I have always been skeptical by nature. I think skepticism is healthy, and that’one of the reasons I created this site is to help people skeptical about structural integration get better answers to their questions. When I first heard about Rolfing® Structural Integration, I liked what I heard about the goals, but I couldn’t believe the expense. The price tag set alarm bells off in my head, especially with all the unsubstantiated and unprovable claims I was reading all over the internet. It sounded like extremely expensive voodoo.
My brother — who had stumbled across a Rolfer’s business card on a crowded Barstow gas station bulletin board while on a road trip and had decided to try it out — assured me that the process was worth it, that I would appreciate the investment in myself and relish the results.
Coming from anyone else — most especially a Rolfer trying to get me to plunk down that kind of money on his or her services — that wouldn’t have meant much. But my brother and I had both been through countless sessions of acupuncture, chiropractic, tui-na, acupressure, and at-home, self-directed, masochistic pain massage administered by one another, and nothing had had any lasting effect on our different strains of chronic pain. His review meant something, so I tried it.
I have played hockey for fourteen years. Good body mechanics are essential to a powerful skating stride and a solid sense of balance. Over the years, as the injuries piled up, I had lost the ability to do things right. My chest was permanently caved in. I couldn’t breathe well, let alone skate well. I had debilitating pain in my forearms and hands which my doctor confidently declared was most definitely not carpal tunnel syndrome but for which he could do nothing but prescribe rest and drugs to numb the pain. I had a bum right shoulder that was too unstable to use to raise my right hand over my head. I hadn’t been able to sleep on my right side for five years.
After the first session, I walked home smiling cheek to cheek. My shoulders and chest had found home again. I could breathe. I could move without pain. Between sessions, I would worry and fret that the changes wouldn’t last, and sometimes my body would revert to old habits between sessions, but each session put me in a better place than the previous. By the end I was revved up to start learning how to help others with this process.
Thanks to some great teachers and practitioners, I’ve learned how to be with my body without constant pain and tension. These days I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to shows people in pain that there is a way out.