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Hey Sassy Pants, happy Tuesday!  Yoga Instructor Appreciation Week starts on Thursday and I’m totally pumped!  It’s filling up quickly (only 8 spots left out of 30 available openings!) and I’m so grateful to you for all your help in spreading the word to the yoga teachers in your life.  I couldn’t have done it without you!

Now, let’s get down to it.  This issue seems to keep coming up lately, so I thought I’d address it here, out in the open.  What happens after a Rolfing session?  What should you expect?  I know we talked a little bit about this after your first session.  You may have gotten an email with lots of details, depending on when you started working with me.  But let’s just go over it all again, ‘cause some weird shit can happen after you get Rolfed, I’m not gonna lie.

First, let’s cover the basics.
-You might be very thirsty.  We are trying to make your tissues extra juicy, afterall.  I know it’s hard to believe, but you should drink some water if this happens.  Weird, right?
-You might crave protein.  Fascia is a protein matrix and as we move it around, you might need some extra oomph to fill in the gaps.  If this happens, you should eat some steak or beans.  This stuff is so complicated, I know.
-You might want to sleep for 12 hours straight.  You should follow this impulse.  I’m not sure why this happens, but I have two theories.  One, your nervous system is finally coming out of its perpetual ‘fight or flight’ state and would now like to take some time off.  Two, your body would like to integrate some pretty major changes and would like your logical brain out of the way because it keeps interrupting with things like, “That doesn’t make any sense!  Your head can’t feel different; she only worked on your feet!”  So your body says to your brain, “sssshhhhh…why don’t you take a nap…a really long nap?”  Either way, if you’re tired; sleep.
-You might be sore, like you would be after a good, hard workout.  Arnica, an epsom salt bath, lots of water, and rest are all good ideas.
-You might notice your balance and perception have changed.  You might be standing differently on your feet or holding your head in a different place.  Hooray!  Just be careful as you begin to do things like operate a car or workout.  You might want to lay off the gym for 24-48 hours after your session, just to be safe.
-That thing that always hurts?  It doesn’t hurt anymore.  I think I’m legally bound to say that the relief of symptoms is NOT one of the goals of Rolfing.  But let’s be honest, I’m not going to complain if your pain goes away, and neither are you.

Let’s get a little weirder, shall we?  These things are a little less common, but by no means unique.
-You might feel a little dizziness or light-headedness.  Please tell me about this before you leave the room.  We can work on that.  I don’t want you falling down the stairs.
-You might have small, sharp pains in different places in your body.  This is what happens when sheets of fascia shear away from each other because your body is changing its posture.  This is a good thing, as fascia shouldn’t be glued together, it should glide.  When this happens, it feels a little like a bandaid’s being ripped off, on the inside.  It shouldn’t last more than a second or two and should fade over the next 48 hours.
-You might feel like you’re gliding, instead of walking.  That’s awesome.  Work it.
-You might feel taller, or more expansive, like you’re taking up all the space in your body.  Words don’t do justice to this feeling, but it’s amazing, so if you’ve got it, live it up.
-You may feel a bit drunk or stoned.  Yes, that’s normal.  Again, be careful if you’re going to drive.  Or send texts to your exes.
-You may feel stronger or easier, if that makes any sense.  I have often finished getting a session and thought, I could walk all day!  I feel invincible!  I hope you sometimes experience that, too.
-You might experience an emotional roller coaster.  Usually, there are issues in the tissues.  And when we go stirring up the tissues, we stir up the issues.  Waves of whatever you don’t need anymore can hit you on their way out.  If you need to cry, then by all means, cry.  Pop in The Color Purple if you need a little help getting started.
-My mom says she feels all rolled out, like with a rolling pin.  Or spread out, like pancake batter.  Maybe you’ll feel this, too.  Maybe my mom’s just got food on the brain.
-You might be more flexible.  That yoga pose you always struggle with is suddenly a breeze.  You can touch your toes for the first time in years.  We’re trying to increase the length in your body, so this just means we’ve done a good job during your session.  Yay!

