So, Why Are You Working On My Feet When It Is My Neck That Hurts?

 

rolfingNine years ago I was diagnosed with a herniation at C5/6 in my neck. I was told I would need surgery after the physical therapists could not help. I had done my research and surgery was not going to be an option. I found a well known yoga instructor who did work with back issues and the first thing he said was “I can’t help you. You need to go get Rolfed (R)!” Even though I never had heard of Rolfing, I managed to find someone who did and my journey began.

During the second session, the Rolfer was working on my feet in a way that was not very soothing! I finally had to ask her what she was doing down there when the problem was in my neck. She responded by telling me that the problem was in my feet, that I had no foundation and it was showing itself up through my spine, all the way to my head!

I have related this story to many of the people who have come to see me for various issues since I became a Rolfer. Dr. Ida Rolf, the originator of Structural Integration, best known as Rolfing, developed a way of working through the body in a systematic way. We refer to this system as the Ten Series. What can happen in other modalities is that you feel pain in some area and you have a therapist work on that area and it feels better…. for a while. Then the pain comes back and off you go for another adjustment. With the Ten Series, we don’t chase pain. We work with principles that guide us. First we start with better breath, then we work on grounding, and so on; constantly keeping in mind why you came to our office in the first place.

What really sets what I do apart from other area therapists is once things are opened up and balanced, I work with you to change your movement patterns so you don’t continue to do the things that started the pain in the first place. You don’t come to get Rolfed so that I can give that “Magic Pill”. You come so that you can change patterns that were at one time helpful, but now are tearing you down. To find BALANCE!

I have come to understand why my body revolted years ago. Every step I took caused my spine to move ever so slightly in an unnatural way. Eventually, the result was pain and then nerve damage. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been very rewarding to find balance and help others to do the same.  

Jeff Castle, Rolfer 

Jeff’s website is www.castlerolfing.com

Misnomer Alert: Alternative Medicine

We find the phrase alternative medicine problematic when describing what we do here. The phrase already brings to mind very specific ideas about who and what we are. None of which fit us.

 

First, let’s define the word alternative:

something available as another possibility where each option is mutually exclusive

 

– a behavior that is considered unconventional and seen as a challenge to traditional norms

 

We do not view ourselves as the other possibility that must be signed up for in lieu of something else. We view ourselves as complimentary to many paths and disciplines. We do not want you to quit going to see other people in deference for us. We view ourselves as a compliment to the care you find in many places and offices. We definitely do not consider ourselves mutually exclusive.

 

As far as the second definition, any of the modalities offered at our location are no longer classified in the unconventional or challenge to traditional norms category. All of our modalities have been in this country for quite some time and are accepted modes used by many people. More and more people know what acupuncture and Rolfing ™ are; not only know what they are, but use them as well.

alternative medicine 

Second, the word medicine:

  • the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease

 

We do not prevent, cure, treat, or diagnosis any western diseases. The practitioners here, by law, are not allowed. None of them are M.D.s, the only people who can do the things listed. We do talk about the body in terms of energetics and have our own method for interfacing with the body in these terms.

 

So, what are we, if not alternative medicine?

 

We are advocates for health and longevity; we are visionaries who see the body and mind working together in one totality; we are complimentary care. Come and visit and tell us what your definition is!

Pain! Pain! Go away!

By A.J. Crolli

Who has not asked pain to go away?  Pain can be debilitating and numbing to so much of life.  But what do you do when it just won’t stop?

Pain can be viewed as a form of energy or information that the mind processes.  Sometimes, as with any form of information, pain information gets misdirected.   People who suffer from chronic back issues, knee problems, chronic myalgias, etc. may become victims of pain-energy redirection. pain loop 

The term pain-loop, as coined by Dr. Levine and Dr. Philips, basically implies that if a pain signal is not relieved within a short amount of time, then a pain signal loop is set-up in the primitive, subconscious parts of the brain.  This works like a corrupt program on a computer hard-drive.  The brain keeps running this loop over and over again even though the original reason for this information may now no longer exist.  

Our data base corruption is different for each of us because we all perceive events or stimuli differently.  Our perceptions of traumatic events and internal and external stimuli are based upon our belief systems and these system’s chain reactions.  Our beliefs come from our family lives, culture, religion, etc.  These beliefs then generate our feelings; our feelings then generate our emotions; our emotions then can condense in our physical bodies if we hold on to them instead of releasing them naturally.  When a triggering event occurs, all the previous traumas of our lives that are stored in the brain’s survival zones are also now in play.

As an example, if you had a traumatizing hospitalization in your childhood years, it could predispose you to panic attacks and an excess perception of pain even from routine dental visits.  Many people in chronic pain didn’t learn in their formative years a methodology on how to cope with uncomfortable or distressing experiences.  It’s the fear about pain or any negative physical reaction that sets the stage for the chronic pain loop.  It’s very real and we become what we fear the most.  Emotional and physical pain operate in the same parts of the brain; even a chronic negative response pattern can be traumatizing and very real.  

Part of our defense mechanisms are the primal responses of flight-fight-freeze.  Many experts talk about the flight-fright response but not so much about the freeze.  A freeze response can precipitate into a condensing pattern, like a turtle tucking itself in its shell.  It shows up in the body with the crunching of the shoulders, the tucking of the head, and possibly a paralyzing or numbing feeling.  This response can even be seen in the musculoskeletal system.  The corresponding mental freeze response would be feeling stuck or trapped in a particular situation and too paralyzed to change it.  You then start to shrink from triggering situations, people, places, or things.  All three can spin off various other reactions in the mind/body when they get stuck in a chronic state.  And these all can cause pain.  By unlocking the pain-loop cycles, much relief can be generated in the body as well as the mind.  And then we can sing that pain away!