Saturday, February 7, 2015

Rolfing and Body Weight

Spontaneous miracles do happen. Several have even taken place in my office over the past ten years. One time, a client underwent a kind of energetic re-birthing (to my surprise) after which his back pain of fifteen years immediately vanished. 

Another discovered that she could communicate to plants and animals during the months of her Rolfing sessions.

Those examples are "miracles" in the sense that they are rare, inexplicable, unplanned, and not replicable. However, transformations that lead to feeling lighter and more harmonious, looking younger and straighter, and letting go of destructive patterns that bog down the body and mind – those are frequent changes that happen regularly in Rolfing. They are not miraculous, they are scientifically explainable.

But today I want to address one miracle that people want to ask about but usually don't: Does Rolfing help you lose weight? Is weight loss commonly observed with the Rolfing series? I'll start with the numbers from the last decade of giving Rolfing series:

Weight loss, spontaneous and unintended: 2 clients
Weight loss, as part of a gradual and holistic process: 114 clients

The main point I'd like to make here is that Rolfing alone, like anything, will not lead to a dramatic change in your figure, and it certainly won't change your body type.  In fact, any spontaneous and dramatic weight loss without diet or exercise is a sign of one of three things which require medical attention: cancer, AIDS, or the onset of Type II diabetes.  So, if you begin to resemble a success story from a late-night weight-loss infomercial, then go see your doctor immediately. 

As for the two clients who experienced spontaneous weight loss during their Rolfing series, I suspect that their metabolism was previously blocked by something which happened to be easily corrected by a cervical adjustment. By the same token, one young woman who was severely underweight suddenly sprang to an average size 4 after a single Rolfing session. She was ecstatic that she wasn't constantly hungry anymore. Until then, her days revolved around food, as her raging metabolism had caused a ravenous appetite around the clock.

If you are asking yourself questions along the lines of losing weight, let's begin with reality. The first thing that needs to be clarified is that body type does not change. With body type, I mean shape, size, and constitution: heavy and light, apple and pear, strong and limber. Body type is incredibly robust, determined by genetics and childhood nutrition.  Thin people tend to stay thin, big people tend to stay big, and so on.  That's the nature of body type. Read more in this informative article about weight in the New York Times. But if you are determined to embark on a journey adjust your weight, let me share with you the common qualities of the 114 clients who shed some pounds while they received their Rolfing sessions. Eye-balling their achievements, I'd say that they had lost on average 30 pounds, some up to one hundred pounds. Here are my observations:

They are in touch with their bodies. Or better said, they became in touch with their bodies, sometimes later in life.  The more you are in touch with your body, the easier it is to treat yourself well. Rolfing enhances the good feeling you have from being healthy. Hence, eating poorly feels worse than it did before. Being sleep-deprived is excruciating. Thus, in becoming more aware of how their bodies felt, and how good it is supposed to feel, many of these clients were shocked at how they had abused their bodies before. Rolfing is a very powerful tool for gaining body awareness and therefore one of the best things you can do to maintain your ideal weight. 

They are smart about their nutrition. San Francisco is notorious for producing extreme organic food crusaders, but I've seen some who truly transformed, from being all-out junk food gourmands to bordering on orthorexia, an eating disorder manifested through obsessing about food purity and cleanliness. But a healthy middle point of being aware, highly educated -- but not obsessed -- about food and nutrition is something many of my successful weight-balancing clients have in common. In a nutshell, I'd say that the simplest guidelines are: avoid added sugars and processed food.

They are smart about their exercise. They are head-over-heels in love with how great they feel when they are active. Note: positive reinforcement. Again, the Rolfing process enhances body awareness, so the natural feel-good response that your body has to exercise is also amplified.

They have a holistic approach. To their bodies, and to life. The weight-transformers who reap the greatest benefits from Rolfing are often already in some process of change by the time they call me. Many times I can hear in their voices a subtle determination which tells me that they already understand what they are going through, and I'm just going to be recruited to support their process. In other words, the same transformation that brought these clients to Rolfing was responsible for them losing weight in the first place. Often other changes are happening at the same time: getting a less stressful job, letting go of destructive relationships, moving into a healthier environment. 

Last but not least... There's no such thing as being too big for Rolfing! I've had people come to me after years of procrastinating because they were afraid that they were too fat to come see me for Rolfing. Simply said, there is no such thing! People of all shapes and sizes benefit from Rolfing, and my eyes are trained and oriented to see degrees of health and bio-mechanical posture, not cosmetics. If you feel you could improve your weight or body image (which does not necessarily mean that you are overweight), the most constructive place to start is to give your body loving care, and to be as educated as you can to treat your own body with the greatest compassion and acceptance as possible. Once you understand this, your body will be grateful.

And once again, I highly encourage you to read this article about genes and weight.

Be well!