Rolfing: She gets your life back in balance

And, yes, she’s prepared for the questions.

“Not a lot of people know what Rolfing is,” says the 46year-old Humptuiips resident. not sure why that is, maybe because most of it is done in the bigger cities.”

Severa! Harbortîes are already and Holmberg hopes more soon will, as she moves her practice from her rural home to a new offce in East Aberdeen.

“It’s like this wonderful thing that no one knows about,” says Fran Brongil, 54, of Quinault. “I really can’t praise for the practice. Strange, then, most people d0n’t even know what Rolfing is.

More than a half-century old rolfng was developed more than 50 years ago by Dr. Ida P. Rolf. a system of deep-tissue manipulation aiming to balance and realign the body by releasing tension and istrain. It works by organizing the body*s soft connectivegtissue network, the fascia, which surrounds, supports and penetrates all muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, nerves and organs.

Physical aspects are is lot like that of deep-tissue massage, with which most people are familiar. Rolfing differs in two areas: its hope to integrate all the body*s parts to I bring physical balance into the gravitational field and its goal to impart insights to clients to empower them to take charge of their own health.

“It gives you some education and self-help tips about ergonomics and posture,” says Susan Seecof, spokesperson for the Institute in Boulder, Colo.

“People nowadays teach you about your bodies, how to Jennifer at her new office in East Aberdeen. improve doing what you love and feeling the aches and pains of aging. Rolfing emphasizes working within the comfort zone of the client. We invite the client to speak up; we expect them to do that. Rolfling works in a holistic approach, it works on the whole body.”

The basic Rolfng series consists of 10 sessions lasting from 60-90 minutes, each one building upon the previous, Because each session builds upon the last, some clients don’t see changes immediately. Prices range from $100-$150 per session.

“The first three sessions I didn’t notice much, but had warned me that probably I wouldn’t,” said Brongil, a longtime mill worker whose physical ailments included a stiff knee, chronic lower back pain, a constant throbbing shoulder and almost zero body flexibility. “After the fourth session, the (knee) pain had diminished by probably 90 percent. The minute she Rolfed the inside of my legs the pain just disappeared.

After the 10 sessions are complete, there’s a six-rnorith wait before another session is conducted, the thought being once your body structure is organized it’iI stay that way. The idea is to release the restrictions so the body can realign itself with gravity.

“Every muscle is connected, from your toes to your head,” Holrnberg says. “And Rolfng isn’t meant to have to do your whole life.”

Rolfers don’t use oils because they need to be able to connect with the fascia around and between the muscles and lubrication would impede that. Rolfing’s intention is to go in and find the restrictions. It’5 very slow work – sometimes the Rolfer will stay in one specific section of the body for several minutes.

“One of the things about being Rolfed is you need to also be able to take care of your body when you’re working and after work. The applications are endless,” Holmberg says.

“(From) auto accidents and acute and chronic pain, occupational workplace and sports injuries and after-effects from surgeries, postural difficulties, fybromyalgia and job stress. like to see children and address things like pigeon toes, knocked knees, scoliosis. It also can enhance performance for athletes, dancers and yoga. People achieve increased energy, improve stamina and flexibility.”

Repetitive stress injuries – such as carpal tunnel syndrome – are also said to benefit from Rolfing.

Injuries, in fact, are what eventually led Holmberg (admittedly, late in life) to her career path. “1 think just new Vm really coming into what it is I was meant to be doing.”

She also hopes to eventually Work on horses, which have been nearly a passion.


Holmberg was born in Aberdeen in 1959, living a just-outside-the-city childhood often filled with motorcycle riding and horses. While the motorcycle riding has faded with time, the passion for horses has grown stronger. Today, she has one, a quarterhorse named Cool Lynx, which she regularly Rolfs.

“Horses come up with a lot of the same types of injuries as people,” Hoimberg says. “And there isn’t a lot available for them.”

It wasn’t long after the quiet kid’s 1977 graduation from Aberdeen High School that she wasn’t so much a kid anymore.

She got married at 18 and had a Son, Brandon, the next year. When she and her husband divorced years later, Holmberg was left a young, single parentÍ raising her son alone.

She decided to take some bookkeeping and accounting classes at Grays Harbor College and Work part-time doing on-the-job training because she had no work experience.

In 1983, she left school to take a bookkeeper/secretary job. She left there after about a year and got more into the then-new fad of computers, eventually going to businesses and helping them get their machines up and running.

“Back then, people would shut off their computers and put them in the closet because they’d get frustrated,” she says of the time when she worked a lot with Data Computer. Her interest and knowledge of computers was generated by a teacher named Michal Brewster, who taught out of her home.

“When I went to college, we were still using typewriters for typing,” Holmberg says, Data Computer recommended Holmberg to the City of Aberdeen, which was looking for help with its computer systems and data entry. She soon became the administrative assistant at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, staying there from 1990 to 2001.

“I wasn’t very happy in my job anymore and I was Working long hours,” Holmberg says of the reason she left. was having my own body pain (chiefly in the shoulder, neck, hips and back areas) from working too much overtime and sitting at a computer. My job had grown into ai huge workload. 1 loved it for the 11 years 1 was there but I felt like there was something else for me to do.”

When budget cuts took the job away she was unfazed.

“1 was okay with that,” she says. At 42, she was finally on her Way to finding her life work.

While still in the Office workplace, Holmberg’s pain led her to physical therapy, where it was suggested she see a Rolfer.

“I did and I was so amazed,” she says. “It’S a Whole different Way of looking at What’S going on in the body – they would actually go in and release the restrictions causing the pain so your body could be more balanced. I knew the couple of sessions it was really helping me.”

She was hooked – and not just as a client, She left Humptulips for Boulder – the only place in the U.S. to train for Rolfing – in August of 2004, spending two months at the Institute taking part in its intensive program flied with 91/2~hour days in the classroom, five days a week. There, she learned anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and more.

Many Mondays were test days, so a lot of her weekends were spent studying.

Then she came back home for three months, where she continued to study, do homework and practice her craft. Then it was back to Boulder for two months and home again for three months. Then back to Boulder for the last two months.

“Everything was put on hold for that year,” she says. “It was a lot of stuff happening at one time. It was exhausting but I knew every moment, through the whole thing, I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing.”

Her time in Boulder was one of the first Occasions she’d been away from the Harbor for an extended period of time.

“it was hard for me to leaveÍ be away from everyone and leave my husband to take care of everything,” she says.

Yet Holmberg persevered and graduated July 22. She had some follow-up paperwork to get licensed in Washington state, where she’s required to be a licensed massage practitioner to practice Rolfing. She already has several clients, many who had been waiting for her to get out of school. Word-of-mouth is garnering even more.

“I have recommended the mill provide this service to all of its workers and it looks like this is going to happen,” Brorlgil says.

“I feel it is invaluable in the prevention of ergonomic injuries. I have been telling tons of people about it because I have had Such amazing things happen to me.”

Rolfing itself has been amazing to Holmberg in many ways. “The experience that came out of my own Rolfing sessions was life-changing,” Holmberg says.

“1 had a new self-awareness and wholeness. It’s taught me to listen to my body and take care of it instead of abusing it. It also helped me realize the job I had wasn’t my passion. Becoming a Rolfer, I realized that when you have a job you love, you don’t have to work anymore.”

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