Monthly Archives: April 2013

Rolfing: A Modern Type of Stress Relief

Frustrated Woman at Computer With Stack of Paper

People often come into my Denver City Rolfing practice asking if Rolfing can help relieve the aches and pains they feel in their bodies from being consistently stressed out.  The good news is that the answer is most definitely yes!


Rolfing is a physical technique that involves the manipulation of a body’s soft tissues. Another term for this technique is structural integration. Rolfing organizes the relationships of soft tissues to each other in order to bring about a harmonious body structure and freer movement patterns. This is said to enhance a person’s well-being. It is currently being used in many circles of alternative medicine and is thought to be an excellent process for helping a person relieve stress and move more freely.

Ida Pauline Rolf is the woman responsible for creating this technique, which has been rightly named after her. In the 1950’s Rolf used her knowledge in biochemistry to develop a method which involves a body’s structural realignment in relation to gravity. She called this process Structural Integration of the Human Body. Ever since the 1970’s, Rolfing has been used as a technique to realign the body and create a more harmonious state of well-being.

The process of Rolfing involves touching the skin of a person in order to find any imbalances in the tissue structure of a body and to separate what Ida Rolf called fascial layers that adhere and muscles that have been pulled out of position due to strain or energy. Rolfing is a massage-like technique that works to alleviate these tissues of any stress that may have caused them harm. Also, according to Rolfing, all parts of the body aligned, including ankles, pelvis, hips, knees, shoulders, etc. It is only in this way that the body will be balanced with gravity and thus in a state of deep relaxation and happiness. When a body is aligned, gravity is supposed to enhance a person’s personal energy and bring about happiness and health.

Learning these techniques is hard to do, and a certified Rolfing therapist spends a few years studying the technique, which costs about $10,000. There is only one school, in Colorado, which teaches this technique, although there a couple other schools that teach similar techniques called structural integration rather than Rolfing. Although they are different in name, the techniques are generally the same.

There is some skepticism given to Rolfing, though therapists using the technique have found it to be successful and many clients have said to be relaxed and happy when they leave a Rolfing session. Using tissue therapy and the natural force of gravity, Rolfing is continuing to grow and is becoming a more commonly used technique throughout the world.

To learn more about the benefits of Rolfing, click here to visit the Denver City Rolfing website.

Orlando news story about Rolfing

ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -Christie Jauch gets massages regularly.  She recently decided to try new therapy called “rolfing,” for the first time.

Rolfing is a registered trade marked practice where a specially certified rolfer adjusts the connective tissue to realign the entire body.

Lu Mueller-Kaul earned her certification 5 years ago.  She says, “As a rolfer, I can look at a person and I can say, okay in your case, you’re pulling the shoulders too far back.  You’re actually over compensating. You’re making your posture worse than it should be, and I want to loosen up the areas between the shoulder blades. I want to make it more possible for you to straighten your spine from within.”

Unlike regularly message therapy, rolfers typically start their patients lying on their sides.

“We do a lot of work in different positions,” says Mueller-Kaul.  “With lying on the side, I have a different way of working around the shoulder blade, working in these areas where we can actually get under the shoulder blade from under the armpit, where we can just work out these limitations and range of motions.”

Jauch is a college student and used to cheer for the University of Central Florida.  Now, she plays soccer for her sorority.

“She feels pretty good, and what I noticed from her overall structure, is she’s well aligned, says Mueller-Kaul, who did notice a few tense spots.

“Through injury, repetitive motion through small inflammations, through micro tears you get different structures that are kind of stuck together.,” she says.  “You get one muscle then layer of connective tissue and another layer of connective tissue and another muscle and through these processes they’re kind of glued together so you move the one muscle and you drag the other one along with it.”

With her hands, Mueller-Kaul applies pressure, using her own body weight and makes an adjustment.

“It’s not like a chiropractor adjustment.  It’s much more. I’m moving the tissue next to the vertebrae to give more freedom of motion.”

She works a lot with athletes and people who suffer from chronic pain.  Much of her concentration centers on the spine.  Traditionally, clients will come in for a rolfing session once a week for 10 weeks, with each session concentrating on a different region of the body.

“At first, it was a little tense and rough.  As the session went on, I got more relaxed. It got easier,” said Jauch.  “I could almost feel the tissues moving, so it’s kind of cool.”

We asked if she would do it again, to which she replied, “I think it’s expensive. but definitely worth it.

A full session is $125, but Jauch sees the potential for the long-term benefit.

“I feel like, during a massage, I would feel better, but I feel like this would be better after it.  It would benefit me more.

Read more:

Mind-Body Exercises

Harnessing the power of the mind-body connection

The mind-body connection means that you can learn to use your thoughts to positively influence some of your body’s physical responses, thereby decreasing stress. If you recall a time when you were happy, grateful or calm, your body and mind tend to relax.

