Certified Advanced Rolfer™
“Strength that has effort in it is not what you need; you need the strength that is the result of ease. ”
Dr. Ida P. Rolf
For Deb, working with people is about building a partnership. She is looking forward to working with people who want to use Rolfing™ or BASE™ as the next step in their own well-being.
Deb worked as a physical therapist assistant for 17 years in hospitals and rehab settings. Working with people in healthcare raised a lot of questions for her about how we move through our lives physically and emotionally.
How can I stand up straight without always having to think about it?
How do I get rid of this chronic tension and anxiety for good?
Shouldn't athletes be able to do the sport they love without injuries?
So many people become more and more bent over as they get older.
Does that have to happen to me?
Her search for a path to greater physical mobility and emotional well-being led Deb to study Rolfing™ and BASE™.
In Rolfing, she started to understand that tension held in the body can lead to poor posture, low energy, or pain. After receiving her certificate from The Rolf Institute, she began her journey of bodywork as a vehicle toward change.
Deb became a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner through the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute. There, Deb began to understand how overwhelm can get physiologically lodged in the nervous system. Whether it’s through a physical injury or an emotional scenario, it can play out in our lives in a number of ways. These can include chronic stress, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, or digestive issues.
Through Somatic Experiencing, Deb found BASE. This stands for Bodywork and Somatic Education™. It is a hands-on work, which focuses on bringing regulation back to systems that have fallen out of balance due to physical or emotional overwhelm.
Deb believes that being human is an amazing adventure. She believes that pain-free movement is available to each of us, and that Rolfing and BASE are tools that can help bring a sense of easy, flowing mobility into everyday activities.
How Rolfing Works
Rolfing Structural Integration is a bodywork technique that uses hands-on work and movement to improve alignment and reduce tension in the body.
Some people might experience lack of ease in their bodies as pain, some might experience it as fatigue, while in others it might be postural misalignments.
Where tissue in the body has shortened and tightened, imbalances or lack of alignment can create pain, fatigue, or postural misalignment.
The Rolfer's aim is to identify ways in which a person holds structural imbalance. Rolfing uses tissue manipulation and movement to tap into the human body's innate resilience and capacity to change. As the body's inherent organization and order are reestablished, self-healing and self-regulating capabilities can be dramatically enhanced.
Rolfing is often done in a series of ten sessions, known as The 10-Series. These sessions are designed to systematically work through the entire body, moving from one area to another. Each session provides the groundwork for the next.
About Dr. Ida P. Rolf
Rolfing is named for its creator, Dr. Ida P. Rolf. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1920. Family health problems spurred Dr. Rolf to study osteopathic medicine, yoga, and chiropractic medicine among other techniques in her search for answers. For more information about Dr. Rolf visit the Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation website.
Rolfing unravels the areas of tension that contribute to misaligned posture and movement.
One way to approach Rolfing is through ten sessions called The 10-Series.
These sessions systematically balance and enhance the body's structure and movement.
Session 1: Breath and the Hips
Ease in breathing is fundamental to the body accepting change. The ribcage, head, neck, shoulder girdles, chest, and back all work together with the breath. Opening the hips begins in this session to allow the legs more freedom of movement under the pelvis.
Session 2: Support Through the Feet
The feet and ankles are the foundation of the body. Here, the focus is on stabilizing the foundation by working on the feet and lower legs.
Session 3: Opening the Sides and Shoulders
The head, shoulder girdle, and hips all need to relate to one another in a balanced way. Working through the sides of the body, the shoulders and low-back can help establish a freedom of movement and a new sense of ease.
Session 4: Opening the Inner Line of the Legs
Working from the inner arch of the foot up the line of the leg to the bottom of the pelvis, this session prepares the base of support needed for deeper unwinding of patterns in the torso and upper body.
Session 5: Continuing Through the Pelvis
Balanced, fluid movement from the legs can only provide good support to the upper body if the pelvis is also balanced and able to move. Session five focuses on making sure the lower abdominal region and the front of the hips are allowing the pelvis its full, natural mobility.
Session 6: Opening the Back of the Pelvis
The sacrum is the triangular bone at the base of the spine where the two pelvic bones and the spine intersect. Having created more openness in the front of the pelvis and hips, session 6 brings openness to the back line of the body. This allows the sacrum the ability to move with both the spine and the pelvis, giving the spine more freedom of movement.
Session 7: Putting the Head on Top
With support from the legs and openness in the pelvis bringing more mobility to the spine, the neck and head need the freedom to move in balanced ease on top of the spine.
