Last Friday, I had my third rolfing session. I was given the name of this guy - Paul - by a woman I sort of worked with - Elise. It's sort of strange, but I've heard so many good things about rolfing for so many years that when Elise was going on about her rolfer, I had to get his number.
The sessions always start with a little chat about what's been going on with my body. (I've got this shoulder pain I'm trying to work out, for instance. And I talked a little bit about Sally dying.) He also asked me what I remembered from the last session. I started to make a joke about it having been so painful that I blocked it out, but I didn't think he'd catch it in time for it to be really funny. He jokes all the time about it being painful, but it was the timing I was mostly concerned about. (I like my jokes to go over well and I don't like to repeat them.)
All sessions are done in your underwear. Even in the pamphlet he has to take away, the woman is in her bra and panties. It's an intimate sort of therapy. He's laying on top of me, digging his elbow into some muscle. It's about breathing through the pain. And it really does hurt.
For instance, today, he had me sit with my "sit bones" on one edge of the table and my legs stretched out in front of me pointed towards the other end. Then he had me grab my toes, which has never been easy. So while I'm bent over like that, he sticks his elbow into my back, right next to my spine, and says, "Tell me when it starts to hurt." When I say, "Now." He says, "Okay, now put your knees together and bend forward while slowly lowering your knees to the table." He digs his elbow into the muscle of my back and starts dragging it down (or up, but who can tell in that position?) and he says, "Take a deep breath."
At this point, I'm in so much pain that I can't breath, and I'm bent over so my stomach is taking up all the room that my lungs would use to expand. It's difficult, but he's leaning over me telling me to breath, so I do my best.
On Friday, he also dug his elbow into my thigh muscle and drug it to my knee. Supposedly, he should be able to do that and it should flow. He found some resistance - and I kept breathing deeply waiting for the pain to stop. He said today was a big breathing day, but it probably always ought to be a breathing day, huh? He also dug his fingers into the back to my skull and the muscles on my jawline, which I felt the next day. The whole thing takes an hour an a half.
So after that, you might ask, "What the hell are you doing this for?" My answer: I actually feel better afterwards. Maybe not later that night; it's exhausting. But in the days afterwards I can feel a difference. I feel looser, more relaxed. Like he did something to my ribs to open up that area. Makes me more conscious of things like that. I'm very curious about alternative things. Someone told me about craniosacral therapy when I was living in Ft. Worth, Texas and I've been curious about that ever since. Thank goodness for the Internet.
Years ago, I worked with a woman named Patricia (who just happened to be the sister of Barbara Feldon who was Agent 99 on Get Smart. I also like strange connections to famous people. Did I ever write about having dinner with Brooke Sheilds?) Anyway, Patricia went on and on about rolfing and how much she loved it. She went regularly. And she was the kind of older woman that I liked, sort of chilled out and into trying new things. I'm finally getting around to doing it. I figured I'll give it about six months and see if I feel different. I need to do something about my shoulder anyway.
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7 months ago
OK Andy, you have a knack for not only finding the quirky, but giving it a GO. Excellent work here. I don't think you can top Rolfing in the weird things to do and write about this month. However, I will be back. I am learning stuff.
I practice Iyengar yoga, which has as its aim the alignment of the spine, which takes into account shoulders, muscles, making the muscles more limber, so that you work out any tenseness that is probably causing the cramp in your shoulder. It's also 1.5 hour sessions, and you should really also practice at home in between. I don't know anything about rolfing, but Iyengar yoga is brilliant. The most popular school of yoga in the US. Iyengar popularlized yoga, and influenced a lot of people. Check out this link to learn more: http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/10/02/talkasia.iyengar/index.html#cnnSTCVideo
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