In our guts.  Butterflies in our stomachs.  The list of overused expressions goes on and on and they’re clichéd because they’re true for everyone.  As painful as it is to fully feel into our emotions, it’s really important, too.

So yesterday, when I was feeling sad and my heart was hurting, I tried, for the first time in my life, to feel into the sadness, instead of distracting myself from it.  I asked myself, “what does this sadness feel like, in my body?”  I tried not to get caught up in the story in my head about why I was sad.  I already knew all the details; I could review them ad nauseam.  But as I sat there, with my heart hurting, I tried to pay attention to what else I was feeling in my body.  I felt the urge to curl up around my heart, to protect it from further pain.  I felt the center of the pain to be in my chest, but that there were fingers of hurt wiggling out from there in all directions:  down to my pelvis, up to my head, out to the edges of my rib cage.   And sometimes, I felt the urge to move with the sadness, rocking and stretching, curling and unfolding.  The hurt felt like constriction, like a tightness, and a little like muscle soreness after a good workout.  Yes, it was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t going to kill me.

And you know what?  Today I don’t feel as sad.  The story about why I was sad is still there and still true.  And my heart still hurts.  But I feel better today.  My thoughts are more along the lines of “Yeah, that was sad.  Now what?”  as opposed to “Oh my god, I’m so sad, I don’t know how I’m going to get through this day.”  It’s easy to feel all high and mighty, like I’ve finally figured out the trick to dealing with my emotions.  But I know the truth of it is I’ll have plenty of uncomfortable emotional experiences in my life that I will avoid and ignore and hang onto way longer than I need to.  It’s just good to know there’s another option out there.

It’s also good to have had a physical experience of what I might ask you to do, on the table.  It’s common for me to stumble upon an area of the body where there seems to be a strong emotion stuck.  Anger loves to live in the liver.  Grief prefers the heart and the diaphragm.  Feelings of betrayal adore the throat and the back (like a knife in the back).  And I won’t even get into all the emotions that seem to get stuck in women’s uteruses (uteri?  I don’t know).  When I come upon these blockages, I often ask my clients to experience the emotion.  To feel into it.  To allow it to move through their bodies, even if it’s painful.  I know I’m asking a lot.  But the alternative is to hang onto that emotion indefinitely, and that takes a lot of energy.  Energy that could be used for other things, like experiencing joy, or running an extra quarter mile, or writing a beautiful poem.  And in the long run, which would you rather?

You know the drill, but I’ll remind you just in case. This Sunday, the 15th, is the next Demo Day.  Demo Day is when newbies to the Rolfing world, or the SourcePoint world, or just to the Theresa Zordan world can try it all out.  30 minute trial sessions for $10.  Simple.  Straightforward.  And a super-duper good deal.

Got a friend, a lover, a neighbor, a parent, or a child who you think could benefit from giving this wacky thing a try?  This is the way for them to do it without that big scary commitment of a full priced, full length session.  It’s perfect for the skeptics.  It’s great for the ones who are convinced it’s going to hurt.  It’s best for the people who keep saying, “someday I’d like to try that.”

So have those people hit me up.  Show ‘em this post, or just tell them about it next time you see them.  Then, have them give me a call at 303-261-2568 or shoot me an email at t.zordan@gmail.com and we’ll get it set up.  This Sunday, the 15th, from 11:30am to 5pm.  I’ll see them then, and you’ll have so much more to talk about over coffee!

Happy New Year to you, sassy pants! I hope you had a super rad and super safe New Year’s Eve!  Now, let’s get down to business.  Your back (or your shoulder, or your neck) hurts.  You tell someone.  They tell you to “strengthen your core.”  You do a bunch of situps.  Your pain doesn’t go away, even with your rockin’ six-pack.  What the…?  The thing is, your abdominal wall muscles aren’t your true core.  And until you actually learn not only to strengthen, but also to lengthen and to use your core, that back pain’s not going anywhere.

Wanna know what really is a core muscle?  Of course you do, so I’ll tell you.  Obviously, there are lots of core muscles, from the tiny ones in between each and every vertebra to big ones like the quadratus lumborum and the diaphragm.  But today we’re going to talk about my favorite of all the muscles and a beautiful example of a core muscle, the psoas.  When I first learned about the psoas, I thought it was spelled “soaz” ’cause that’s how it sounds, but I was wrong (for the first time ever!).  Now, right hereThe psoas and its buddy, illiacus, you’ll see a lovely diagram of the psoas muscle (both of them, actually), along with its best buddy illiacus.  The psoas muscles are that gorgeous pair running pretty much vertically along the spine, through the pelvis, and down to the top of the femur.

When people talk about hip flexors, they’re usually talking about the psoas.  Your psoas is your primary hip flexor, meaning it’s the biggest, strongest muscle that helps you lift your leg out in front of you like you might if you wanted to go up a step (or raise your torso up, if you’re hanging upside-down on the monkey bars).  But there’s a lot more to the psoas.  As you can see from our lovely diagram, the psoas attaches to the front of the spine all the way up to where the ribs come into the picture.  Now, if the front of the spine isn’t ‘core,’ then I don’t know what is!

Take a minute and put your hands on your low back.  Now, while you’re there, dig your fingers in a bit.  Feel all those big juicy muscles?  Can you feel all the way around your vertebrae to touch the front of your spine?  Of course you can’t!  There’s just too much muscle back there!  And you know who’s job it is to balance all that super thick muscle in the back of your spine?  The psoas, that’s who.  Told you it was a bad-ass muscle.  And if that psoas is overly loose, or just asleep at the wheel, it will struggle to balance out those super strong back muscles, leaving you with something we all know as ‘low-back pain.’  If, on the other hand, your psoas muscles are overly tight, they can prevent you from a full extension when you walk, leaving you hunched and suffering from something we all know as ‘mid-back pain’ or even ‘upper-back pain.’  That’s right, the psoas is a Big Deal.  Which is why people talk about strengthening your core to make your back pain go away.

Howevah, isolating your psoas can be really tricky, especially at first.  I didn’t even know I had one (let alone two) before my fifth Rolfing session!  And while I’d love to give directions right here, right now, I kinda have to stick my fingers into your abdomen to show you how to feel your psoas.  So if you want to get more familiar with your psoas; perhaps even fall in love with it, like I did, let me know during your next session.  There are lots of cool little exercises I can teach you to help isolate, lengthen, and strengthen your psoas to keep it happy and juicy and to keep you out of pain.

 

P.S.  The next Demo Day is Sunday, January 15th; just around the corner!  30 minute trial sessions for $10 all day.  Call or email me to schedule yours!