Success & Prosperity Blog

Structural Alignment

By Randy Gage in Success, Prosperity.

Since health and wellness is vital to living a life of prosperity, all last week we looked at some ways to achieve optimal wellness.  There are a few more topics worth looking at, so the series continues. Now let’s explore a healing practice that actually kept me out of a wheelchair.  I’m talking about structural alignment, specifically Rolfing and Soma Therapy.

Rolfing is very deep tissue therapy pioneered by a lady named Ida Rolf.  Dr. Rolf discovered that she could achieve remarkable changes in posture and structure by manipulating the body’s myofascial system and named her work Structural Integration.  But everyone pretty much just calls it Rolfing these days.

Rolfing can dramatically alter your posture and structure. It creates a more efficient use of the muscles, allows your body to conserve energy, and creates more economical patterns of movement. There is an offshoot discipline of this called Soma Therapy.

People sometimes think it’s just deep tissue massage, but it’s quite different.  This is VERY deep tissue work.  While massage is quite relaxing and enjoyable, Rolfing and Soma can sometimes be quite painful.  As in excruciating painful.  So why do it?

Because it will save you from other pain and allow your body to regain its health.  Here’s why:

Let’s say you have a sports injury, a surgery, or are in a car accident.  These things create tremendous trauma on your muscles and tendons, sometimes causing them, to stick together or adhere to your bones in the wrong places.  And everything in one place has a corresponding reaction in another…

So this could pull your hips up on one side, twist your spine, or pull some of your ribs out of alignment.  This creates pressure and strain in another area.  Your body tries to compensate, and it can get worse and worse over time.

A Rolfer or Soma Therapist will separate these muscles or tendons, allowing your bone structure to align in its proper way.  The changes that can take place in your body are breathtaking.  Often people become taller.  Or go to a bigger shoe size.   Not because your body actually grows; it just releases the tension it is holding, and allows you to unlock and stretch out to your natural dimensions. You go through ten or 12 treatments, and then the changes take place in your body sometimes for the next two years.

After doing the whole sequence of Soma Therapy, I actually went from size ten shoes (which I had been wearing my whole adult life) to a size 12.  Now long time readers know I have custom-made shoes from Lobb’s of London, croc, ostrich, lizard and enough Prada and Armani to stock a boutique. I ended up giving away over $100,000 worth of shoes.  (Which my friend Joshua Shafran is still laughing about, that evil bitch!)  But I was actually happy to have the therapy and consider the 100K a great investment in my health.  Here’s why…

I wasn’t kidding when I said I believe this has kept me out of a wheelchair.  Because I learned of this therapy too late in life, I have a herniated disc.  Over softball tournaments, about five car accidents, car racing, and my body trying to compensate for it, things got worse and worse.

I remember about three years ago, standing at a gate in the Atlanta airport, leaning on my rollerboard.  They were pre-boarding the wheelchair passengers and all I could think about was that I had to be in a lot more pain than any of them.  The pain was radiating down both my hamstrings.  Sometimes my feet would go numb and almost dangle.  The pain took all the joy from softball and I thought I’d have to stop forever.

My Soma Therapist Anita Smith had moved out west and somehow I never made the connection that this kind of work could help with a condition like that.   And wouldn’t have realized it until I was scheduled for surgery on my deviated septum…

I was discussing the surgery with my friend Jeannie Kidd, and she bounced it off of her husband Will.  He suggested I should consider Rolfing to correct it.

I thought he was crazy, because the septum is bone or cartilage.  But he insisted, so I went online and found Jorge Gonzalez, a certified Rolfer in South Florida. I chatted with him and he indeed said he had helped at least ten people with a deviated septum. I scheduled a session right away.  The results have been totally amazing.

I’ll save you the exact process, as it’s about as weird and uncomfortable as it sounds. But I’ll tell you what: I could actually hear and feel the septum open up and reset. I can look in the mirror and actually see the septum is straightened now.

I had woken up every morning with my left sinus passage clogged for at least ten years. The next day after my first session I woke up with it clear, and it has been ever since. I called and canceled the scheduled sinus surgery the same day.  More importantly, instead of getting six to eight sinus infections a year, I’ve had one in four years.  And that is with flying more than 250,000 miles a year.  But I was even more impressed with the results on my herniated disc…

You know about the softball and car accidents.  I’ve also been through getting shot, a botched operation to take out the bullet, and another one to actually remove it.   The softball has resulted in cracked ribs, a broken finger, dislocated fingers, and a fractured wrist.

I had no idea how much tension I was holding until Jorge started the therapy. The very first session he attacked the septum problem.  After that he went to work on integrating the rest of my body.  He was able to get me running without pain for the first time in a few years.  More importantly, he got the muscles to loosen up and free some of the pressure on the herniated disc.

Like I said, Rolfing or Soma is not fun.  But at some point you can actually feel the muscles release and the pain stops instantly.  Pretty amazing stuff.   If your body has been through surgery, accidents or other kinds of trauma, it’s worth checking out.