Research has shown that when you imagine an experience, you often have similar mental and physical responses to those you have when the event actually happens. For example, if you recall an upsetting or frightening experience, you may feel your heart beating faster, you may begin to sweat, and your hands may become cold and clammy.

Whether you have been diagnosed with an illness or need to prepare for a medical procedure such as surgery, it is very important to minimize the negative effects and maximize the healthy, healing aspects of your mind-body connection.

A variety of calming and empowering mind-body exercises have been proven to help people:

  • Decrease anxiety
  • Decrease pain
  • Enhance sleep
  • Decrease the use of medication for post-surgical pain
  • Decrease side effects of medical procedures
  • Reduce recovery time and shorten hospital stays
  • Strengthen the immune system and enhance the ability to heal
  • Increase sense of control and well-being

I Hope you enjoy these helpful hints to strengthening the Mind Body Connection from the Cleveland Clinic. Remember Rolfing can be a great way to bring your body and mind into alignment.

While the exercises described are not alternatives to medical or surgical treatments, they provide a powerful way for you to actively participate in your own health care, minimize pain and insomnia and promote recovery.

Calming/Relaxation Exercises

The goal of calming and relaxation exercises is to help change the way you perceive a situation and react to it — to help you feel more in control, more confident or secure, and to activate healing processes within the body. Become aware of any tension, anxiety, change in breathing, or symptoms that you recognize as being caused or worsened by stress. When you take about 15 minutes daily to practice these exercises to help “quiet” your mind and help your body become more relaxed, you can then call upon this ability with a shorter relaxation exercise at a stressful time.

Relaxation Breathing Practice

  • Be aware of your current breathing pattern and learn how to change your breathing rate from fast, shallow chest breathing to slow, abdominal breathing.
  • Focus on your breath while you place one hand on your chest, the other over your navel. Imagine there is a balloon in your abdomen. As you take a slow, deep breath, focus on inflating the balloon in your abdomen. You will notice that your abdomen will rise much more than your chest. As you exhale, just let your abdomen fall naturally.
  • The goal is to learn how to breathe at 6 breaths a minute, about 3 or 4 seconds inhaling and 6 or 7 seconds exhaling. Once you have the slow, deep breathing accomplished, don’t worry about counting and imagine breathing out any tension in the body or thoughts that get in the way of comfort and relaxation.
  • If it helps, you can imagine a spot located on your abdomen, just below your navel. Breathe into and through that spot, filling your abdomen with air, allowing it to expand. Imagine the air filling you inside from your abdomen, and then let it out, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow breath out, you should feel more relaxed.
Try this exercise that incorporates a few different relaxation techniques:
  • Begin by interrupting your normal daily thoughts. Think about what is going on around you. Then switch your thoughts to yourself and your breathing. Take a few deep breaths, exhaling slowly.
  • Mentally scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped, such as your neck or shoulders. Loosen up these areas. Let go of as much tension as you can.
  • Slowly rotate your head to the left in a smooth, circular motion, leaning your left ear to your left shoulder. Rotate your head to the right in a smooth, circular motion, leaning your right ear to your right shoulder. (Stop any movements that cause pain.)
  • Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all of your muscles completely relax.
  • Recall and focus on a pleasant memory.
  • Take another deep breath and exhale slowly. You should feel more relaxed.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • Progressive muscle relaxation involves sequentially tensing and then relaxing specific muscle groups in the body, one at a time, and progressing throughout the entire body.
  • The key to this exercise is to tighten a specific muscle group for at least 5 seconds until you feel the tension, and then release the muscles for 10 seconds, noticing the difference in how the muscles feel before and after the exercise.
  • You can start by relaxing the muscles in your legs and feet, working up through each muscle group to your neck, shoulders, and scalp.

Mind Relaxation

Close your eyes. Breathe normally through your nose. As you exhale, silently say to yourself the word “one,” or any other short word such as “peaceful,” or a phrase such as “I feel quiet” or “I’m safe.” Continue for 10 minutes. If your mind wanders, gently remind yourself to think about your breathing and your chosen word or phrase. Let your breathing become slow and steady.

Guided Imagery

Research shows that guided imagery and relaxation can decrease anxiety and pain and possibly shorten your hospital stay. Guided imagery is often presented on an audio program in which you are guided in using your imagination to induce peace, calm, strength and control. The calming music accompanying guided imagery can be helpful in quieting the mind.

The Cleveland Clinic Heart Center offers a free guided imagery programs for patients undergoing surgery and other procedures. Learn more

Heart Center patients may also bring their own relaxation or guided imagery tapes. Please ask your doctor or nurse for more information.

