Posts Tagged 'Jason Sager'

Hurts So Good

So it had been awhile since I’d been in for my last Rolfing session. This didn’t necessarily surprise my Rolfer, Jason Sager, who might’ve wondered if I was coming back at all. It turns out that people dropping out of a Ten Series after session three is not-too-uncommon; even if people get alot out of the initial three, it’s session four where the real deep tissue magic begins. The chasm between sessions three and four are what often separate the men from the boys. (Er…pick your gender-inclusive metaphor here.)

Still, I began to see how I was walking better, and had a more stable gravitational ‘center’ – I was hooked. Even though I’m a pretty busy guy, I wanted to go back. So I did. I was not disappointed.

Here’s Jason’s description of what happens in session four:

Session 4 goes back to the legs for a deeper run and focus on lengthening the inner line of the legs from ankle to pelvic floor. This session is often helpful for clients with knee issues and creates stability through the inner line of the legs, allowing clients to stand and walk with less effort. This establishes a line of weight transmission in the lower body that will be continued in the work of Session 5.

That’s what happened; all I know is that it hurt! I can’t stress enough the difference between Rolfing and traditional massage, which I also enjoy. Traditional massage carries its own set of benefits; Rolfing aims for bodily structural change, reinforced by movement and posture changes during and after treatment. I felt like some deep tensions were being released during the pelvic floor work in particular; waves of anxiety came, and went, like waves crashing up on a shore.

My understanding is that these kinds of releases will be more common in the final six sessions of the Ten Series. If that’s the case, I’m looking forward to the final seven.

And what next? Well, I hear that Jason is offering some dance classes…I dunno if I’m ready for that yet!

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.


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