Sunday, December 19, 2010

DH Gets a Rolfing (Not ROFLing)

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When DH said he was getting Rolfed, I thought someone had made him laugh uncontrollably. The fact that he thought rolf was a misspelling of golf indicates how little time he spends hanging out on the interwebs. Silly man.

Still, let's hear about his experience and contemplate whether he's a genius or a glutton for punishment.

Even now, I still view the words rolf and rolfing and think, surely that’s a misspelling of golf and golfing. The American-pioneered therapy offers a sort of uber-massage that delves past the skin and muscle to the fascia bags that hold muscles together and the tendon/ligament structures that anchor our skeletal-muscular systems. Few activities are further removed from rolfing than golfing. Some have likened rolfing to yoga, only instead of bending yourself into impossible contortions, someone else bends you.

As I lay on a massage table and the rolfer, a football player with superior upper-body strength, carved a deep channel into my quadriceps with his sharp elbow, several thoughts flew through my head:

· I’m paying good money for this and it really, really hurts.

· If I tell Kim that I know what the pain of childbirth must be like, will she roll her eyes or slap me?

· Anything this uncomfortable has to be good for me in the long run, right?

· Good grief! (Not the actual words I was thinking.) How much longer is he going to do this?

· Just lie still and think of England.

To be fair, I was warned it would hurt. As in other aspects of life, pain may be meant to endure while aspiring towards a higher goal—in this case, improved posture and release from recurring pain caused by out-of-whack joints.

Sometimes, though, it hurt so bad all I could do was laugh. When I wasn’t laughing, I was wincing. Imagine going in for a deep-tissue massage, but the therapist not only refuses to relent when you say it’s too deep, but he digs deeper and more slowly. I lay there and thought about the bruising the rolfer assured me I’d experience the next day.

It is the next day as I write about this, and I still ache, although he left no visible welts for the jury to see. The dull pain reminds me I’m supposed to call to make my next appointment (perhaps that's the real purpose of it).

I’m not sure my fallen arches have risen or my pigeon toes are flying straighter. But I believe the notion that my decades of horrible posture have caused my body to cramp up, to limit my range of motion and possibly create scar tissue deep inside my limbs. So I’m willing to give it a few tries to see if I can detect improvement.

I had earlier wondered if rolfing would be like hitting myself with a hammer, then stopping. You feel so much better when you stop. Or maybe there would be a placebo effect, as with bloodletting back in the day, and I would only think I was feeling better because I want to.

But it can’t be that. I don’t feel any better yet. Even so I’m going back in for Round 2.


Michelle said...

Awesome. I get gwa-scha (or something sounding like that) on my elbow to remove scar tissue, and I would be so up on doing the rolfing. Where does one go to do this? But ummm yeah... the pain. Ohhh the pain. :)

Anonymous said...

I finished the whole rolfing series about a year ago following a year of back rehabilitation and chiropractic care that was going nowhere. Several months after concluding the series I broke my lifetime 5K goal by half a minute. I am now about 2 weeks away from my EDD and have had the easiest pregnancy imaginable and was able to run through week 35. I certainly questioned whether I was wasting my money after the first few sessions but felt profoundly better a few days after each of the remaining sessions and the results have been lasting. However I am concerned that you say rolfing hurts. I do enjoy deep-tissue massages, but my experience with rolfing was as gentle as a Swedish massage. I remember my rolfer saying that there have been relatively recent advances in rolfing training so that it doesn't have to hurt in order to be effective. Perhaps your rolfer recieved his/her training a while back. Regardless, I hope you received as much benefit as I did!