My two saviors have been Anita Smith and Jorge Gonzalez.  Both of them have produced amazing results for me and I recommend them unconditionally.

Anita does Soma Therapy and lives in Durango, Colorado.   She does come back to Florida occasionally for a few weeks at a time and takes appointments in South Miami.  Find her at http://www.anitasmith.net/

Jorge is a certified Rolfer and lives in Broward County.  However he travels all over South Florida for appointments.  You can connect with him at http://rolfingwithgeorge.com/

If you have a Soma Therapist or a Rolfer in your area you recommend, please share their details below.

-RG

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32 thoughts on “Structural Alignment

  1. Idael Perez says:

    Awesome article Randy.

    1. Randy Gage says:

      I know from our lunch together that you do medical massage. Can you talk about that a little and how it is different that Rolfing or Soma?

      -RG

  2. Jeanne Kidd says:

    🙂 I’m SOOOOO happy that one conversation helped so much and stopped you from having surgery!!!

    I desperately miss having a Rolfer here in Knoxville. Amazing the benefits that therapy offers. Maybe I’ll fly down once a month and go to yours.

    After not feeling well for the last 2 months I am ready for some major re-aligning. Last night was the first night since that stupid flu thing that I was able breathe without medication. And I very rarely take any over the counter drugs of any kind.

    Time for some cleansing, exercise and good deep massage to get back on track! Spring cleaning all around.
    Jeanne

  3. Randy Gage says:

    While we’re talking about structural integration, I should mention the shoes Anita recommended to me. There’s a lot of research today showing how unhealthy most running shoes with all the heel padding are for you. Vibram makes the five-fingered shoes that are the equivalent of running barefoot. I switched to them for my cardio and that helped my back a great deal. Check them out at: http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/index.htm

    -RG

    1. And here I am running barefoot!
      I guess I need to keep up with the Gage’s…

    2. Mary-Ellen says:

      Thanks for this info. I saw a guy at the gym a few days ago with them and he left before I got the chance to ask him where he got them. Looking forward to getting a pair and trying them out. Wish I had thought of them.

  4. Eve says:

    Sounds good!

  5. Rolfing is very good for getting the soft tissue to relax and to release harmful toxins.

    If you are looking for true structural alignment then you must learn about what is called: Upper Cervical Specific Care.

    This is a sub-specialty of Chiropractic which consists of locating and correcting subluxation (mis-alignment) at the area where the head meets the neck.

    Upper Cervical Subluxation causes mis-alignment along the entire spine if left uncorrected.

    What is even more important is that all of your nerves pass through the Atlas and Axis (UC Spine)which is your vital brainstem.

    Subluxation (mis-alignment) at this level causes interference in the proper mental impulse between your brain and your body.

    This undesirable condition may be responsible for heart problems, liver problems, kidney trouble, infertility, etc.

    Ever hear about the guy that had a great diet, a good job, was happy, exercised regularly, even had a recent medical examination, but one morning was going for his usual run and dropped dead of a heart attack?

    Medically it is a complete mystery, and yet in Upper Cervical Care, this is what we would expect if they were suffering from Upper Cervical Subluxation and no one ever told them about this or checked them for this problem beforehand.

    Is this important? We tell everyone that we can because it is LIFE and Death, literally.

    I would be happy to go into discussion with anyone about this, but this message needs to get out into the world so that we can experience better health.

    1. Randy Gage says:

      Thanks, be sure and see last week’s post on chiropractic.

      -RG

    2. Woody says:

      Hey Dr. Antone,

      Are you just talking about correcting the OA joint? This is done by most, if not all, chiropractors.

      The reason this gets misaligned is usually not because there is something inherently wrong with the OA joint, but rather it can stem from uneven leg length, side-bent sacrums, and anything else below it.

      The brains main goal for outside perception of the world is to keep the eyes horizontal. Since most people have slight scoliosis and other discrepancies, this causes the head to be sidebent at the first vertebrae.

      You are wrong is saying that all the nerves pass through this joint, but one of the most important ones, the vagus nerve, which innervates the heart, whole GI system, and many other important structures does pass through the jugular foramen at the OA joint. That’s why it important to have the upper part of your neck corrected by a competent chiropractor or osteopathic doctor.

      I think what you are saying is a little misleading, but I do agree that everyone should have their spine, including the OA and AA joints, aligned every now and then, just like Randy said in his chiropractic post.

  6. The most basic lesson that health professional learn about human physiology is that structure=function. What’s interesting is that based on the stresses you put on the body, structure changes to accommodate the function demanded of it…so if you’re sitting in a chair all day the body makes the smart choice to weaken certain muscles and tighten others. It’s a HEALTHY response by the body.

    The body depends on movement for waste removal (lymph system), as well as cardiovascular, bone, and psychological health. When you’re body’s not moving, it becomes more susceptible to injury as well as less tolerable to pain.

