Rolfing in Berkeley and San Francisco
The foundations of The Barefoot Method are built on my training and experience as a Rolfer. I believe that The Barefoot Method contributes to the field of Rolfing because it allows practitioners to use their body weight, leverage and gravity instead of muscular force, which saves our bodies.
There are many websites dedicated to describing the history and theory of Rolfing, so rather than duplicating those efforts, I will tell you why I think people resonate with Rolfing and my approach specifically.
People around the world use Google's search engine because it brings back results that are relevant to what people are looking for. Rolfing is a consistently effective approach to bodywork for the same reason...relevance. Because of our thorough training and in-depth understanding of how the different regions of the body connect and communicate with each other, Rolfers are often able to deliver tangible results to many structural challenges within a few sessions. Rolfing is a deep, soft-tissue approach that uses the smart, strategic application of firm pressure to help ease tension patterns so that a person has more energy for living their life rather than wasting their energy compensating for their structural imbalances.
Our approach is holistic, integrative and deeply satisfying because we go to the root of structural problems rather than trying to alleviate symptoms. People come to me for help with injuries, chronic pain, asymmetries and to deal with the buildup of tension in their neck and shoulders from sitting in front of a computer all day. People also come to learn about their bodies and to get unlocked from patterns of movement and non-movement that are limiting their fullest self-expression.
FAQs ABOUT ROLFING®
Is Rolfing painful?
There is some intensity involved in a Rolfing session, but if I had to use the word pain I would call it "good pain" or "productive pain." Sensations that feel overwhelming or cause bracing are almost never productive. I work closely with my clients to ensure that they can say *yes* to the sensations that are happening during a session. Back in the early days of Rolfing (during the human potential movement), some Rolfers were experimenting with pushing the limits and they earned an unfortunate, but deserved reputation for not respecting their clients' boundaries. Our approach has been refined since those days and we are still just as effective, if not more so because our clients feel listened to and respected as well as satisfied by their results.
What issues can Rolfing help with?
- neck pain
- back pain
- shoulder pain (especially knots under shoulder blade, which is a specialty of mine)
- hip pain
- carpal tunnel
- headaches or migraines
- thoracic outlet syndrome
- rounded shoulders
- head-forward posture
- "computer posture"
- tight hamstrings
- general stiffness or inflexibility
Why do our bodies become misaligned?
Physical and emotional events from our lives are recorded and stored in our bodies via the system of fascia. Every time we are injured, our bodies create a "splint" in our connective tissue to immobalize vulnerable areas in order to avoid further injury. Splinting is helpful in the short term, but in the long term it causes us to lose range of motion. This creates a cycle of our movement affecting our posture and our posture affecting our movement. Over time, we experience the cumulative effect of these holding patterns in the form of tension, chronic pain, stress and a general sense of discomfort in our bodies.
Rolfing is one of the best ways that I know of to reduce the splinting and reset the body to its natural state of functioning. This usually results in a feeling of freedom in the body and an overall sense of well-being. People also experience a reduction in stress, relief from chronic pain, increased flexibility and increased body awareness as a result of being Rolfed.
Do I have to do 10 sessions?
No. You can do any number of sessions, depending on your needs. However, generally speaking, the more you do, the better your results will be. The reason for this is that our patterns live globally in our bodies and unraveling the patterns as they show up in the different segments of our bodies takes time. If it took 1, 5 or 10 years for your body to get to the place where you need help with it, it will also take some time to ease those patterns and set a new course for the health of your structure.
One Session at a Time:
Even one session of Rolfing can make a huge difference. If you are new to Rolfing and not sure if it is right for you, just try one session and decide from there. If you have a short-term pain issue, we can usually make good progress in one session. People who frequently get "knots" in their upper back will often notice significant results in just a few sessions. If you have a "knot under your shoulder blade," please, come and see me. I have worked with this issue extensively and am usually able to resolve it within a session or two. This sensation is almost always caused by a rib being slightly out of place. See my blog for more info.
Single sessions are also recommended for people who have already been through the 10 Series or for people who want to do ongoing maintenance.
Chronic Pain Series:
I do a lot of work with people who have scoliosis, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, TMJ, or some kind of repetitive strain injury. In these situations, I find that it is most effective to work in a series that focuses on the regions that are causing the pain. Depending on the severity of the pain/injury and how long it has been there, we can do a series ranging from 3-15 sessions. It is all based on your needs and we'll evaluate our effectiveness after every session.
10 Session Series:
This is the classic series that was developed by Ida Rolf. Each session has a specific goal and covers a particular region of the body. I find that the 10 series is most applicable to clients who have generalized issues (no chronic pain or injuries). These clients find that the 10 Series is a satisfying way to change overall posture and learn about their patterns so that they can do their own preventative maintenance. The 10 Series will improve your flexibility, ease tension and make noticeable changes to your posture and movement.
The sequence of the 10 Series:
- Shoulders, Ribs, Upper Back
- Legs, Feet
- Sides, Arms
- Core, Lower Body
- Core, Upper Body
- Back of the Body
- Head, Neck, Face
- Lower Body Integration
- Upper Body Integration
- Whole Body Integration
How does Rolfing differ from Massage?
While massage generally brings temporary relief from symptoms, Rolfing aims to address the underlying causes for pain and tension in the body, which often results in more significant and longer lasting changes. Rolfing is done in a way that empowers people to become more present in their bodies so that they can sustain the changes and integrate them into their lives.
There is a lot of mystique about why Rolfing works as well as it does, but for me the reasons are pretty simple:
- Rolfers generally have more technical training in anatomy, physiology and movement than the average massage therapist. Having a throrough understanding of how bodies function makes a huge difference in resolving structural issues.
- Rolfers work strategically along logical, functional, anatomical chains to affect change in the areas that need it the most, rather than doing a full-body routine.
- Rolfers don't use oil. This allows us to affect the tissues at deeper layers instead of sliding along the surface. Patterns usually live in the deeper layers of tissue.
- Rolfers work slowly and generally use firm, sustained pressure. This allows time for tissues to soften and lengthen.
- Rolfers ask you to participate in the session verbally and through movement. This engages you in the process and ensures that we are giving you exactly what you need.
- Rolfers aren't focused on giving you immediate pleasure. We are trying to help you find a place of ease and spaciousness that has been lost because of limiting patterns of movement or non-movement.
Will I have an emotional release?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Sometimes the work is purely physical and sometimes it can be emotional. My experience is that there is often an emotional source at the root of many physical issues. Whether clients are interested in exploring that territory is up to each individual. I am also a psychotherapist and am happy to work with clients that are interested in exploring their inner world through therapy. To learn more about my psychotherapy practice, please visit www.govindabader.org.
How many sessions do I need?
It depends on where you are now, how long you have been where you are now and where you are going. Some people need 5 sessions and some need 25. Most of my clients come weekly, but I also see people every two or three weeks. Occasionally, I will see people twice per week. Do what works for your life, your schedule, your budget. Ultimately, everyone's situation is unique, so we will work together as long as you feel that my work is serving you.
For more information on Rolfing® or to find a Rolfer in your area, please visit the Rolf Institute.
Watch one my my Rolfing teachers, Jon Martine with Dr. Oz on Oprah.