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I get the same question all the time.  And it’s about time I just laid it out for you, Sassy Pants, plain and simple, once and for all.  The question is not, “How do you do that magic that you do!?” or “How did you get into Rolfing in the first place?” although that’s a common one.  Maybe next week’s post can get into that.  Unfortunately for both you and me, the most common question is not “Can I schedule ten more sessions right now?”  Wanna know what the most popular question of all time (in my practice) is?  Well, of course you do, so here it is:  Does anybody ever fall asleep during a session?

And the answer, of course, is yes.  Yes; a million times over, yes.  People fall asleep during sessions all the time and it’s perfectly normal and acceptable and nothing to be embarrassed about.  In fact, of the close to 50 Rolfing sessions I’ve received in the last four years since I first tried it out, I’ve probably stayed awake through three of them.  Possibly.  Maybe it was only the two.  I lost count with all the sleeping I was doing in between.

The thing is, I want you to be engaged during your sessions with me.  I want you to show up ready to meet me halfway.  I can only change what you’ve allowed me to change.  And you can do more from the inside than I can do from the outside.  Part of the whole point of this work is embodiment, meaning that your consciousness is in and related to your body.  If you’re hungover from a rough night, disassociation (the opposite of embodiment)  may be the most comfortable option for you, and that’s no good for me.  So, yes, I want you to be present and participating in the work we do together.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t fall asleep.


Well, first of all, my goal is to bring about health.  And if you’re sleep deprived, like most people in this country today, then sleep may be the quickest way to bring about health.  So go for it.  More power to you.

Secondly, I don’t think it always has to do with sleep deprivation when you (or I) fall asleep on the table.  I still fall asleep during sessions and I use an alarm to wake up about four times a year, so I don’t think I’m sleep deprived.  I still fall asleep while getting Rolfed immediately after a large cup of coffee and I’m so sensitive to caffeine I usually don’t sleep well at midnight if I had black tea at 8am.  So I think there’s more to it than tiredness.  I think sometimes (often) with a good session of bodywork, big shifts can happen not only in the structure, but on the emotional, spiritual, mental, and energetic side of things as well.  And as we let go of certain traumas and blockages, the ego may try to get in the way, claiming it needs to hold onto that issue for whatever reason.  “I have a bad back” may be part of your story.  And if we shift things so that’s no longer true, your ego may feel a little frantic, wondering how you’ll define yourself in the future.  “I was abused” may be true, but if we let go of the painful trauma around that, will you still be you?  Your ego might not think so.  And so, when your body is making big shifts in the direction of health, it might be helpful to get your ego out of the way.  And so, you “fall asleep” or go into what some people call a healing trance.  You’re still conscious enough to stretch your right arm out, or roll over onto your stomach if I ask you to.  But you’re not conscious enough to fight what your body needs.

At least, that’s how I justify all the sleeping I do during sessions.  You can come up with your own excuses, if you’d prefer.  Regardless, know that, yes, plenty of people fall asleep during sessions, and I don’t mind if you snore.

While I was in Chicago last week, I got a good question from one of my clients that I thought I’d share:  What happens when a client comes in with no pain?  Short answer:  I get really excited.

Now, for the long answer…

See, most of the people I see in my office are there looking to “fix” something, as you know because you watched last week’s interview, right?.  Your shoulder; your back; your left pinky toe; they all hurt and you want them not to hurt.  Which is great, and I get it.  Pain sucks; you want it to go away.  I want that, too.  And until we get rid of the pain, you’re not going to be able to focus on much else.

But my “real” goal as a Rolfer and as a SourcePoint Therapist is to allow health to manifest.  I want your true self to come forth and shine in its most vibrant form.  Don’t you want that, too?!?  Getting rid of the pain may be the first step in the process, but once that’s accomplished, we can focus on encouraging health and vibrancy.

So when a client comes in with no pain, I get excited.  It’s rare, you see, for someone to walk in my door just because they’re curious.  Just because they want to see what this Rolfing thing is all about.  Just because they heard that Rolfing could make you more you.  But when it happens, I love it.  Then, we get down to business.  This particular client, who has no pain, is the perfect candidate for the traditional 10-series because it’s such a thorough full-body tune up.  But 10 sessions is a big commitment and until you’re absolutely ready, it’s not the sort of thing you want to rush into.  So generally, we start the same way I’d start any other session, by setting the 4 diamond points and doing a scan.  Generally when people come in with no physical pain, we get to explore other layers of their being, such as the emotional, traumatic, or karmic blockages that may be preventing health from manifesting.  Often, this is tied up in the physical, but they’re not aware of the holding patterns, so we work on bringing awareness and releasing restrictions.

Working with clients who have no pain can throw me a little off kilter, seeing as I’m so used to working with a goal in mind.  But it also leaves a lot of room for creativity and just trusting the energy to lead me to the right place.  With no goal of “fixing the back pain,” I don’t worry that my own intentions or projections are skewing my intuition or the sourcepoint scans I’m doing.  Everything’s on the table, so to speak.  Nothing is too “off base” to be considered.  So, in the end, when a client comes in with no pain, I get excited.


Thanks for your help with Demo Day!
Next month there won’t be a Demo Day, but they’ll start back up on June 16th.

Want to learn how to do SourcePoint yourself?
One of the founders of SourcePoint Therapy is coming to Boulder May 18th-20th to teach an introductory class for anyone who wants to take it.  You don’t have to be a bodyworker or healthcare practitioner.  This form of energy work is easy to learn and very powerful for maintaining your own health as well as the health of your family members.  The cost is $375.  For more information, please contact Dave Sheldon at 303-519-2412.

