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In the last week I’ve gotten two very sweet texts from two very sweet women who have both gone through the 10-series with me in the past.  Both were saying ‘thank you’ for the experience because of the effect it had on their lives.  And so, I thought it might be time to once again rave about how awesome the 10-series is.

Luckily, I have a stockpile of before and after pictures from several clients I still haven’t shared with you.  So today, we’re going to talk about Dave and his experience with the 10-series.  When Dave came in, he’d been dealing with chronic back pain for about 10 years that had initially started with a football injury.  He also had occasional numbness and tingling in his leg and pain in his shoulders and arms.  While Dave is super active, the pain in his low back prevented him from moving with the ease and confidence he used to enjoy.  We went through the traditional Rolfing 10-series pretty quickly, averaging only 1-2 weeks between sessions.

Let’s take a look at Dave’s before and after pictures from the front and back, shall we?  (Before is on the left and after is on the right.)

Can we just start with Dave’s face for a second?  Because, seriously, his face just looks so drastically different in the two pictures.  The second one looks so open and clear and wide, if that makes any sense.  It’s almost as if in the first picture, his facial features are a little smushed together and in the second one, they’ve been set free.  Then we can move down to Dave’s neck, which seems to have lengthened by about an inch post-10-series.  Dave the Giraffe, we’ll have to call him now.  Then scan down to his shoulders, where Dave starts out with his left shoulder much higher than his right.  In the after picture, there’s still an imbalance, but it’s greatly reduced.  Next, check out that six-pack.  See how the right side and the left side of Dave’s six-pack don’t match?  We want them to match.  And while they’re not perfectly symmetrical, after 10 sessions, the horizontal lines are much closer to actually being horizontal than diagonal, don’t you think?  Lastly, let’s check out Dave’s feet, which are almost  pointing straight forward after the 10-series, instead of out to the sides a bit.  Yay!  In the pictures of Dave’s back, we can again see that long neck and those even shoulders.  Take a look at his shoulder blades.  In the first picture, his shoulders are rounding forward, making his shoulder blades flare out, like little wings.  But in the after picture, those shoulder blades can just lay flat on Dave’s back, giving him broader shoulders and more openness through his chest.  And check out the quality of Dave’s back as a whole, before and after.  Doesn’t the second one just look…better?  Smoother, straighter, and longer?  As we look at Dave’s legs we can see again that some of the outward rotation is gone, but also that Dave’s legs are more under him, not splayed out wide.  Just by changing his posture, Dave’s gotten taller.

Now let’s take a look at Dave’s profile to see if we notice any changes there.

Personally, I think this left profile of Dave’s shows the most dramatic changes.  Just look at him!  We’ve already talked about the face, neck, and shoulders and you can see all those changes here again.  But look at Dave’s low back in the first and second pictures.  See how he has that extreme curve in the first one?  See how long and tall he is in the second one?  Crazy!  And his chest over his abdomen looks so much more proportionate in the second (and fourth) pictures.  As we take a look at Dave’s legs, we can see that more length in his hamstrings allows even his legs to get longer and taller.

However, all of my excitement over Dave’s improved posture and structure is useless if Dave doesn’t feel any different himself.  So what did he have to say about his 10-series experience?  Here are just a couple phrases from a little exit interview we did:
“I would recommend it to anybody.”
“I don’t feel any pain.  Like, I don’t feel that constant, nagging, sharp pain every step, and every time I sit up, every time I sit down.”
“I used to only be able to use the elliptical at the gym…because it was easier on my back, easier on my knees.  Around the 4th or 5th session I was able to start running again, regularly.”
“It was just smooth, it was natural, there was no windedness, no tiring in any part of the body, it was just like a complete machine, working as it should.  It felt great.”
“Six months ago I was contemplating going to see an orthopedic surgeon because my back hurt so bad.  It was literally constant pain.  Sleeping, walking, sitting at my desk, anything, it hurt.”
“This past week at the gym I felt like Hercules, it was fantastic.”
“I feel fortunate to have been exposed to this, this early in my life.”
“I feel like I haven’t felt in ten years.”

So there you have it.  Two lovely women and one lovely Dave, all big fans of the 10-series.  And me, too.  I just keep coming back to how great it is.  That Ida knew what she was doing when she designed the thing, that’s for sure.

