What you need to know about receiving the Rolfing® Series

Below is the usual list of FAQ’s, additionally, here’s a link to the Rolfing segment from Oprah.  Enjoy.


How does the scheduling work? –  I offer three choices for receiving Rolfing®.  You can do the Series, a mini-Series, or Session work.  If you are planning to receive either the Rolfing® Series or mini-Series, we will schedule the ENTIRE Series before we start so that we are sure we are both available to complete it within the optimal time frame.  (It is best to have the sessions about a week apart, but there are a few ways we can smoosh them around a bit to account for travel or illness.)  We do not need to schedule the same day and time every week, but we definitely want to schedule all Sessions. Additionally, I give everyocalendarne the option to split Sessions 6 and 7, based on need, though most people need both extra session.  Although this is not part of the original 10-Series, many Rolfers find that this benefits clients more.  Because of this option, I ask that you schedule 12 Sessions, so we have them blocked off, just in case.  If you don’t end up needing them, that’s fine (and of course you are not charged.)  Since the body is fluid, the decision to split each Session is done the day of that Session.  Each session is about 75 minutes (give or take) depending on you and your body’s needs that day, and for that session.  Plan on being at my office for 90-100 minutes for each session to account for questions, concerns, bathroom, and changing clothing.  If you only want to receive Session work based on specific issues, scheduling is more to your preference.

Do I have to do the ENTIRE Series? – No, you don’t.  I am happy to do session work as needed.  This can be helpful after a car accident, sports injury, having a baby, or any type of injury or stubborn pain or issue.  In this case, there is no set number of sessions or timeframe.  Each session is still about 75 minutes.  It’s all up to you.

Does Rolfing hurt? – Well, it’s not supposed to.  The early days of Rolfing have left a sustaining and  negative impression with many people regarding the pain associated with Rolfing.  As with any other type of bodywork, it’s CRITICAL that you do NOT allow me to work outside of your pain threshold.  I DO NOT WANT TO HURT YOU!!  The work is intense, but it should NEVER be painful.  It will be YOUR JOB to keep me from hurting you.  I will do my best to read your body, but sometimes you will experience pain that I cannot detect.  You will need to SPEAK UP!  The “magic word” for me is “stop.”  We will go over this again. Rolfing® is not an exercise in pain tolerance!!!

What do I wear? – You will need to wear undergarments (for women, this includes a bra, and it MUST hook in the back).  Men, NO BOXERS!! Women, NO SPORTSBRAS!!  Please wear clothing that is easy to move, and is NOT slick to the touch (bras don’t matter on this score).  If necessary, you can leave a set with me (properly stored and labeled) so that you will always have the appropriate garments for the sessions.

How do you know what to work on each time? – There are 2 factors:  (1)  Every Rolfer follows what we call the “Rolf Recipe,” where each session has a unique goal, building on previous sessions, and opening the body up for future sessions.  In this way the Series has a cumulative effect.  (2) I will need to observe your body in movement and gravity in order to be precise with the bodywork we do for each session.  Therefore, before, after, (and sometimes during) each session, I will observe you walking and doing other movements (knee bends, arm raises, etc).  This is all done while you are wearing the undergarments (mentioned above) in the privacy of the treatment room.

Can I keep exercising while I receive the Series? – There are certain activities that I have found to cause injuries if they are done concurrently with the Rolfing® Series, but this is not as true for Session work.  The reason for this is that Rolfing® is a process of softening the body, so that we can move things around and put them back where they belong.  If I’m doing that, and you’re doing high stress to the fascia, you can get injured (just ask my husband).  I want Rolfing to be the best experience you ever had – so let’s be sure that you don’t injure yourself in the process.  To that end, I will not do the Series if  you are actively golfing, running, or water/snow skiing.  If you are weightlifting, we will need to discuss how you can alter your routine so as not to injure yourself.  If you have a personal trainer, I’m happy to discuss this with him or her.  In general, yoga, Pilates, swimming, walking, and cycling are all fine.

How do you document postural changes? – I will take photographs of you (in the undergarments) before we begin the first session, and after we finish the last session (front, back, left right).  You and I are the people to see these.  They are for us to see any structural progress made during the series.  Most people notice significant changes in their bodies that do NOT show up in the photos, but they are still fun to review after we complete the series.  There are MANY changes that people experience that are not visible on photos, such as energy levels, chronic pain issues, rangeONLY of motion improvements, and improved state of mind.  But we take the pictures anyway, as frequently there are visual improvements, and it’s hard to notice them over time, just looking in the mirror.