Healing Services Touch Therapies Program

The Touch Therapies Program includes light massage therapy, Reiki and Healing Touch™ to assist your recovery from medical or surgical interventions. The Touch Therapies Program is offered through a partnership between the Healing Services Team and the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.

Massage Therapy is used to support your medical condition and aid recovery from procedures. Massage can help reduce muscle tension, relieve stress and soothe pain. A light, 10-minute massage (with your physician’s approval) can assist your experience of well-being as you are healing. Fee-based massage therapy is offered to family members and visitors to help decrease stress so they can effectively support you.

Healing Touch™ and Reiki are relaxing, nurturing energy therapies where gentle touch assists in balancing your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being to promote a deep sense of relaxation. These therapies work with your energy to support your natural ability to heal.

To receive any of these complimentary touch therapies, please call Healing Services at
ext. 59543 on your hospital phone or 216.445.9543. For more information about our program, please see the section in your binder, “Healing Services Touch Therapies Program.”

Healing Services Team

The Healing Services Team provides a comprehensive approach to help you during your hospital recovery. Services include holistic nursing, spiritual care and complimentary touch therapies as described previously. If you would like someone from the Healing Services Team to visit you, please call ext. 59543 on your hospital phone or 216.445.9543. You can also ask your nurse to place an order.

Mind-Body Coach

A Mind-Body Coach is a trained professional who can teach you multiple ways to use your mind to reach a higher level of peace, calm and comfort before surgery. You’ll also learn the “tools” to help you during recovery, including guided imagery. To schedule a one-on-one session with the Mind-Body Coach before or after surgery, please call Healing Services at ext. 59543 on your hospital phone or 216.445.9543. Please note this is a fee-based service. You can also ask your nurse to place an order.

Self Help Relaxation Techniques

These techniques will help you release muscle tension and relieve pain. Practice these techniques as often as necessary.

  • Fold and Hold: If a muscle in the shoulders or neck is tight, you can release it without rubbing it. Just bend toward the tight side and hold it for 90 seconds. The muscle should be soft after doing this. this causes any strain on the incision site, stop immediately. Please do not use this method on the legs.
  • Chucking/Jostling: If a muscle is tight, brush lightly over the muscle with your hand and it should release in 30 seconds. Do not rub over any muscles that are near or under an incision, tube or if a medical device is implanted in the area.

Spiritual Practices

Centering prayer and meditation are some of the oldest methods of relaxation involving a specific mental focus. These techniques induce a deep state of relaxation and well-being. Many people find spiritual practices helpful in achieving total mind-body relaxation.

At Cleveland Clinic, a chapel is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to people of all faiths. The chapel is located on the first floor of the Glickman Tower, next to the Q elevators. The Red Coat staff can provide directions. A Muslim prayer room is also available.

To schedule a clergy visit from Spiritual Care, please call ext. 42518 on your hospital telephone or 216.444.2518. Or call our 24-hour Prayer Line at ext. 57200 or 216.445.7200.

Music and Art Therapy

Under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist, music therapy combines music and therapeutic techniques and aids in the physiological, psychological and emotional well-being of the individual during treatment of an illness.

Art therapy utilizes art media and the creative process to help patients in their healing and recovery. Art therapy can help patients decrease anxiety, manage stress, and deal with emotional issues.

For more information click here to visit the Denver City Rolfing website.



Forget high-school-gym wisdom. Use this myth-busting plan for breakthroughs in flexibility, performance, and injury prevention. And remember Rolfing can be a great way to keep your body in peek physical condition as you try out the New Rules of Stretching.



“Enjoy the excellent article by Bill Hartman and follow these tips to a stronger more flexible you.

Unless you need to build your tolerance for boredom, most stretching is a waste of time. After all, when you review the research, it’s clear that the most widely held principles of flexibility training simply don’t work. Which is why few guys ever stick with it and even regular practitioners struggle to touch their toes. Worse, follow those age-old rules closely, and studies show that you’ll actually be more likely to suffer a pulled muscle than if you hadn’t stretched at all.

That’s why it’s time we rewrite the book on stretching and provide you with a flexibility plan that’s not only effective, but also simple, fast, and painless. Your first order of business is to forget everything your high-school gym coach, workout partner, or yoga-loving girlfriend ever told you about stretching. Then memorize the new rules that follow. The benefit? You’ll reduce your risk of injuries, improve your overall athleticism, and have an easier time tying your shoes. (If you do get injured, you won’t be sidelined for long if your follow the secrets doctors know in The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies.)

Flexibility 101

Before we get to the rules, it’s important to understand the basic—but typically misunderstood—science of stretching. First, a couple of definitions. There are two major types of stretching: static and dynamic.

You’re probably more familiar with the former. For instance, a static stretch for your hamstrings is what you think it is—a movement in which you lean forward until you feel a slight discomfort in the target muscle, then stretch the muscle by holding that position for a few seconds.