Hey there, SassyPants, I’ve got a question for you.  When you have an injury, or a painful spot on your body, how do you talk to it?  When you sprain your knee, does the conversation go a little something like this?  “Stupid freakin’ knee.  Always gotta be hurting and twisting all funny-like.  Why can’t you just work right like other people’s knees?  Why can’t you just do what you’re supposed to?  Man, how long are you going to take to heal?  Does this mean I can’t play basketball on Wednesday?  Great.  Thanks a lot, you stupid knee, you.”

Or does the conversation go more like this?  “Oh, hey knee.  Well, you certainly got my attention.  Is there something you need?  Something you’ve been trying to tell me lately, that I haven’t been listening to?  Do you just want some time off?  Take a little break?  That’s cool.  You got it.  I love you, knee.  Let me know if you want some ice or gentle stretching or anything, okay?  You’re awesome.  Thanks for everything you do for me.  I know we’ll get through this just fine.”

I know my first instinct is to go the first route and be angry when I get hurt, or when something hurts.  But I think it makes a difference when we go the second route and send love towards the pain instead.  I can’t prove that it speeds the healing up.  But I know that whatever you think about all day trains your brain to keep thinking about that same thing.  It’s like when hundreds of people take the same shortcut across the grass in the park and pretty soon there’s a path worn through it.  From then on, it’s easier to take that path than to cut a new one through the grass, so you probably walk the path.  Your brain works like that.

If you spend your day thinking “my knee is so stupid and weak,” then your brain starts to believe your knee is stupid and weak.  So your knee behaves as if it’s stupid and weak.  But if you spend your day thinking “my knee is so healthy and strong,” then your brain starts to believe your knee is healthy and strong.  So your knee behaves as if it’s healthy and strong.  I don’t know about you, but “healthy and strong” sounds better than “stupid and weak” to me.

Now, I try to send my injuries love instead of hate.  Compassion and patience instead of frustration and anger.  So, SassyPants, what’s ailing you these days?  Wanna try sending it some love?

Once upon a time I wrote an article about plantar fasciitisWhile I found it absolutely brilliant at the time, I have since realized it’s lacking in the practical application department.  Sure, you can get a great basic understanding of what plantar fasciitis is and why you might suffer from it.   And those things are very helpful and all well and good and a wonderful place to start.  In fact, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go here and read the article now, before you continue on with this little ditty.  But then what?  Yeah, it hurts.  No, I can’t run anymore.  Theresa, are you ever going to tell me what to do about it?

The thing is, since any number of things can cause plantar fasciitis, it’s awfully difficult to give generic advice about.  But I’m going to try.  ‘Cause I’m an overachiever.  So, first things first, we need to figure out where the root or roots of your particular plantar fasciitis may be hiding out.  Let’s start with the most obvious.  Have you injured your foot lately?  Stepped on a big pokey rock while barefoot?  Gone a bit overboard with the salsa dancing?  If so, it’s probably best to use the RICE method for a while.  Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation; just like you would for a sprained ankle.  And we all know that with ice we’re doing 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off, right?  After 20 minutes of icing something, you start to increase the inflammation, so don’t go pushing this, trying to be an overachiever, too.  After a week or so of the chowing down on your RICE, you can start pushing around in there to see if you’re ready for some soft tissue work.  If it’s still super sore to the touch, keep RICEing ’til it doesn’t.  If you can get a moderately deep foot massage without pain, you’re ready for deep work, if you need it.  If your pain’s gone completely, congrats! you just healed your own plantar fasciitis!  Otherwise, use a tennis ball, standing on it and rolling slowly, slowly over the owie spots to get them to loosen up.  You don’t want to bring back that inflammation, so be careful.

Now, let’s say you have not injured your foot, but you still have plantar fasciits.  This is where it gets tricky.  Naturally, we’re going to be looking along your back line for a super tight spot that could be causing your foot pain.  Starting with your heel and using your fingers (or someone else’s) or a tennis ball dig into your soft tissue (not the bones) slowly working your way up your calf.  Be careful as you get to the knee ’cause there’s a whole bunch of juicy, yet delicate stuff right there in the open at the back of the knee.  In fact, just don’t press into the back of the knee.  It’s not worth the risks.  Then head up your hamstrings, which could take a while as those are some meaty suckers.  Speaking of juicy meat, head north through your glutes, going slow and savory-like.  Next up, low back, heading up to mid, then upper back.  Again, you should be able to manage all this while lying on a tennis ball on the floor, but having a friend do the work for you is extra nice.  If you still haven’t found your “ouchy!” spot, head up (gently!) to the neck, then over the head, all the way to your eyebrows.  If you haven’t found any especially tight spots, you’ve got a catch-22 to deal with.  On the one hand, you’re the only person in the whole country who doesn’t have a single tight spot along their back line.  You should get a prize!  On the other, you still have no idea where your plantar fasciitis is coming from and you’re probably going to require some help from a professional.  Can’t win ‘em all, I suppose.

