Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment. Those over forty may call it old age. And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity.
Dr. Ida Rolf
The Rolfing® Series Process with Jenny
Every Rolfer® does things a little differently, so I have outlined how things work with me. Feel free to reach to to me with any questions or concerns. (jenny@BodyBalancePortland.com)
NUMBER OF SESSIONS:
The original Rolfing® Series as designed by Dr. Ida Rolf had 10 sessions, which is why people frequently use the phrase “10 Series” to describe the Rolfing Series. Dr. Rolf developed the Series primarily between the 1950’s-1970’s, and our lives have changed a lot since then (devices, work, surgeries, etc). For that reason, I allow TWO sessions for both sessions 6 and 7 to give us more time to address the territory and goals of those sessions. (If you want me to do the Series in 10 sessions, I am happy to do that, too.) 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, your decision to split each session is done the day of that session.
FREQUENCY AND TIMING OF SESSIONS:
Due to the way the body responds to fascial changes, It is best to receive the sessions about five to seven days apart, but they do not need to be on same day and time every week. For exceptions, we need to talk.
LENGTH OF SESSIONS:
Each session is about 75 minutes (give or take) depending on you and your body’s needs that day, and for that session. Rolfing sessions are not time-based, so we take as long as we need to achieve the goal of the session. Plan on being at my office for two hours for each session to account for questions, bathroom, and changing clothing so that you are not late to your next appointment.
SCHEDULING ALL SESSIONS NOW:
Rolfers® refer to the Series as “The Recipe,” and just like baking, it’s important to get all of the ingredients just right, and to bake at the right temperature, and for the right amount of time. For this reason, we schedule the ENTIRE Series before we begin so that we are sure we are both available to complete it within the optimal time frame.
IS THIS RIGHT FOR YOU NOW?
Rolfing® can be an emotional experience for many people, so I recommend you schedule the Series when you are in a place to deal with emotions IN CASE they come up. It’s important to have good emotional support, just in case the need arises.
I recommend that you schedule the Series at a time in your life when you will be able to complete it. I know that things come up, but it’s best not to plan it when you will likely be out of town or too busy with life and will need to cancel sessions.
You will get the most out of the Series if you are relatively stable physically. That means you didn’t just sprain your ankle, you’re not training for a marathon, and you don’t have a planned surgery or tattoo. We can handle chronic pain, but acute pain/injury/surgery will throw us off, and it’s not worth it.
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!!!
Rolfing involves a detailed assessment process where you will be walking in the treatment room with me in just your undergarments.
Breasts need to be covered in a back clasping bra. DO NOT wear a t-back bra, as it blocks the spine.
Underwear is best if it’s cotton or a cotton blend, not a slick, synthetic material. It should also be loose enough for to work through or adjust slightly. Please avoid regular boxers (as they gap open), but boxer briefs, briefs, bikini, and even thong are fine. Feel free to bring several options with you.
I will need to observe your body in movement and gravity in order to be precise with the bodywork we do. 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.
This issue is not exclusive to women. From Hollywood to Madison Avenue, 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. I don’t care about fat, muscle tone, stretch marks, odd shapes, surgeries, scars, 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.
As with any bodywork, it is important that you hydrate yourself after the sessions. Rolfing® is especially intense, so it’s even MORE important than with 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 contains caffeine or alcohol. If it’s hot or you’ve exercised, add more. If you sweat a lot, add more.
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 ONLY 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, range 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.
*We can use your camera or mine, whichever you prefer. You are also free NOT to have us take the pictures.
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.
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 the treatment room, STAYS in the treatment room.
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.
There are certain activities that I have found to cause injuries if they are done concurrently with Rolfing®. 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 we’re doing that, and you’re doing high stress to the fascia, you can get injured. 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. I don’t like to do a 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 them. In general, yoga, Pilates, swimming, walking, and cycling are all fine.
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.
Rolfing is typically pretty deep work, so it’s important to let me know if you are on ANY pain killers or muscle relaxers (even OTC like aspirin). If you have prescription meds and you CAN wait until after the session to take them, please wait. But do NOT compromise your health or pain level for this session. Just let me know what’s going on.
If I work on you while you are on pain killers or muscle relaxers AND I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THEM, the results are not good. JUST TELL ME.
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. If possible, don’t exercise or go back to work after your session that day. If you MUST work, please take it easy.
Many people find that after a session they are REALLY hungry. So if possible, bring a snack with you for afterwards. Fruit, nuts, and granola are good examples of what you’ll need. PLEASE never skip a meal, before a session!
While I have your attention, please eat healthy food all the time. Sugar is one of many foods that creates inflammation in the body, showing up as pain in muscle and joints.
During the course of the Series, we will be correcting structural imbalances. Therefore, it is common that 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 since you’re body will be different. We don’t want to put your new body into your old shoes.
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 reduction 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.