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Hey SassyPants,

I’ve been meaning to drop you a note about how awesome Katy Bowman is and how you should read her books and listen to her podcast and watch her videos and read her blog.  And that’s probably going to happen at some point, because Katy Bowman is my hero and she is, indeed, awesome and you should, indeed, do all those things.  But, this isn’t that note.

What I want to talk about today, is the Rolfing 10-series.  This is a weird one for me for many reasons.  While I love, love, love the 10-series, I don’t recommend the 10-series very often.  It’s such a big commitment.  I find the thought of committing to 10 whole sessions, right off the bat, to be intimidating to a lot of people.  I mean, we just met.  I’m not going to ask you to commit to spending 15 hours and $1,200 with me, right from the start.  Sometimes a client walks in already committed.  They want the 10-series.  They’ve watched my videos and read my blog posts; they feel like they already know enough about me.  They’ve researched the 10-series, or had a friend or relative go through it and it’s something they’ve wanted to do for a while.  They’re ready.  And good for them.  But that’s not average.  Most people come to me because something hurts and they’ve tried everything else and it hasn’t worked and finally they’re ready to give big, scary Rolfing a try.  So, no, I’m not going to tell those brave souls that they now need to commit to coming back 9 more times and undertaking this huge transformative journey.  Especially when it might not be right for them.

If you’re in agony, the 10-series is not for you.  The 10-series is for healthy people who want to be healthier.  It’s for people who feel good, but want to feel great.  If you have low-back pain that makes it so you can’t sleep, can’t sit without pain, can’t enjoy a meal, do you really want to wait until the 6th session before we work on your back?  ‘Cause that’s how the 10-series is set up.  If you put one to three weeks between sessions, we’re looking at 6 to 18 weeks before we directly address your back pain.  Sure, with the magic of fascia being everywhere and all connected, your back pain might go away after we address your breath in session one.  Or maybe after we address your feet and lower legs in session two.  But maybe not.  Remember, most of my clients are coming to me after they’ve been in pain for a long time, and have tried a lot of other things that haven’t worked.  The last thing I’m going to tell them is to give me a month or three to see if maybe I can help.

But I do love, love, love the 10-series.  So, when a client is ready for it, I get excited.  And the other day, when my Rolfer friend, Dave sent me this text, “Want to trade a ten series?” I got pretty excited, and “yes!” was the only response available to me.  I’ve been through the process of receiving the 10-series 2 1/2 times before, but it’s been 4 1/2 years since that last half a time through.  And, this may sound odd, but I’ve never actually received the 10-series from a Certified Rolfer™.  What?!  I know!!  My first introduction to Rolfing, and trip through the 10-series was as a model for a student in a class of soon-to-be Rolfers.  And my second trip through was in my own class, halfway through my training, when all of us students did the 10-series on each other.  My 1/2 journey through the series was when a similar class had a student drop out in the middle and since they were all working on each other, they needed someone to step in and take his spot.  I was that person.  So, all of my Rolfers in my experience of the 10-series, have been students.  When I realized a few days ago that I was about to get my first 10-series from a Certified Rolfer, and a very experienced, skilled Rolfer, who does SourcePoint, at that, I almost started wagging my tail I was so pumped.  (I don’t actually have a tail, but I often wish I did.)

