Time to man up. Today is the day. Two hours from now I’ll be in Michael Murphy’s Los Altos office for my date with destiny. I based my thoughts on Rolfing in the post Healing Trauma on reports I’d read and anecdotal evidence. Is that any way to write an informed blog? Until today the closest I’ve come to being Rolfed has been watching this man play this instrument on television.
Kidding aside, I don’t know what to expect, and I’m more than a little nervous.
Twelve Hours Later
Here’s what I now know about Rolfing.
- Each therapist is different. Some keep the traditional “you must have ten treatments to be fully integrated” and some, like Michael, take the “two visits or ten, it’s done when it’s done” organic approach. Veering from tradition does not concern me. The Reiki technique I use no longer follows the traditional hand positions of my Usui lineage. And my yoga teaching has certainly moved away from the strict alignment model I once adhered to.
- It is not painful unless you want it to be. We focused today’s treatment on two issues – the discomfort in my arms due to compressed nerves in my neck and a recent knee injury. Sure, sometimes Michael manipulated areas with a firm pressure that was less than pleasant, but neither was it painful. Strong, sharp or tender? Maybe. But not painful.
- Rolfing may not be for the modest. The session began with a postural assessment. This involved a visual analysis of my spine and pelvis while I stood in my underwear. But Rolfers see plenty of bodies – I felt completely comfortable – this was no big deal. It was made clear that I was the boss. Besides, an experienced practitioner can make an assessment quickly. In the future, though, I may try to get away with a sports bra and shorts.
What Does Rolfing Feel Like?
Michael did not use oils or creams. There are no long, sweeping strokes. Rolfing is more an intense and precise manipulation of the connective tissue. There was pressing, squeezing, pushing and pulling, but no effleurage or petrissage.
How Did I Feel After the Treatment?
Alive. I was surprised to feel a post-massage glow that is typical of more mellow treatments. Rolfing is meant to structurally integrate the body and the spirit. I’ll be the first to confess there is a gaping disconnect between my spiritual self and the Mimm I present to the world. I’m guessing my spiritual side was happy to be out in the sunshine for a few hours.
How Do I Feel Now?
Tired. Maybe a little achy. It’s early on a Saturday night – not even half past nine – and yet I’ll be in bed as soon as this is posted.
Will I Do it Again?
Yes. Absolutely. Rolfing has a remarkable effect on the body. And maybe – just maybe – it will have a remarkable effect on my spirit, too. I’m off to bed – it’s been a big day. A new day.