Archive for the 'Whole-Health Journey' Category

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

AND SO IT WAS that I was once again at the mercy of the esteemed Jason Sager, who unmakes and remakes his subjects’ musculature on his table. This is session three of the Ten Series I’m talking about, which is…

The “lateral line” session, Session 3 focuses on the sides of the body from ankle to armpit. This session helps to balance the body from front to back and begins to transition the work from surface to deeper fascial work. Many clients find a feeling of greater length of feeling taller at the end of this session. This is also a good decision point for a client to review how Rolfing is working for them and decide if they wish to continue through the full ten-series.

I did indeed feel taller after this session. I imagine it’s like being on one of those medieval racks of old, except not nearly so unpleasant – though I’ll admit, at one point I cried ‘uncle’ and had to take a short break. But truth be told, Jason is such a pro that he knew he needed to relent for a spell before I actually said anything.

Once more he had me stand up mid-way through our session, after he had only worked me over on my left side. Once again, I felt a bit like I was starring in a real-life V8 commercial, walking askance! But then we resumed, finishing the session, and overall I felt more relaxed, quite literally stretched, and like I was breathing better.

My decision: Let’s keep moving through the ten series! This is just getting good.

C’mon Sea Legs, Pull Yourself Together

So after letting a strange man put his hands all over me, I had to go back for more. For my second Rolfing session with Jason Sager, we worked on legs. Rolfing, if you recall, works directly on one’s fascia to remove restrictions in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles, giving the benefits of improved posture, muscular and skeletal pain relief, enhanced athletic performance (we’ll see when this one happens for me – I’m not holding my breath!), coordination and flexibility.

And this – the second in the foundational Rolfing ‘ten’ series – definitely moved me in this direction. Quoth Jason’s official explanation:

Session 2 is the first step towards rebuilding support in the legs. The primary territory for this session is below the knee, restoring motion between the bones of the feet, tuning up the arches, and starting to rebalance how the body rests on the feet. Depending on need, this session may also involve some work on the upper legs and hips.

If you’ve never had someone work between the bones of your feet, you really should try it. It’s like my feet were able to ‘breathe’ for the first time. I didn’t want to put on shoes afterward – in fact, Jason tells me he doesn’t wear shoes when he doesn’t have to, and even wears those crazy Vibram five fingers occasionally.

Like my first session, this foot and leg work was relaxing, but not in the way one would expect. It’s an intense form of relaxation that is nonetheless cathartic.

A funny thing happened halfway through our session: Jason stopped. And asked me to stand up and walk around a little bit. Man, that is one deft maneuver to demonstrate that Rolfing is actually working – ’cause you know what happened? I felt like I was in one of those old V8 juice commercials – I was walking sideways! One half of my body was wonderfully elongated and free – it was like the difference between a nice, higher-end, multiple-points-of-articulation action figures you can buy in a comic book store versus those immovable-hunk-of-plastic inaction figures you find in the remainder bins at Big Lots. Only it’s all part of your one body. Crazy.

Thankfully, Jason got me back on the table and did for my right side what he did for my left. I departed feeling more limber, more graceful – like I have a better center of gravity. I’ll definitely be coming back.

Why Did I Let This Man Put His Hands on Me? A Rolfing Immersion

So recently at a party my buddy Jared says to me: “Hey, have you ever tried Rolfing?” Now, we were each drinking some but I wasn’t feeling the slightest bit sick.

“Um, no, I’m fine – no need to throw up. Why do you ask?”

“No, not ralfing, Rolfing!”

“Like the Muppet?”

Jared was buzzed, but he was not inarticulate. He proceeded to describe Rolfing, a hands-on method of muscular and skelatal change that frees restrictions in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles, freeing up your body to to be footloose and fancy-free. Then I remembered: A friend of mine back in Georgia who suffered for years from the rare disease Dystonia had gained some benefit from Rolfing. Of course, that friend described Rolfing as “flaying the muscles from your body.” Didn’t sound too pleasant at the time.

Now Jared is the kind of guy you love to hate – athletic, like -2% bodyfat, a real go-getter. Why on earth was he of all people getting this Rolfing? Well, it was helping his posture, for one thing. And improving his biking and martial arts practice. I don’t have biking or martial arts skills to improve – sadly – but as a desk-jockey, I can always improve on my posture (though my posture is leagues better than many in my – ahem – position, thanks to Dr. Joe at North Raleigh Chiropractic). This was brought home to me in September when my friend Brandon snapped off an otherwise-amazing pic of me giving an announcement from the stage of Big Tent Christianity – I look like some kinda hunchback! (Brandon, why don’t you come down from the hills of West Virginia for a redo once I have my extreme makeover? You make even toads look good with your signature photography style – I can’t wait ’till I more nearly resemble a prince!)