Session 8: Integration Begins
Having found an improved structural alignment, the body needs to be able to take this new alignment into movement. This session focuses on revisiting areas that might still be holding tension in order to bring greater ease of movement to the entire body.
Session 9: Continuing Integration Across the Body
The body is moving at its best when movement crosses from one side to the other and back.
Session 10: Ending with Balance
The focus of Session 10 is to leave the body at the highest level of order and balance.
Bodywork and Somatic Education
Growing evidence shows the importance of touch in healing from trauma and overwhelm. Bodywork and Somatic Education™ (BASE™) is a hands-on approach to helping people return to balance and health.
The body is where we live. The pain from a physical injury or the stress from an emotionally overwhelming situation all get played out in the body. If the body is sending sensory information that registers as discomfort, pain, or stress, this can become a cycle of dysregulation that feeds on itself, resulting in the person feeling bad emotionally and physically. Common symptoms of this are PTSD, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, anxiety, digestive problems, headaches, feeling detached or forgetful, stress, irritability, or sleep difficulties.
The gentle technique of BASE work can help the body start to move toward regulation again, often easing the symptoms that were the result of dysregulation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I wear for Rolfing?
Traditionally, Rolfing is done with men in underwear and women in bra and underpants. If you want to wear gym shorts, that’s just fine. If women would prefer to wear a camisole or a tank top I can usually work around those. I may ask you to take the shirt off for some sessions, so ladies, please wear a bra.
Clothing should allow me to view and work your upper legs and arms, mid-back, and neck.
If you’re wearing a shirt with sleeves and/or a high neck, I may ask you to take it off so I can work on your shoulders, neck or back. Clothing should not pinch or bind. If you can lie on the table and pull one knee to your chest without resistance, you’re in good shape.
What NOT to wear for Rolfing
Please don't wear denim, heavy sweats, tight tights or heavy spandex. It’s difficult to work tissue through heavy material.
Please apply moisturizers, lotion, or oils lightly.
What should I wear for BASE?
Clothing that is comfortable and allows you to move easily is best. Unlike Rolfing, I don’t need direct contact with the skin to work, so workout clothes or leggings are fine.
Does Rolfing hurt?
Rolfing has a reputation of being a very painful technique. The purpose of Rolfing is to help the body open up and move more freely. Painful work is counterproductive to Rolfing’s basic goals.
My goal as a Rolfer is to work with each individual to find the amount of pressure that is both comfortable and will open tight areas of tissue.
How many sessions should I get?
With either Rolfing or BASE, I suggest you come in and get one session, and see how you respond to the work. If you like it, go on to try a few more sessions.
How long does a session last?
The length of a session can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes for both Rolfing and BASE. I aim for an hour and 15 minutes, but it varies depending on what we're doing.
How is Rolfing different from massage?
People often confuse Rolfing with deep tissue massage. Rolfing and massage may look similar at times, but the goals of the two are different.
Generally, the goal of massage is to decrease tension, improve circulation and bring a sense of relaxation to the client. The goal of Rolfing is to bring about structural changes with lasting benefits in posture and quality of movement.
Do the benefits of Rolfing last?
Yes. With areas of tension or old injury held in our bodies, we unconsciously move in ways that accommodate or protect these areas, pulling the structures out of alignment. In addition, gravity has a downward pull over time, leading to postures and habits of movement that can cause discomfort, pain, or a lack of energy.
As Rolfing brings length and openness to areas that have been tense and contracted, the body will start to find a new way of aligning on its own. People often find that the old way of moving starts to feel uncomfortable or awkward, reminding them to keep moving in a new way.
Habits of moving that have been established for a long time are unlikely to be completely changed in ten Rolfing sessions. However, Rolfing can reverse the patterns of habitual movement and create the trend toward realignment. Rolf clients will often experience reduced tension, less pain, increased range of motion and improved energy, as the body rediscovers its capacity for resilient change.
Who can benefit from Rolfing?
Anyone who is looking for more comfort and ease in their body can benefit from Rolfing. Many people who come to Rolfing want relief from chronic pain or help to rehabilitate an old injury. Other people come to correct a lifetime of poor posture that is worsening with age. Many athletes and artists use Rolfing to improve performance and extend their careers. Some people want more flexibility and energy. And others are seeking change in their lives and in their bodies. They see Rolfing as a way to reconnect with their bodies - emotionally, physically and spiritually - and ultimately acheive greater confidence, peace and joy.
Who can benefit from BASE?
People with PTSD, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, anxiety, digestive problems, headaches, feeling detached or forgetful, stress, irritability, or sleep difficulties might benefit from BASE.
How much does a session cost?
Each session costs $110.