On to the extra odd.  Yes, indeedy, this Rolfing business is a strange one.
-You may notice that your dreams shift in quality as you do a series of Rolfing sessions.  Ida Rolf, when pressed, once said that Rolfing was really shamanism, but what did she know?  You may have more of a “journey-like” quality to your dreams for a period of time.  Keeping a dream journal could be an interesting experience, if you’re up for it.
-If you’ve had a particularly intense session, you may experience some out-of-body time, as disassociation can be a way to take a time-out from what’s happening.  Again, tell me about this before you leave, please.  This doesn’t make for safe operation of heavy machinery.

That’s all I can think of right now, but I’m sure I’ve missed a few.  Have you experienced some Rolfing aftermath that should be on the list?  Could you please remind me?  Or, do you have a crazy story about experiencing any of the above?  I’d love to hear about it!  Feel free to shoot me an email, or post it right here by leaving a comment.

And if you experience anything out of the ordinary that’s NOT on this list, please, please, please tell me about it.  I do free touch-up sessions if something’s just not integrating quite right.  As usual, thanks for reading.  Until next time, much love!

8 Comments

  1. Thank you for this post. I just had my 4th rolfing session (the first really in depth one) and I was starving and extremely thirsty afterward. I am now at CPK drinking green tea trying to focus enough to drive. I want to go to sleep. I have to say, at one point a few years ago I had a very spiritual event that left me in ecstasy for a few days and this feels like that. Someone told me about kundalini afterwards. Either it is that or toxins. Ha ha, don’t know. All I do know is that I should not get in my car. I am also planning on attending the school in Boulder so all the small details are important to me. So thanks. Please excuse typos.

  2. It is normal to feel bloated? I feel like my lymph system has swelled up, but in different spots. My knees got worked on and now my thighs feel puffy and so does my stomach?

    • I wouldn’t say it’s ‘normal,’ but it doesn’t sound out of the realm of possibility, either. Your lymph can definitely get stirred up in the process, just like with a massage. Drinking lots of water and doing some gentle movements, like walking or swimming, can often help ‘flush’ the system.

  3. After my third Rolfing session I felt light headed. Not dizzy but a high feeling and really did not want to drive home. It seemed to last into the next day, though not as intense. The Rolfer worked on my feet and am wondering if it was toxins released. I have bunions from the way I walk and foot pain. Holding my breath for the 4th session.

    • I’ve had many Rolfing sessions where I’ve felt lightheaded afterwards, so I know what you mean! I’ve learned different tricks for grounding myself, for when it happens, and I do need to drive. (I’ve pulled over after a few blocks, as well, when I realized I was being unsafe.) Sometimes, just going for a walk can help, especially if I take my shoes off and let my feet really connect to the ground. I’ve also found food to be a helpful grounding tool, especially hearty, ground-related foods. Root vegetables, meat, breads, soups and stews all seem to work better than salads or fruit. But if you’re feeling spacey or high in an unsafe way, be sure to let your Rolfer know before you leave their studio. Usually they can help get you a little more connected if they know that’s what you need!

  4. I’ve always heard that, after a massage or any body work, we should drink large amounts of water to flush out “the toxins”. Now I truly believe it! After my very first Rolfing session I felt poisoned for about 36 hours. I don’t know what that was, but I’m glad that it’s over. Subsequent Rolfing sessions did not have the same after effect, but I definitely categorize this as weird.

  5. I’d it normal to bruise? I have severe bruising on the side of my rib cage. And feel swelled up and tight. Should I use heat or ice?

    • Bruising isn’t what I would call abnormal, but you should mention it to your Rolfer. They might want to adjust their technique or pressure a little. Swelling is also pretty normal. You can use ice or heat, depending on your preference. And gentle movement can be helpful as well. Don’t forget to drink some extra water!


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