“So who’s your Rolfer?” I ask Jared, trying to make it sound like it was all my idea.

Jason Sager of Raleigh Rolfing,” Jared replies, smiling. I know Jared likes to see a man in pain.

So I give Jason a call – I figured I could use some help with these lingering posture issues, and – who knows – maybe getting more comfortable inside my own skin will get me one step closer to not being nuts?

Session One: The Experience

After a free consultation with Jason (which included about 20 minutes of actual Rolfing), we decided that a Ten Series would be best for me. Jason describes the Ten Series as follows:

While people often come to bodywork for relief from pain, Rolfing takes a longer view than simple pain relief and works to reorganize the body. While massage on a specific spot usually creates temporary relief from that pain, the alignment issues creating that pain will often cause the problem to crop up again within a few weeks. By realigning the entire body over 10 sessions, Rolfing creates long-term health as a more permanent solution to pains or disfunctions.

For a fairly typical complaint such as neck or lower back pain there are often extentuating circumstances. Shoulder rounded forward from hours at a keyboard [that’s me!] take the shoulders away from the support of the hips, various shoe issues keep you from effectively using your whole foot when standing or walking, the head is held out in front of the body rather than balanced on top of the spine, and often more than just one issue contributes to the pain. The back pain, while important to relieve, is often a symptom of a larger systemic problem which must be dealt with to achieve a long-lasting pain solution.

Dr. Ida Rolf designed the ten-series as a blueprint for covering the entire body in a way that the body can support the change with minimal relapse. Each session builds on and finishes up the work of the prior session and builds support for the body to integrate the next session.

It makes sense to me. I went in for my first session, which focused on my ribs, shoulders, and abdominal muscles. So how did it go? Well first off, it didn’t feel like flaying the muscle from my bones. Jason works very slowly and methodically, and so while there might be a sustained intensity for 10 seconds, or 30, there was never any sharp, harsh motion that could cause injury. I knew I was in the hands of a professional.

And..? And it was quite helpful. He noticed that while my breathing was more abdominal than most, that the goal for optimal breathing is not (contra to Yoga instructors everywhere) “deep belly breathing” alone – good breathing should be like a bit of a seesaw between chest and belly, inflating in tandem like a two-part hot air balloon. After my initial session, I am definitely (my wife and others will love this) more full of hot air.

Who knows how this will all turn out. But so far, so good. I’ll keep filling you in as I experience each step of the Ten Series. If you care to try it with me, find a Rolfer near you.

ROM in the News – Fast Fitness on Fox

ATLANTA (MyFOX ATLANTA) – In the age of fad diets and quick weight loss programs, there’s now a new workout to add to the mix. Two machines are making their way into the U.S. from Europe. One of the machines is called Fitvibe and the other is the ROM.

The ROM, or Range of Motion Machine, is part recumbent bike and part stair stepper.

In just eight minutes, four minutes on the bike side, another four minutes on the stair stepper side, the ROM offers to give a total body workout by combining strength training with cardio.

The equipment claims to burn up to 150 calories, by using a fly wheel that delivers to 85 pounds of resistance.

Trainer Ankita Shah at the Arista Spa in Buckhead said the ROM was designed for those who just can’t find the time to work out and want fast results.

“Because there’s resistance involved and you’re using muscles for strength training while you’re doing cardio you can burn calories even after you’re done working out,” said Shah.

Read the whole article & watch the video here!

(To see my complete ROM health & fitness journey to date, go here!)

ROM Progress Update!

Hi all, many of you have asked how my ROM progress is going. I plan to update more regularly; here’s a sneak peek!

(To see my complete ROM health & fitness journey to date, go here!)

ROMming Elsewhere: Entrepreneur Profile

Right around the time I was pining away for my very own ROM experience in 2008, Entrepreneur Online did an informative writeup (originally in the Los Angeles Business Journal).

Highlights:

[ROM manufacturer Alf] Temme, who was born in Hamburg, Germany, and lived in Sweden before emigrating to the U.S. in 1963, spent years building up his sauna business. In the mid-1970s he also owned a now-defunct chain of 25 fitness equipment stores. Contacts he developed running the business led him to ROM inventor John Pitre, who initially asked Temme only to distribute the machine, but Pitre’s business failed after a year and half.

