The Barefoot Method
The Barefoot Method is a style of bodywork that I developed from my experience as a Rolfer that blends the most effective structural techniques from Rolfing® into a dynamic, floor-based method. Using my feet as the primary tool, I apply slow, deep, sustained pressure to unlock the postural patterns that cause your tension, pain and movement restriction. The Barefoot Method sessions are custom tailored treatments that strategically address your pain or tension issues in relationship to your overall postural patterns.
FAQs about The Barefoot Method
Why did you develop The Barefoot Method?
I began developing The Barefoot Method because of the tension and pain that was building up in my body as a result of being a professional bodyworker. According to a recent study published by the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, 70 percent of bodyworkers report "significant symptoms of occupational disability" within their last 2 years of practice. That bodyworkers would have to sacrifice their own bodies to help their clients with their bodies just didn't make sense to me. And, my wrist hurt.
So, to get rid of my own pain and to find a safer method of helping people with their bodies, I started experimenting by having friends step on me. Because the friends that were stepping on me were not professional bodyworkers, I just had them stand still while I took it upon myself to position my body under their feet and guide their pressure. Then, I started to move, stretch and twist to create the space exactly where I needed it. I told them to move to a new spot when I was ready. As my tension and pain quickly began to disappear, I realized that I had discovered a powerful technique that could empower my clients to participate more in their own healing process.
My discovery was partially inspired by another Rolfer named Richard Rossiter, who developed his own system of foot-based bodywork in the early 90's. I have yet to study with Richard, but his pioneering approach certainly inspired me to think out of the box.
What happens during a typical session?
First, we will talk about the different factors in your life such as accidents, injuries, repetitive movements, your job requirements, your favorite sports, hobbies and other activities that may have affected your structure at some point in your life. You will also show me where the pain, tension or structural pattern is currently showing up in your body. Then, we will create a customized session that seeks to find the sources of those issues. We will typically work on a few regions of your body during the session, rather than doing a full body routine. This will give us time to be detailed and specific as we find the places that need to open the most.
Using my foot, I will provide firm, sustained pressure to strategic, anatomically relevant areas of your body and give you suggestions on how to move and stretch while I am applying and sustaining the pressure. You are free to use my ideas or find your own ways of moving that give you a sense of opening, release or productive intensity. I will check in with you often to ensure that the location and level of pressure are satisfying and will adjust these variables based on your feedback.
Do you walk on me? Is The Barefoot Method similar to Shiatsu or Thai Massage?
The Barefoot Method is different than being walked on. It is unique when compared to other forms of foot-based bodywork in the following ways:
- I usually treat regions instead of the full body. I believe that custom tailored treatments that focus on strategically relevant anatomical regions are more effective at changing structural issues than generalized full body treatments.
- I generally use firm, sustained pressure instead of rhythmic pressure. My experience is that firm, sustained pressure allows tissues to change more dramatically than rhythmic pressure does.
- I ask clients to move and stretch in sessions rather than laying passively. When you move, you get to find precisely the places that need to open the most and you get to control the level of intensity.
- I work asymmetrically. Almost everyone notices differences between their left and right sides, and in order to address these differences, I approach each side with a different strategy.
- I encourage you to communicate with me about what is working and what is not so that you get to receive more of what works and less of what does not.
Are the feet as precise or sensitive as the hands?
The feet have clear advantages over the hands in terms of strength and leverage, but they are also surprisingly sensitive. I am able to provide a wide range of pressure depending on your body type, the region on which we are working, and your personal level of sensitivity. I can also adjust the specificity of the pressure by using the ball of my foot, the arch of my foot or my heel, depending on what is needed. Also, I still use my hands for neckwork, backwork and other detail work as needed.
Getting stepped on sounds painful!
I have no interest in hurting people. You get to choose the level of intensity that works best for you. In my experience, real structural change requires some intensity, but you get the final say on how much pressure I use. I will give you as much or as little as you request. You can also adjust the intensity by moving and stretching while I work.
Do I have to take my clothes off?
No. I prefer that you wear loose, comfortable clothing that you would wear for a workout or a yoga class. Pants are better than shorts. No jeans please.
What kind of results can I expect?
My clients often experience noticeable results within one session. Your results will vary depending on the severity of your structural challenges, how long you've had those challenges and my ability to interpret your needs into techniques that address your issues. I have had clients who endured daily chronic pain walk away pain free after just a few sessions. I hope that our work together will bring you to a place of not needing me anymore.
Watch Govinda perform The Barefoot Method and hear what his clients have to say about how it has helped them with posture and pain issues.