Meditation/Bodywork Retreat
The Posture of Meditation:  Breathing Through the Whole Body.  October 26-November 4th, in Crestone, Colorado with Will Johnson.  Combining meditation techniques with Rolfing.  Participants will receive a Rolfing session every other day for a total of 5 sessions, while spending several hours each day in meditation.  If interested, please let me know.

I’ve been thinking about the fourth session of the Rolfing 10-series.  These are the sorts of things you think about when you’re a Rolfer, but not the sorts of things you think about if you have pretty much any other life.  Keep that in mind if you were thinking about a career change.  Anyway.  The fourth hour is big in a lot of ways.  It’s the first of the ‘core’ sessions, after the first three ‘sleeve’ sessions.  This focus of getting the body to relate to ‘core’ is key all through Rolfing and session four is continued through five, six, and seven, all of which wouldn’t be possible without that initial session four.  The focus is on the insides of the legs and the pelvic floor.  Not an area that’s often addressed in your typical massage.  In fact, Ida Rolf said the difference between massage therapists and Rolfers was that Rolfers had the guts to go for the pelvic floor.

Not that I have a problem with massage.  I’m not trying to start a fight here (although Ida might have been).  I think massage is really helpful for relaxation.  It’s great for calming a muscle that’s completely freaked out and won’t let go for all the tea in China.  But Rolfing has more of that get-to-the-root-of-the-problem approach so that your massage can be that much more enjoyable.  If you’re not focused on the pain in your shoulder, it might be easier to relax and enjoy the massage for what it’s supposed to be.

Of course, there are other differences as well.  Rolfers tend to use little, if any, oil, lotion, or other lubrication.  This is because our goal is not to slide over muscles, but to change the shape of the fascia.  We’re more about sinking in and waiting than gliding over the surface of everything.  Also, every session is different in Rolfing.  Even within the confines of the 10-series, there’s a lot of variation.  I’ve never done the same session twice, and I don’t plan to.  We don’t work symmetrically, which can also throw people used to massage for a loop.  It’s just that if you broke your right leg, but not your left, there’s no reason for me to work those legs in exactly the same way.  Rolfers tend to do a fair amount of assessment before and after a session, as well as throughout.  This can be visual, energetic, or tactile assessment, but you’d better believe it’s going on all the time when you’re getting Rolfed, whereas it might not be at any point during a massage.  Also, there’s more client involvement with Rolfing than is typically expected in a massage.  In the massages I’ve received, the most I’ve had to do was roll over from my stomach to my back.  In Rolfing I’ve gotten work while standing, walking, sitting, doing knee-bends and stretches, reaching my arms and legs in different directions, even moving my eyes to look right, left, up, and down.

Rolfers, as a general rule, don’t like being compared to massage therapists.  Which is kinda funny, ’cause well over half of the Rolfers in the world trained as massage therapists first and many of them maintain their massage certifications.  But the fact remains; the Rolfers I know think what they do is VERY different from massage.  I happen to agree.  But when you haven’t experienced Rolfing yourself, it’s hard to understand what could be so different.  You’re lying on a massage table for an hour, right?  Sure, but that’s about where the similarities end.  Now you know.  Go tell your friends.  Please.  I’m tired of meeting people and hearing “oh, Rolfing, that’s like a deep-tissue massage, right?”  No, sweetheart, not really.

(Note: If you’re a pregnant woman, this is written directly to you. If you’re not, this is written to the pregnant women you know, so don’t get all huffy if you’re a guy or a non­preggo lady and I’m talking about your pregnancy. Thanks.)

Yes, and you probably should. Here’s why: Your body is changing and growing every day. Which is great, but can make a lot of things uncomfortable. Things like walking, standing, sitting, lying down, and breathing. Rolfing can help with all of these things, which makes you happier, which, in turn, makes baby happier. It also makes everybody healthier, and calmer when you can breathe.

Any time your body changes significantly, be it during a pubescent growth spurt, significant weight loss or gain, or pregnancy and post-partum, your body might struggle to find balance. I read an article a few years ago about how common it is for pregnant women to topple over. I don’t remember the specifics, but it was very common and the article went on to explain that this doesn’t hurt the baby. But what about the mom? I sure don’t like falling over, as it hurts my pride as well as my knees, and wrists, usually. That’s where Rolfing comes in. I generally recommend a Rolfing session every 3-5 weeks for expecting mothers so we can work with your body as it shifts and find a place of balance, ease, and comfort.

Also, there’s a specific “delivery session” I do to speed up and ease labor. I’ll do this up to a week before your due date and anytime after. The purpose is to open the pelvic floor to make the delivery smoother and less painful, as well as to induce labor. Even if you are planning to induce chemically, you can receive this session just before to augment and ease the process. And who doesn’t want a little more room in their pelvic floor before a delivery? So if you’re looking for a little help either with comfort during your pregnancy or with comfort and speed during your labor, give Rolfing a try. You, and your baby, are worth it!

P.S. Babies need Rolfing, too!

If you think labor is hard on you, just think how tough it must be for your little one. All that pressure on their heads, all the shock of suddenly having to breathe on their own; it’s no wonder babies sleep so much. I see children under 10 for free, so call me to make an appointment for your little one(s) to come in!

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.