Although it’s often prescribed as an injury-prevention measure, static stretching before a workout might be the worst of all strategies. Because it forces the target muscle to relax, it temporarily makes it weaker. As a result, a strength imbalance can occur between opposing muscle groups. For example, stretching your hamstrings causes them to become significantly weaker than your quadriceps. And that may make you more susceptible to muscle strains, pulls, and tears in the short term.

Static stretching also reduces bloodflow to your muscles and decreases the activity of your central nervous system—meaning it inhibits your brain’s ability to communicate with your muscles, which limits your capacity to generate force. The bottom line: Never perform static stretching before you work out or play sports.

Now, before you abandon static stretching for good, realize that it does have value. That’s because improving your “passive” flexibility through static stretches is beneficial in the nonathletic endeavors of everyday life—such as bending, kneeling, and squatting. All you have to know is the right stretch for the right time.

The Rules of Static Stretching

When: Any time of day, except before a workout

Why: To improve general flexibility

How: Apply these guidelines:

Stretch twice a day, every day. Any less frequently and you won’t maintain your gains in flexibility—which is why most flexibility plans don’t work. Twice a day may seem like a lot, but each “session” will require as little as 4 minutes of your time. Also, there’s no need to “warm” your muscles before stretching; that’s a myth. So you can stretch at work, while you’re watching TV, or while you’re grilling burgers.

Keep in mind that duration matters. You can increase passive flexibility with a static stretch that’s held for as little as 5 seconds, but you get optimal gains by holding it between 15 and 30 seconds, the point of diminishing returns.

Finally, do just one stretch for each tight muscle. Because most of the improvements in flexibility are made on the first stretch, repeating the same movement provides little benefit.

What: Use these movements to stretch your entire body. Do as shown and, for all but number 2, switch sides and repeat the stretch with the opposite arm or leg.

Upper Trapezius

Place your left hand on your head as shown and position your right arm behind your back. Gently pull your head toward your shoulder.

Latissimus Dorsi

Position your body as shown, then push your arms into the Swiss ball and your chest toward the floor.


Position your body in front of a wall as shown and lean forward to stretch.



Position your body as shown and push your hips forward while keeping your torso upright.


Place your arm against a door frame or wall as shown, then move your shoulder forward.


Place your foot on a sturdy box or bench as shown, then lean forward from the hips until you feel a stretch.”

To learn more visit the Denver City Rolfing website.

Spring Fitness Ideas

It’s time to start thinking about getting back in shape.  A great way to help your body get ready to all the activities you enjoy is the Rolfing 10-Series.  Rolfing Structural Integration can bring your body to a place of balance to better handle the stress and strain of a Spring Training exercise program.



Check out this great article by Gail Sessoms on some simple ways to jump start your Spring Fitness goals.

“Many people are less active in the colder months and begin to think about getting in shape during the spring. A spring fitness plan might be a challenge if you have been indoors for a few months and engaging in mostly sedentary activities, such as watching television. You have a better chance of reaching your fitness goals if you start slowly, chose enjoyable activities and increase your activity as your fitness level improves.

Hula Hooping

Hula hooping is a spring fitness activity that is fun, low-impact and effective. Hooping, which uses hoops weighing about 3 lbs., works all of your major muscle groups during a workout. Hooping strengthens your core muscles in your abdomen, hips, back and pelvis, and improves your fitness for other activities. You can use the hula hoop to warm up for other activities or as a complete aerobic workout. You can hoop at home or find a class at a local gym or community center.


Bicycling gets you outdoors in the spring with a fitness group, family or friends. Your choices include riding your bike in your community or along a familiar trail, or working your way up to touring rides or mountain biking. Bicycling is an aerobic activity that can also strengthen your joints and improve flexibility. Stationary cycling can get in shape for more challenging outdoor bicycling. Bike shops and fitness facilities can help you find classes, groups or biking trails.


Start your spring fitness program with 30- to 60-minute walking sessions four to five times a week. Walking, performed for longer periods, can provide the same benefits as running, according to Tom Labisch and Bob Corby, physical therapists writing for Walking is an aerobic activity with the bone-strengthening benefits of a weight-bearing exercise. Start with 15- to 20-minute walking sessions and increase your time each week by 20 percent. Once you are ready for more of a challenge, try Nordic walking with walking poles for increased cardiovascular benefit.


Running is an aerobic activity that delivers more impact and shock to your bones and joints. Start your spring program by running three times per week. Progress slowly during the first three weeks, which is the time your body requires to adapt to the change in activity, according to Labisch and Corby with Start out with five to 10 minutes of jogging and increase your time each week by about 10 percent. You may choose to run for 20 to 30 minutes three times a week, a schedule that also improves your health and fitness.”

Warning – Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

For more information click here to visit the Denver City Rolfing website.