The term “Rolfing” first entered my vocabulary in my twenties. If you are looking for a deep massage, Rolfing is as deep as it gets.
It took less than two years working in a cubicle doing mostly data entry for Careerbuilder.com before my body began to revolt.
I developed a repetitive stress injury that affected my wrist and forearm. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the subtle warning signs so by the time the pain seized control of me, I was in deep trouble.
I explored every option and remedy. Nerve conduction test from a neurologist. Occupational therapy. Massage therapy. Dunking my arm in a pitcher of ice water after work. Wrist braces. A $300 ergonomic keyboard. Trackballs. Ergonomics. Stretch routines.
Bodywork is a term used in alternative medicine to describe any therapeutic or personal development technique that involves working with the human body in a form involving manipulative therapy, breath work, or energy medicine. — Wikipedia
As much as the chronic pain and discomfort bothered and frightened me (as in will I ever get past this), it did teach me to be more aware of my body and it introduced me to various forms of bodywork.
Rolfing is one such form of bodywork which dates back to the 1930s.
It’s not well-known in the United States, let alone Colombia, which is why Todd Morrill caught my attention when he wrote me late last year to say he’s a practitioner.
I first met Todd in 2014. He runs a software company from Medellín, however it was his interest in sharing the process of home brewing that brought us and a half-dozen others together one Sunday afternoon.
A few months later, he reached out to say he was starting to take Rolfing clients and offered me a few complimentary sessions in order to experience and write about it here.
According to Todd, Rolfing is “a bodywork practice that is incredibly deep and focused, done sequentially over a series of sessions, each focusing on one specific body part. The series brings rejuvenation, alignment, and health, and aches and pains tend to be reduced.”
At the time, I was feeling in generally good health. Symptoms of my repetitive stress injury had abated in my early thirties as a result of my sabbatical from office life (ie. my 20-month trip around the world).
I was curious, though, and took Todd up on his invitation.
I have been getting massage in Colombia for 5 years. Today was the first time anyone ever got deep. Thanks Todd. — Sierra Melcher
Todd runs his software company out of an office in Envigado, and it’s in that converted apartment where he’s dedicated a room to Rolfing.
During my first visit, we sat and talked for a good fifteen minutes, during which time I relayed my experiences with a repetitive stress injury and episodes of back pain. We also touched on the topics of yoga and meditation, both of which Todd practices as well.
As an aside, it was that first conversation that helped re-ignite my meditation practice, which had given way to salsa dancing since my arrival in Colombia.
Todd also took the time to explain a little more about his own experience with back pain, which lead him to learn more about alternative therapies and inspired him to pursue his Rolfing certification from the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado. Certification requires 500+ hours of hands on training.
The session itself reminded me of deep tissue massage at times, however there was a greater focus on loosening and lengthening the fascia, the connective tissue. The 60-minute session left me feeling noticeably more relaxed and loose.
The ideal series is 10 weekly sessions, with the first addressing the entire body and later sessions addressing each part of the body, such as the legs or arms. Sessions are goal-based and last from 60 to 90 minutes.
Due to my work schedule and the holidays, I committed to three sessions. Each one left me increasingly relaxed in body and mind.
Todd currently charges 100,000 pesos per session, with a special introductory rate of 50,000 pesos for the first session.