Body image concerns – Although this has come up for women more than men, this does happen for both.  From Hollywood to Madison AKitten-Mirror-Lion-Biggervenue, our society has trained us that we are all supposed to look a certain way.  Please know that humans don’t look like the images we see portrayed in Film or print.  I will not be judging you and I don’t care about fat, muscle tone, stretch marks, odd shapes, scars, mastectomies, skin problems, hair, etc.  All I care about is helping you take better care of yourself, and live more freely in the body you have.

How to keep it going – One of the most common questions I get about the Series is how to keep the changes… how to prevent backsliding.  The stock answer:  Yoga for life.  Yoga, Pilates, nutrition, rest, hydration, ergonomics, and stress redution are the things YOU get to do to keep your body healthy.  Please treat your body AT LEAST as well as you treat your car.  Your body is in your hands.  Please handle with care.

Emotions – You may experience intense and unexplained emotions during the series, either on the table, or between sessions.  This is natural part of the process for many people.  We store emotion in the tissue, so when this tissue is touched (especially at deeper levels), the emotions may surface.  Therefore, I HIGHLY recommend that you alert your immediate support system that you might need them (partner, spouse, therapist, sponsor, best friends, etc.).  If no life-changing emotions come up for you, that’s ok, too.

confidentialConfidentiality – Rolfing is a VERY intimate (not sexual) experience.   I want you to feel comfortable allowing your body to shift into better alignment, and this frequently means that other aspects of yourself may do some shifting as well.  In that process, you will likely feel vulnerable.  Please know that I do everything possible to support you to feel and express all of who you are in a safe place.  For that reason I want you to know that NOTHING that you tell me will EVER go beyond me.  EVER.  What happens in the treatment room, stays in the treatment room.  This includes spouses, parents, children, siblings, co-workers….. everyone. What’s said/happens in he treatment room, STAYS in the treatment room.

Orthotics – During the course of the Series, we will be correcting structural imbalances.  Therefore, IF you wear orthotics in your shoes, you will likely NOT need any when you complete the Series OR you will need to have new ones made.   You will also likely need new shoes (like sneakers) since you’re body will be different.  We don’t want to put your new body into your old shoes.

Water – As with any bodywork, it is important that you hydrate yourself after the sessions.  Rolfing® is especially intense, so it’s even MORE important that traditional massage.  A good rule of thumb is that you drink 12 glasses of water a day (8 ounces each), or 96 ounces daily PLUS ounce for ounce for any liquid that contain caffeine or alcohol.  If it’s hot or your exercised, add more.  If you sweat a lot, add more.


fruits:veggies (1)Nutrition – Many people find that after a Session they are REALLY hungry.  So if possible, bring a snack withyou for afterwards.  Fruit, nuts, and granola are good examples of what you’ll need.   PLEASE never skip a meal, before a session!

Version 2Rest – Since Rolfing® is likely more intense than other bodywork that you have experienced, it is REALLY important that you schedule Rolfing at a time in your life, and a day and time that you can take it easy afterwards, even a nap is great.  If possible, don’t exercise or go back to work after your session that day.  If you MUST work, please take it easy.

Collaboration – Rolfing® is unlike traditional massage (even traditional deep tissue work) in that YOU are my partner in this process.  You will be actively participating in the bodywork, not passively laying on the table while I work on you.  This looks like you flexing, extending, reaching, stretching, bending, and more, as I work your fascia.

Contraindications – Rolfing® is not for everyone, and timing in your life is important, too.  In order to get the most out of receiving the Series, there are some important things to consider:

  • It’s best if you are not in serious acute pain.  We can discuss your specific situation to be sure.  I might just mean waiting a few weeks, or getting some care before we begin (with me or another practitioner).
  • You need to be sure you can tolerate DEEP pressure.  Many people who come to Rolfing have previously experience what they are TOLD is deep tissue, but it is not.   We will discuss this.
  • Emotionally you need to have a support system in place in case you need it.
  • You must be able to commit to the time, money, and energy it will take to complete the series.  Please discuss this with me so that you really know what this means.


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