Business News: Rolfer coming to Montesano

Release the pain and get back to doing the things you love.

Release the pain and get back to doing the things you love.


















Sometimes, conventional treatments leave ailments, well, ailing. Creams, physical therapy and massage could come up short and leave one final drastic option — surgery. And even then, some people have ailments that cannot be addressed with surgery.

It’s persistent pain, and it’s a problem for many people.

Felisa Holmberg, a lifelong Aberdeen resident, understands persistent pain all too well. The 1977 Aberdeen High School graduate said she spent years in pain before she sought a solution.

“My pain sent me looking for help just like everybody else,” Holmberg said.

The path of her solution led her to “Rolfing,” a contentious practice that aims to manipulate the connective tissue in the body.

“I ended up on a Rolfers table and I knew right away that it was different,” she said. “I’m in way better physical health now at 58 than I was at 20 from injuries.”

While the practice looks similar to massage, from the layman’s perspective, Rolfing does not specifically work muscles like massage. Rolfing also doesn’t use oils, other than a lite layer “to make the skin more malleable,” Holmberg explained.

Holmberg found her solution in Boulder, Colo., and with her pain finally gone, she decided to study the technique and bring it back to the Harbor. Following a year of training at the Rolfing Institute, she earned her Rolfer certificate in 2005. Following more than a decade of practice in Aberdeen, Holmberg recently opened a new office in Montesano.

Since learning the technique, Holmberg has helped numerous people through Rolfing.

Brenda Sansom of Lake Quinault has been Holmberg’s client since about 2007. An ice skating accident left her with eight years of persistent pain.

“I’m not an ice skater so that’s why I had an accident,” Sansom says. “It was like a bad whiplash.”

She tried massage and a chiropractor, but they couldn’t alleviate her pain. After reading about Holmberg’s work in The Daily World, Sansom scheduled an appointment.

“After the third visit, I woke up the next morning out of pain for the first time in eight years,” Sansom said.

A hairdresser by trade, Sansom has made many referrals to Holmberg.

Holmberg says it’s become a passion to help heal the pain of others.

In recent years, Holmberg has been perfecting a technique to address Brown Syndrome in children.

“I can feel the pattern of the brain inside the head. It takes about an hour to release all the adhesions, and it will release the brain so the brain will float. When the brain floats, it’s no longer pulling on the eyes, so it lets the eyes have the freedom of movement again,” Holmberg explained.

Rolfing, however, is not without controversy. In some communities it’s considered a pseudoscience, and there is some concern that Rolfing techniques applied to tumors could exacerbate the conditions.

Even in the U.S., there is some disagreement as to how to classify Rolfing. In Montana, Holmberg was able to see clients using only her Rolfing certification and license. In Washington State, Holmberg must keep a massage license, though she is not trained in massage.

On Monday, April 2, Holmberg opened an office in Montesano at 221 W. Wynoochee Road, Suite B. She’s currently accepting new clients.

To schedule an appointment call (360) 580-1609.

For more information and client testimonials about Holmberg, visit

“Horse Listener” How Horses Taught Me to Work

I was recently interviewed for an article in the “Rolf Journal”, a publication for Rolfers of Structural Integration. The article titled “Horse Listener, Horses Taught Me to Work”, reflects how horses have become my greatest teachers, by awakening my intuition and allowing me to become a better listener. It is a very subtle way of listening to the a body and mind on a physical and spiritual level.

This work is for the person that would like to connect at a deeper level and allow themselves to hear the unspoken language of communication, allowing the body to tell you what it needs. As a body worker, you can learn to listen with your hands and your intuition.

Horse Listener vs Horse Whisperer

Please don’t confuse “Horse Whisperer” with term “Horse Listener”. The term “Horse Whisperer” which is mostly connected to natural horsemanship training, getting the horse to partner up and respond with subtle cues. The person is in control.

Whereas the “Horse Listener”, is where the horse is allowed to become the teacher.

This work is not just for horse lovers or for health and wellness professionals, it speaks to finding the truth of your heart and soul.

Download Horse Listener Article PDF

Story brought her clients from all over

The story of Holmberg’s unique occupation and unconventional career path was picked up by The Associated Press wire and published in several newspapers and their respective Web sites across the region.

“After the story came out I was flooded with calls,” Holmberg said. “The day the article came out I was just returning home from a visit in Colorado. I had only been off the plane minutes and my cell phone was ringing. Before the story, I was counting on family and friends to work on and people they knew. After the story, I had calls from lots of people I didn’t know but also people I knew called and came in for appointments.”

In her mid-40s and recently laid off from a longtime job, Felisa Holmberg says it’s then she found her life’s passion.

In August of 2004, she left her rural Humptulips home in full pursuit of her goal, to the high ground of Boulder, Colo. It was the only place in the United States she could train to become what she wanted to be.

“Not a lot of people know what Rolfing is,” Holmberg explained.

After intense, year-long training at the Rolf Institute, Holmberg learned every aspect of the discipline, including how to explain what Rolfing is — a system of deep-tissue manipulation aiming to balance and realign the body by releasing tension and strain.

Once graduated, Holmberg brought her skills back to the Twin Harbors to begin her own practice. She had just moved into an office behind Baskin Robbins in East Aberdeen when The Daily World featured her as a profile subject last year.

Part of Rolfing’s charm is that the work consists of a series of sessions meant to bring about permanent change to the body. While that’s good news for patients, it means Rolfers, like Holmberg, are in constant need of new clients.

“The work does end, and as much as I enjoy working with clients, the changes that happen to your body in Rolfing are permanent and long-lasting,” Holmberg says. “It’s not something you have to keep doing the rest of your life.”

Continuing education, however, is something Holmberg says she will always partake in. She has recently obtained her large animal endorsement with the State of Washington and is eligible to work on horses, a passion of hers since childhood.

Daily World / Kathy Quigg Rolfer Felisa Holmberg was flooded with calls after her story ran in The Daily World.

Her practice is now set up to take personal injury and L&I claims. And, within the next year, she’ll be working to get certified in Kettlebell training (a form of weight training), Visceral Manipulation (relationship between the body’s organs and other structures) and CranioSacral Therapy (a hands-on method of enhancing the functioning of the body’s craniosacral system).

Future goals include possibly opening a local holistic healing center and/or a one-day-a-week office at Ocean Shores.

Regardless, Holmberg says she’s appreciative of the attention both she and her business have received.

“After the story, my calendar was booked a month ahead and stayed that way until this month,” Holmberg says. “The story brought in so many amazing people, people that were so ready to heal.

“Being a part of and watching people heal is so rewarding. It’s why I do this work. The profile brought in people that needed help in this area and I found this work is my heart’s work.”

Holmberg’s office is located at 104 S. Chehalis St. in Aberdeen. For more information or an appointment, call (360) 580- 1609 or (360) 987-2274.

Copyright © 2006 The Daily World. This content may not be archived, retransmitted, saved in a database, or used for any commercial purpose without the express written permission of The Daily World.

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.”

Copyright © 2005 The Daily World. This content may not be archived, retransmitted, saved in a database, or used for any commercial purpose without the express written permission of The Daily Worid.