“I was asked whether I would like to manufacture the machine,” said Temme. “I was reluctant. If the inventor goes broke why should I be interested?”

But Temme, who has a structural engineering degree from the University of Stockholm, plunged in because he felt that extensive changes could improve the machine. The inventor retains the patent and receives a monthly royalty from Temme.

“I redesigned the whole machine,” said Temme, who in the early 1990s directed about $800,000 in profits from his sauna business into the project. By late 1992, Romfab was selling a redesigned version of the machine for $10,400.

Around that time, Temme’s machine began to get some recognition from a curious news media. The machine was twice recognized by Popular Science and years later ROMfab continues to gain exposure from journalists eager to try out the $14,615 apparatus, which only comes in one model.

According to Temme, the key to the machine is its flywheel, which regulates resistance based on a user’s strength and conditioning. The machine, which can be adjusted to a user’s height and weight, offers both pushing and pulling resistance to the upper body, exercising the major muscle groups, including the chest and arms. The legs are worked through a stairstepping device. Temme encourages users to alternate daily between the machine’s two exercise options.

Temme only consents to interviews about the ROM machine if reporters come to his office and try out the equipment. And, indeed, the workout is strenuous and challenging. A digital display shows a baseline of performance that paces the user–a pace that becomes particularly challenging to follow as the four-minute workout continues.

Despite a disbelieving industry, Temme has made some headway. About 10 percent of the machines are sold for commercial use. Clients include sports teams, physicians and even some gyms, including Quick Gym Los Angeles in Pasadena.

The gym is owned by Angela Kelly, a former Hollywood body double who first used the machine at a chiropractor’s office. She said it helped eliminate her health problems, and she fell in love with it. In 2007, she started the gym and installed five of the machines.

“I was using it at the chiropractor’s office and it left a lot of his patients wanting a machine,” said Kelly. “I thought it was a great opportunity to start a gym.”

For his part, Temme is interested in the possibility of getting the machines into more gyms. While he’s cut down on his advertising budget and reduced staff levels, he’ s confident that his business can ride out the current economic decline.

“Believe me, it’s not the price, it’s really the too-good-to-be-true aspect,” he said.

This is by far the most in-depth article I’ve yet encountered going into the history, science, and controversy surrounding the ROM. I recommend reading the piece in its entirety here.

ROM Facts: Portrait of An Artist

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about the ROM: Though manufactured in the united states by the illustrious ROMFAB, it was designed quite literally illustriously, by surrealist artist John Pitre.

A little about Pitre:

Born in 1942 and educated in the fine arts at the prestigious Art Students League in New York City, John Pitre evolved to become a master of fantasy and surrealism. Pitre has been a significant influence in the art world for over thirty years, and carries the distinction of being one of the most widely published artists in modern history.

As a storyteller, Pitre uses his paintbrush to comment on the most profound questions concerning man, and to create a reflection of our times and the world in which we live.

He creates entire imaginary worlds completely from his mind, using artistic expression as a vehicle for powerful social commentary. Well before they became the significant social issues of our times, Pitre’s surrealistic renditions of the threat of overpopulation, the ominous shadow of nuclear war, and the ecological deterioration of our planet became widely popular as poster images, selling in the millions. One image alone, “Restrictions”, sold an estimated seven million copies. Through his art Pitre continues to bring to our attention important aspects of our human condition, and as a result of his visionary talents, his social commentary paintings are now considered twentieth-century classics.

A modern day DaVinci, Pitre holds numerous patents to his name. He is a pioneer in many fields; he explored the depths of the oceans with diving gear he designed himself, long before commercial dive equipment was available. His affinity for the high seas led to designs for generating electricity from ocean waves and currents. Pitre is also an accomplished pilot who has learned to fly every form of aircraft available to him, including a unique, one of a kind configuration that he personally conceived of, engineered, and built. Still an adventuring aviator; he now owns and flies his own helicopter.

Based on his meticulous study of human anatomy in the arts, Pitre has designed some of the world’s most advanced fitness equipment, that can be seen today in many of the world’s finest gyms. His credits in this field include…the ROM (Range of Motion) machine, which was awarded the “Best of What’s New” designation in 1993 by Popular Science Magazine…He also developed and patented a new proprietary formulation for artist’s paint based on space age polymers, that is now sold worldwide. (Genesis Paint)

For more on Pitre, see his website and his Wikipedia entry.


Check Out This Free Book Club

Tweetlie-Dee

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Abolish Slavery – Join the Movement Today!

  • Friend of Emergent Village

    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave

    a