If, instead, you have found a tight spot, or six, you now know where to focus your efforts.   Loosen up that fascia, nice and slow and easy-like, using that same tennis ball if your hands get tired or you can’t quite reach.  Little bits at a time; like 5 or 10 minutes a day.  Max.  Again, I’m the only overachiever allowed here.  I don’t want you doing more damage than good.  Don’t go pretending you’re a Rolfer.  Besides, when Rolfers work on themselves they tend to get all messed up ’cause they don’t respect their own boundaries and stop when they should.  Better not to go there.  Trust me.

After a week or so working on your trouble areas, you should start to notice a shift in your plantar fasciitis pain.  If not, reevaluate.  Retest your back line and see if maybe your tight spots have moved.  If you feel like you need the help of a professional, give me a call.  You may also have some energetic blockages that need to be cleared and we’ll go into that next.  But if you’re noticing a difference in the right direction, keep up the good work!  Remember not to overdo it, but consistency can go a long way here.

Energetic gunk and plantar fascia.  I don’t have a logical explanation for this, but I do have a story.  My mom called me and told me she had plantar fasciitis and she needed me to fix it.  Lucky for her, I was flying into Chicago the next week and I could take a look.  We did a session.  All went well, but I couldn’t find any outstanding tightness in her back line that pointed to causing this foot pain.  So after the session had a day to settle out I asked how her foot was feeling and she said the pain was still there.  I was heading back to Denver that evening and didn’t have time for another session, nor did I think that would help.  Instead, I asked her to do some energy work on her heel, whenever she could.  I told her to pretend to draw the stuck energy out of the bottom of her heel, as if she were pulling yarn out of a ball.  Just an inch or two at a time, over and over again.  Maybe only 3 minutes at a time, but several times a day.  I told her to do it whenever she sat down.  So she did.  And 2 weeks later, she said it was completely gone.  That was in November and she hasn’t had any problems with it since.  So, hey, why not give it a try?  It’s free, it’s easy, and at least for one person, it worked.

Yes!  I did it!  Practical tips for dealing with plantar fasciitis!  Done.  Bam.  Oh, and one more.  Call your favorite local Rolfer, if you don’t seem to be making much progress on your own.  She might be able to help you out.

First, and foremost, I’ve decided on a name for the new service.  After many wonderful suggestions from the likes of you, as well as a fairly involved, slightly intoxicated debate with a bunch of people who had never been Rolfed, I’m happy to announcing the brand new Kick-Ass Rub!  Thanks for all of the suggestions, input, and slightly inappropriate comments (you know who you are).  I’m excited about the new session and now I’m excited about the name as well.  Yay!

Speaking of excitement, Demo Day is tomorrow.  Love those things.  If you have someone in your life who’s been wanting to check out this Rolfing/SourcePoint thing as well as this Theresa Zordan person, this is the way to go.  I still have a couple after-work appointments open, so have them give me a call (303-261-2568) or shoot me an email (t.zordan@gmail.com) to set up their 30 minute trial session for $10.

Okay, on to the learning bit.  Let’s talk about Left-Right Balance (and Imbalance).  I capitalized it to make it look important, but that’s just what I call it.  Ideally, your body has this whole communication thing going on between your right side and your left side.  Your two sides work together.  Sometimes they work a little too well together, such as when you hurt your left shoulder and a little while later your right shoulder starts hurting as well.  Really?  Come on.  Not cool, Body.  But what’s more common in my office is a complete breakdown of communication between the two sides of the body.  And I can spot it in the first 5 minutes of the first session.  Now I’m going to teach you how to spot it as well.

In the first 5 minutes of a session, I ask people for their body history.  Falls, accidents, surgeries, broken bones, problem areas, etc.  The conversation, when there’s a significant lack of communication between the left side and the right side of the body (and therefore the brain), goes a little something like this.