For those of you who haven’t researched the 10-series extensively, or who haven’t already been through it, the 10-series is basically one really big, full-body session broken down into 10 pieces, because 10-15 hours of bodywork in one day is too much for anyone to receive, as well as too much for one bodyworker to give.  It’s broken up into three segments.  Sessions 1-3 are called the superficial, or sleeve sessions, with the structural goal of opening the outer layer of the body, to prepare it for the deeper work to come.  Sessions 4-7 are called the deep or core sessions, and they work with (surprise!) deep or core structures that aren’t often addressed in a typical massage.  And sessions 8-10 are the integrative sessions where we focus on finding the highest possible level of organization, connection, and communication throughout the body.  Each session has goals of its own, both structural and energetic in nature.  And each Rolfer and client can have specific goals for the series as a whole.  When Dave asked me what my goals for the series were, I’ll admit, I didn’t have a great answer.  My goals are kinda vague and nebulous.  I mean, I’ve already had a lot of Rolfing.  Even if I haven’t been through the 10-series in a while, Dave and I have been trading a session every month or two for about 5 years now.  And I’m a Rolfer.  I do a fair amount of self-care as I need it.  I stretch while waiting for clients to show up.  I’m mindful of my posture and my habits.  But at the same time, I haven’t had dedicated, focused, regular bodywork in a long time.  Since my last 10-series, I’ve gone from never running to being an ultra runner.  I got really into yoga, doing 3-6 classes a week, and then stopped doing yoga altogether.  I’ve taken up (and put back down) climbing.  I met and married my husband.  I’ve moved a few times.  I’ve made friends and lost friends.  I got a pull-up bar.  You know, things change.  And there are a lot of little things that bug me regularly.  My right foot turns out to the side a bit.  My left hip aches now and again.  My shoulders round forward more than I’d like.  And every now and again I have a rib go out of place for a few days.  So, I’d like to address all of those, if we can.  It just feels like I could use a full-body tune up.  Which, the 10-series is great for.  Also, enlightenment.  I’d like to achieve enlightenment.  The 10-series can do that, right?

So, I’m starting the 10-series and I’m going to try to write about it as I go.  Both from the perspective of a Rolfer, knowing the objectives of each session and all the nerdy behind-the-scenes goodness, and from the perspective of a client, receiving the sessions in an attempt at greater health.  I hope it’s interesting or helpful or entertaining.  (Also, if you’ve been thinking about doing a 10-series yourself, this might be a great time to try it, as I’ll be digging through all my notes and whatnot from classes that I may not have looked at in, oh, 5 or 6 years.  Good stuff.)  Let the journey begin!

If you’ve heard of Rolfing, you’ve probably heard two things: it hurts, and you have to do 10 sessions.  If you’re a client of mine, you already know that neither is necessarily true.  Rolfing can hurt, and you can do the 10-series, but neither are required.  I’ve talked quite a bit about pain, and how Rolfing doesn’t have to hurt, but I haven’t said much about the traditional Rolfing 10-series.  So what is this mysterious beast?  Let’s get into it.

Strangely enough, the 10-series is a set of 10 sessions, each with a specific goal.  (Weird that it’d be called the 10-series, I know.)  It’s also known as ‘the recipe’ and it was created by Ida Rolf herself, back in the 60′s.  See, Ida had this magical ability to look at a person and see where all the issues started.  She could watch someone walk, then say, okay, I’m going to start with their right shoulder, then go to their left knee, work a little on their tongue, and finish with their lower abdomen.  And the client would get up off the table and look great; their walk would be effortless.  When it came to teaching her students to see like she did, however, she ran into a bit of a problem: not everyone had this gift.  In fact, most people just couldn’t see the way she could, at least, not without several years of practice.  So, she developed the 10-series as a step-by-step way to go through the entire body.  This way, everything would get addressed and her students could be sure they hadn’t missed anything.

And what a beautiful recipe it is.  The first three sessions are called the ‘sleeve’ sessions and work with the surface, or outer layers of the body.  The next four are the ‘core’ sessions and get deep into the juicy bits.  The last three are the cleanup crew and the integration where we pick up any pieces that we missed and tie it all together.  Also, the sessions alternate between upper and lower body, so your whole being is moving forward together.

Unfortunately, the 10-series isn’t for everyone.  Don’t get me wrong; I think everyone can benefit from receiving a 10-series.  But it was designed for healthy people as a full body tune-up.  If you’re dealing with a serious leg injury, you might get frustrated when I spend 5 sessions nowhere near your legs.  It’s a very general recipe, which I do my best to tailor to each client’s needs, but if you have a major issue going on, it might be best to address that first, then go ahead with the 10-series.  Also, once you start a 10-series it’s very important to finish.  It’s a pretty big commitment and not for the faint of heart.

All in all, though, I LOVE the 10-series.  As part of my training, I’ve gone through the whole thing twice, which is not something that’s generally recommended, unless you’ve had 10 years or so in between (I had about 10 months).  I experienced huge, amazing, life-shifting changes with each journey through.  And a 10-series was my introduction to Rolfing, which obviously sold me on the whole experience.  So if your body feels good, but you want it to feel so much better, think about trying a 10-series.  I’d be happy to answer any other questions you might have about it, before you make that leap and jump into this wild ride of healing.