    Really enjoying the health series Randy 🙂

  7. douglas says:

    -RG,

    When I get a massage often the next day I feel “sick” like a having a cold. My therapist says it’s my body releasing toxins and suggests to drink lots of water.

    Have you experienced that with Rolfing or Soma and if so what do they suggest to do?

    Thanks,
    -DJM

    1. Randy Gage says:

      I don’t, bit I drink 5 or 6 bottles of water a day, and drink more after a massage.

      -RG

  8. Mary-Ellen says:

    It concerns me that something that creates that much discomfort would not ultimately be beneficial. I’m grateful not to have any aches or pains but I’m glad it is beneficial to those who are gaining relief from it.

  9. Karl says:

    The Skeptic’s Dictionary on Rolfing.
    http://www.skepdic.com/rolfing.html

    Why bogus therapies seem to work
    http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/altbelief.html

    I also have a herniated disc. I was also due to go under the knife. But by the time I got to see the specialist I was feeling a lot better so no operation for me. Given enough time these things will often improve. I do a few simple back exercises, lost some weight and strengthened my abs. No need to align my Chi, balance my humors, rub a crystal, get pricked by needles, or or any other S.C.A.M. (Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

    There’s an old saying about nostrums:-If you take this remedy you’ll get better in 7 days. If you take nothing it’ll take a week.

  10. ExerciseMan says:

    Thanks for the enlightenment!

  11. Randy,
    Rolfing sounds very beneficial to the body and mind. Many people have serious physical problems and often go the traditional route. I am more of a holistic healer myself.

  12. Zhannur says:

    I read that Neo-rolfing is way better and advanced than Rolfing

  13. Annie says:

    I have never heard of these procedures, so I cannot comment on their efficacy.

    However, I’m incredulous about that shoe size thing Randy. Whoa! I don’t know about that. That sounds just plain wierd and unbelievable to me.

    I looked up rolfing and I am sure it can be beneficial to some. I know during pregnancy women’s bodies get out of line. Maybe, that’s something to think about.

    Two shoe sizes?!?!? I just, I don’t know.

    1. Randy Gage says:

      I gave away more than $100,000 worth of shoes, so trust me on this! Most anyone that has done Rolfing or Soma experiences some similar kind of change in part of their body. For most people it’s getting taller. Bu7t remember, they’re not really getting taller; they already were. The treatment allows they’re muscles and tendons to release and expand to their natural proportion.

      -RG

      1. Annie says:

        Alright. Just imagine the devastation that would have caused Cinderella! 🙂

        Annie

  14. Hey! Randy,
    Thanks for posting this! I found a Rolfer in our area, and my husband has an appointment tomorrow. Hopefully he will be able to help him relieve some serious chronic pain and alignment issues he has! 🙂

  15. Lene Jytte Hansen says:

    When I was 19 – 20 years old I broke my spine when a motorbike drove into me – flying through the air and landed on my bottom. I think this might be a good idea for me. Thank’s.

    1. Randy Gage says:

      For sure after a trauma like that!

      -RG

  16. Carmen says:

    I had serious RSI issues that affected my shoulders. It started with a car accident but then computer work compounded the issue until I had pretty bad RSI. I got the point where I couldn’t even throw a ball anymore. After my first Rolfing session that changed. I was amazed at the difference. I’d been to so many different massage therapists before, many of them recommended by others, but nothing had produced this result before. I was very encouraged and continued with the other 9 appointments to complete 10 as recommended. It costs a lot more than traditional massage but I have to say that it is better value for money. I now go as required. A lot of things improved for me, and I think it may be why the intensive chiropractic treatment that followed it worked so well. I can happily recommend my Rolfer in Melbourne – Michael Arnel, Canterbury, Ph: 9888 4119, http://www.rolfing.com.au/. My chiropractor calls Rolfing “the Rolls Royce of massage”! I have to agree.

  17. Elly says:

    I don’t have access to Rolfing practitioners where I live and have found that Osteopathy and McTimoney Chiropractices left me in so much pain with no results (after having treatments every month for over a year). For me Bowen Technique has been remarkable, it is gentle, non invasive and allows the body to correct itself (which is the weirdest feeling). It can help so many conditions.

  18. My friend, alignment is so important in EVERY dimension of our lives 🙂

  19. Victoria Crowley says:

    Randy,

    What an interesting subject!

    I have several friends with back problems and will definitely pass on the information from your post to them…

    It’s a good thing that I do not need such alignment…, I don’t think that two size increment in my shoe size would be flattering…:)

    And the shoes that you had to give away…, I am estimating 20 pairs, for me would be a very painful experience :), especially shoes of that quality 🙂

    Victoria

  20. Balazs Nagy says:

    Hi
    Does somebody learn from Tom Myers?
    If yes email me please.
    Thank you

  21. P says:

    Ohmygawd this sounds like something I need for my misaligned body! Im not in so much pain anymore but my pelvis/hips are not even and have a little scoliosis..also have a bit of cervical fusion. I have been told I have spodylitis. You think this can help?

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