Me:  Which foot did you break?
Superstar Client:  My right one, when I was 7.
Me:  Oh, and your shoulder surgery in 2005, which shoulder was that?
SC:  My right shoulder.
Me:  Cool.  And you have carpal tunnel in both wrists?
SC:  No, just my right wrist.
Me:   Oh, and you have TMJ?
SC:  Yeah, my jaw pops on the right side.

You get the picture, right?

So, why does this sort of thing happen?  Well, we have a chicken and the egg sort of situation here, and I certainly can’t tell you which came first.  It’s possible that with the original injury to your right side, such as the broken foot when you were seven, you learned subconsciously, not to trust your right side.  And since then, you’ve been paying a little less attention to that right side of yours.  Therefore, you’re a little more accident prone on your right side.  And the next time you get a bump or a bruise on your right side, it just reinforces your belief that you can’t trust your right side.  So you put things you don’t like there, such as tension and stress and anger, all the while ignoring it a little more and a little more.  Poor right side.  It didn’t want to have a broken foot any more than you did, except for the cool cast for all your friends to sign.

The other option for how it all started is a bit more woo-woo and out there.  But you know me, I’m a bit out there (not to mention woo-woo), so this is the one I like more.  In this option, we look at why it was that you broke your right foot, and not your left, in the first place.  Which brings us to theories about what the right side of your body means, and what the left side of your body means.  Typically, the right side (of the body and left side of the brain) is associated with things like masculine energy, logical and rational thought, and generally a German way of operating (I’m German, I can say stuff like this).  Get stuff done.  Do step one, then step two, then step three.  Dominate.  Dictate.  On the other hand (literally, ha!) the left side of the body (and right side of the brain) is generally associated with feminine energy, intuition, creativity, listening, and an Italian way of operating (I’m Italian, I can say this too).  Go with your gut, listen to the universe, pay attention to signs and omens.  Dance, draw, light a candle not for light or warmth, but for the beauty of it.

With this second, woo-woo option the interpretation can be a bit messy.  For instance, are all of your injuries on the right side because you don’t trust the masculine forces in your life or in yourself?  Are you uncomfortable operating from a place of logic as opposed to intuition?  Or do you over-identify with the right side, relying on it too heavily, so that it can’t get the support it needs from the left?  Don’t look at me.  I don’t have any idea.  But chances are, you do.  And if you’re one of those people who suffers from Left-Right Imbalance (there, I did it again, doesn’t it look important?) maybe you could take a minute or two to think about your relationship with logic and intuition.  Masculine and feminine.  Talking versus listening.  ‘Cause the thing is you need both.  They were designed to work together.  That’s why you have two hands, two eyes, and two legs.  Just one would make things a little more difficult and a lot more unbalanced.  Just a thought.

Greetings from muggy Chicago!  I’m here in my hometown spending some time with family and seeing a few clients, but mostly just sweating, despite the fact that everyone here keeps telling me it’s “so much better than it was!”  My sister and her boyfriend are fitness nuts and just went for a bike ride and it got me to thinking about exercise.  Clients ask me all the time, what exercise do you do?  What’s the best exercise?

I think the best exercise is the exercise you enjoy doing.  Period.  Sure, swimming is low-impact, but I’m a sneezy mess for days after I spend time in the pool and chlorine dries my skin out.  I love weight training and it builds bone density, but a lot of people find it boring (not to mention the stench that fills most weight rooms).  There’s a pro and a con to every form of exercise out there.  But if you exercise, your body is better for it.  And if you enjoy the exercise you’re doing, you’re more likely to do it again.  So I say, do what you love and skip the stuff you dread.  If you like to run, then run.  If dancing is your thing, dance the night away.  Pump iron, play tennis, bike to work; whatever gets your blood pumping and your limbs moving.

If you’re trying to achieve a specific goal, such as bulking up, slimming down, or preventing osteoporosis, there are exercises that may suit your needs better than others.  And if you have questions about that stuff, feel free to ask, as I’d be happy to help find something that works for you.  But what I’m really good at is helping you do the things you love, only better.  I want you to exercise pain free (except for that good feel-the-burn pain).  I want you to exercise without injuring yourself and without imbalances that may lead to injury down the road.  And I want you to be the fastest, strongest, bendiest you can be.  So go out there and sweat and call me when you want to take your workout to the next level.