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.