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What kind of people come for Rolfing?
The list is long: judges, computer programmers, nurses, ballet dancers, merchant marines, architects, bassoonists, lawyers, dentists, stock traders, fashion designers, cooks, bank tellers, pilots, surgeons, dog-walkers, painters, stay-at-home mothers, biologists, CEO's, psychotherapists, real estate agents, acrobats, poets, some busking street musicians on one hand, then a number of artists who can boast their Oscars, Grammys, Emmys. I've even had Republicans in my practice. And this list can go on.
But still... I can't say that "everyone" should come for Rolfing. Because despite their wild diversity, all my clients have these five qualities in common.
Higher than average emotional intelligence. Every day after work I step out of my bubble and into the "real" world of San Francisco. Then, I really notice that I have the privilege of working with clients who are of above-average emotional intelligence. Empathic, interested, and aware. Compared to my clients, the average people in the outside world, crowding downtown and BART, seem dull, distracted, and a quite apathetic.
Believe me, it is a great gift to work only with people of such high emotional intelligence. It makes my work very rewarding.
Education level. My average client has completed a college degree or more. If not, then they have dedicated a lot of time to mastering a non-academic skill. Martial arts, woodblock printing, gardening or tango dancing, just to name a few. The common denominator seems to be passion, focus, and discipline.
An awareness that they're on a journey. Once in a while, I'll get a call from a complete stranger who wants to book an entire 10-session Rolfing series with me and pay $1500 before ever meeting me in person. What kind of person does that? Someone who is fully aware that they are on a journey of self-improvement, and that I'm just a temporary companion who will give the impulse for the mind-body to make the changes that it needs to make.
But even for those who don't take such a big leap of faith, there is a similar awareness. It's a belief that a greater force will guide the process. This force is greater than just me "fixing" a person's body, which is the mentality that people often have when they request a pill from a doctor. The awareness of being on a journey puts a positive spin on pains and discomforts so that people say, "This experience is a learning experience." Not only do my clients become better people through the journey, but the lack of negativity around their pain allows them to heal. Clinical research has shown that negative thoughts about areas in the body can significantly reduce blood circulation in those areas.
Conscientiousness. Defined as being careful, task-oriented, self-disciplined, and organized, conscientiousness is something I see in most of my clients. Yet, they are all so very different. Regardless of social or income class, cultural background, or profession, many of my clients possess a core of conscientiousness that is polished and strengthened through the Rolfing process.
Perfectionism. I estimate that over 90% of my Rolfing clients are perfectionists. And I'm not tossing this word around lightly. I don't mean Type A personalities, which I rarely see in my practice. I specifically mean perfectionists, people who strive to do their best in all aspects of their lives, including their personal relationships and their health. But since the world is so im-perfect, the perfectionist, who wants to achieve something and be a nice person, can only direct any frustrations or anxieties into the body. Type A personalities, by contrast, have zero misgivings about releasing their aggressions on other people. A perfectionist doesn't have this luxury, hence a high rate of back pain.
But never fear. Rolfing helps the perfectionist to channel these tensions out off the body and expands the physical-emotional space to accept reality as it is.
So... even if these characteristics don't seem to describe you, Rolfing may still be a good modality for you. After all, you're reading this post. The average guy out there wouldn't be interested :-).
Drop me a note if you have any questions at all!
I'm a Certified Advanced Rolfer in downtown San Francisco. I have 17 years of experience with all different kinds of Rolfing clients.
Visit my website at www.standard-gravity.com.