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Alright.  We’re going to streamline this and I’m going to talk about Sessions Eight and Nine at the same time.  Laziness and efficiency are super closely related.  Trust me on this one.

So, with the start of Session Eight, we are officially finished with the core sessions and into the integration sessions.  And, as my hero Rolfer, Ray McCall says, “With Session Eight, the trail thins out a bit.” In Sessions One through Seven, there’s a clearly defined ‘territory’ of the body we’re working with.  There are clearly defined goals.  With Sessions Eight and Nine, there’s a lot more that depends on each individual’s circumstances, so these sessions are very customized.  Basically, we’re trying to differentiate anything that has not yet been differentiated in the previous seven sessions.  And integrate all these new changes so that they’re comfortable and easy for your body to use.  As it’s taught to newbie Rolfers, there’s usually an upper body session and a lower body session.  But it can be two middles.  It can be a left side and a right side.  It can be a right lower and a left middle.  And as Ray also likes to say, “You get to vote, but I get to decide.”  Not to remind you of our current political situation or anything.  So, this is when I really, really want to know what you think is still missing.  What still needs attention?  Was there a session you felt ended way too soon?  What area of your body still feels neglected or stuck?  I’m going to make the final decision about what needs work, and in what order, but I really do want to know what you’re missing because these two sessions are our last chance before the end of the series.  Session Ten is not for new projects.

Because Sessions Eight and Nine don’t have well defined territories or goals beyond differentiation and integration, they’re a little tricky to talk about.  But basically, I just want to see all the parts of your whole body working well together.  I want your core to be able to express through your sleeve without restriction or distortion.  I might ask you to walk or do some other diagnostic tests to see what looks restricted or where movement has to go around instead of through.  There are some really funky positions I might put you in during these sessions, too, trying to link everything up.  These are not your standard “face up” or “face down” positions, but rather “while on your stomach, turn your head to the right, raise your right arm up by your head, bring your left arm down by your side, turn your hips so that your left hip is on the table, while your right hip is stacked above it, bring your left knee up towards your chest and straighten your right leg a little behind your (quite twisted by now) midline.”  Go ahead and try it.  I’ll wait.  It’s easier with help from your Rolfer, but it’s always a little awkward.

When it was time for Dave and me to trade Session Eight, I was ready for some body work.  Before Session Eight, I had fallen twice while running and my left shoulder was bothering me.  Dave started working on that left shoulder and I got all emotional, which was surprising but not uncomfortable.  It passed fairly quickly.  After the session, I felt relaxed and open.  My upper body felt spacious, my shoulders were back without any effort, my head was upright, and for some reason it felt like there was more space between my teeth.  I haven’t had any shoulder pain since, so I’d call that a win.

When we traded Session Nine, I actually wasn’t desperate for bodywork.  I felt really good walking into the session, with nothing calling for attention, so I guess I was almost ready to be done with the series.  Since I wasn’t in any physical discomfort, and things felt like they were moving well together, Dave was free to do a very energetic session, just using SourcePoint Therapy and his intuition to guide him.  Over and over again, I felt big waves of tension being released that I hadn’t known were there.  Big breaths, neck stretching, and hip wiggling were my contribution to the work.  Afterwards, I felt like popped popcorn: expanded in every direction.  I felt light and calm and easy like no problem was too big or heavy or serious.  I felt like my emotions could just flow through me instead of getting stuck and spinning around.  So basically, no complaints.

Sessions Eight and Nine are where the art of Rolfing comes into play.  We get to leave the formulas behind and play with the beauty of the body.  It’s a magical part of the series, even if it’s a little hard to talk about.

I get this question all the time.  And the thing is, it depends on you.  That’s the beauty of this whole Rolfing thing; it’s customized to you, special one.

First, listen to your body.  Your bod’s been taking care of you as best it can for as long as you’ve been alive.  So pay attention to what it has to say.  If you’re feeling off balance, ungrounded, or just a little wonky, it’s probably time for a tune up.  If you’re in pain, your body is sending you a very clear signal that it needs something.  Maybe a glass of water and a snack is in order, maybe a trip to your local ER, or maybe a trip to your favorite Rolfer’s office.  If you really listen to your body, I bet you’ll know what to do.

When in doubt, ask for advice.  If you’re still not sure, give me a call and ask what I think.  I’m not going to tell you to get Rolfed if I don’t think it will help.  Promise.

Are there general guidelines?
Don’t get too much bodywork at once.  I rarely recommend more than one Rolfing session per week.  Don’t try to be an overachiever and get a session every other day; you’ll probably do more damage than good.  This goes for other types of bodywork as well.  If you’re doing physical therapy twice a week, a massage once a week, and three chiropractic adjustments each week, along with acupuncture and Rolfing, it’s hard to tell what’s working and what’s not.  Also, your body never has time to integrate what’s going on and won’t be able to send you clear signals about what it needs next.

Don’t expect a big issue to be resolved in one session.  If you’ve had scoliosis for 20 years and haven’t done anything about it, don’t expect to be pain free after your first Rolfing session.  Big stuff like herniated discs, reconstructive surgery, and major car accidents generally take five to ten sessions to resolve while a strained psoas may only take one or two.  Have realistic expectations and make the commitment to your health and well being.

Maintenance is just as good for your body as it is for your car.  Life happens and it affects your body, like it or not.  For someone training for a marathon or pregnant, maintenance sessions should be every two to four weeks.  I like to get a session ever six weeks or so, and I’ve got a pretty physical job.  Some people are on the “call me when it hurts” maintenance plan and that’s fine.  Just keep in mind that maintenance is what happens AFTER we’ve gotten to a place of balance and ease; not what happens immediately after that skiing accident.