Many questions and their answers...
What kinds of issues can Rolfing® SI help?
Put very simply, Rolfing work is especially good at loosening tight things, balancing crooked things, and improving range of motion. I have found it effective in relieving many types of musculoskeletal pain, both chronic and acute, including sciatica, low-back pain, neck pain, TMJ, headaches, etc. You will find posts on some of these if you look in the Rolfing category at the bottom of the page, or view my blog posts. If tight muscles or structural imbalances are involved in your pain, chances are Rolfing sessions can help. With undiagnosed pain, I recommend that you first consult your medical doctor. Rolfing SI is not going to fix your torn rotator cuff or bulging disc, so please make use of the very valuable diagnostic assessments your primary care physician can provide.
How can Rolfing sessions help my athletic or dance performance?
Athletes and dancers are driven to optimize their body structures. Your training in these disciplines may result in injuries that cause shortened fascia. In fact, scar tissue is what I call “stupid” fascia – it is short and tight and slapped on in random directions to stabilize an injury. Once you recover, you have to find a way to lengthen and organize it. Rolfing SI is good at this. Training regimens can also uncover core structural issues. Maybe as a kid you never learned to stand upright with your legs aligned under you (that is, neither “knock-kneed” nor “bow-legged”). As you push your body towards a goal, you come up against these limitations and how they hinder your performance. With better alignment, you have better joint functioning and more optimal energy usage. I have a number of blog posts about this – you can click here for a sample one, and find others through the Rolfing category at the bottom of the page.
How can Rolfing sessions help my yoga practice?
Dedicated yogis are changing their fascia through their practice. What I find in my work with yoga practitioners is that the outer muscles become lengthened and balanced, but their practice often uncovers deeper imbalances - for example to the deep hip rotators - that cannot easily be resolved through yoga alone. I love working with yogis to resolve these issues so that their practices can be truly supportive.
How is your bodywork different from chiropractic?
Our goals are similar but our methods are quite different. Chiropractic work typically aligns the joints of your body using direct techniques to move the bones (such as high-velocity thrust adjustments), while my work is all hands-on work to the fascia (connective tissue, a type of soft tissue) with no sudden maneuvers. Chiropractic work done without fascial work may not hold. Fascia - in the form of muscles wrappings, tendons, and ligaments – attaches to many bones. If the soft tissue is in balance, it will help a bone stay in its “home” position. If it is imbalanced, it is constantly pulling your joints out of alignment. I often work closely with chiropractors to help their clients by balancing tensional forces in the soft tissue to support rapid recovery. My clients find that they generally need far-less-frequent adjusting after doing a Rolfing series, and their chiropractors find them much easier to adjust. See also this blog post.
What is the difference between massage and Rolfing SI?
Many people wrongly think that Rolfing SI is just very deep massage. Although some massage modalities address the fascia and try to change patterns, this is not the same as creating the natural alignment and integration that Rolfing SI has as its goal. Dr. Rolf said, “Anyone can take a body apart, very few know how to put it back together.” This is where the true difference lies. In the process of Rolfing sessions I am always looking to create support and integration as patterns are changed, so that the body is taken to a higher level of organization and functioning. What does this mean? It means that 1) I work with close awareness of what anatomical layer and structure I am affecting, 2) I consider the relationship of that area to other parts in the overall pattern, 3) I hold an awareness of the support that is needed throughout your body for a pattern to change, and 4) I keep an overall view of creating alignment in gravity. Clients typically report at their first session that Rolfing SI is different from any massage they’ve ever had, both in how it feels and in the results it creates. Also, massage results are usually temporary. Because Rolfing SI takes the body to a higher level of integration, it has been found to have lasting results – the body likes being organized, so it holds the changes. What is also interesting is that some clients who don’t like massage, don’t like deep work, or don’t like being touched do like Rolfing SI - there is such a unique feel to the fascial engagement of Rolfing, as if some part of you that craves contact has finally been met. You can read about this topic in much greater detail at this blog post and my article in Massage Magazine.
What does your bodywork feel like?
While Rolfing SI has a reputation from the early days for being deep/intense, a good practitioner will always work within your comfort level, which for some people is quite deep and for others is light (using the “indirect” techniques developed in more recent years). Because of this, even people who don't like deep work will like Rolfing SI if it is done by a sensitive practitioner, as you will see from some of the testimonials to my work. Both craniosacral and visceral work use subtle touch as well – either very delicate touch or a contact that is firm but gentle. Your body will quickly reveal what works for you, and your communication is always important. What is common to Rolfing SI, craniosacral work, and visceral work is the quality of touch, which is intelligent and engaged, listening to your body’s responses. It really is a dialogue between your body and my hands, which most clients find deeply satisfying – finally someone is listening!
How many sessions do I need?
It is best to do integrative work as a series of sessions, so that all areas of the body have time to “get on the program” and more troubled areas can be worked through layer by layer. The work of whole-body integration can be done in the traditional Rolfing 10-session basic series (your body’s 50,000 mile tune-up) and 5-session advanced series, or as “fix-it” work to relieve pain caused by auto accidents and other injuries. You will usually get a sense pretty early on as to how your body is responding to the work, and that helps us to plan what is needed. Some clients find relief to their pain issues from just one session, but I generally recommend that you consider trying three sessions as a start for "fix-it" work. If you are coming in dedicated to a postural overhaul, I recommend the classic Rolfing 10-session series. Whatever direction you take - Series or fix-it - I want your body from the very first session to either get clear results (less pain, feeling more upright), or a strong felt sense of "This feels right!"
What are Diamond Approach® sessions?
Private work in the Diamond Approach means one-on-one sessions with an ordained minister-teacher. The sessions are for spiritual insight and to develop your own capacity for inquiry and guidance. Sessions include discussion into what is up for the student in the present moment, inquiry, and Ridhwan Diasomatics - a form of breath work done fully clothed on a mat which helps to open the inquiry process and more subtle awareness. Sessions are by application and are done on an ongoing basis. Please visit here for more information.
Do you accept insurance?
Short answer - no. For health insurance, I will provide you with a receipt that you can submit to your insurer for reimbursement (coverage will vary by plan – please contact your carrier for information). For 23 years I did bill auto and workers’ compensation insurance, but I no longer do that. Again, I can provide receipts for your payment and you can submit them for reimbursement. Diamond Approach sessions cannot be billed to any insurance. Please note that while I do not bill insurance, and despite 20+ years as a Rolfer™, I keep my fees in the median range for Rolfers in Seattle specifically to help make it possible for you to come in, as discussed here.