CAPA_RolfLines_vol 12_1994-n01-January

In Profile… An Interview with Rosemary Feitis and Louis Schultz

Pages: 4-12
Year: 1994
Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

ROLF LINES – Vol XX – Nº 01 – January 1994

Volume: 1

Bill: To generations of Rolfers, what is amazing about you, Dr. Feitis, is that you decided at an advanced age to become a medical doctor. You went and immersed yourself in the medical model, coming from a place, which is as far from the medical model as was possible at one point. Having done this, it seems to me you would have to rethink certain things about Rolling. Have you rethought contraindications to Rolfing from the basis of all you know?

Rosemary: Actually, I think I have. I think there’s one absolute contraindication to Rolfing, and that is the arthritic conditions that are based in auto-immune mechanisms. This includes rheumatoid arthritis as well as lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. There are auto immune blood markers for all of these. My strong impression is that the auto immune mechanism is activated when motion is induced, and if Rolfing does anything, it induces motion. Rolfing can create trouble, so to speak. It can be fairly severe. In this case you get a patient who comes in, gets Rolfed, goes home, and feels that he has less mobility than before and that things are irritated or hurt. If I have a client who comes in with a story like that for more than one session, I think that it’s unreasonable to continue the Rolfing. The question you want to ask at, that point is, “Is there anyone in your family who has arthritis?” And you want to advise them to see an ortho paedic doctor or even a good family practitioner and have a panel of rheumatoid blood tests. Or the problem can be very mild-you just have the sense that the client is not progressing as you would like. Traditionally, you do a session of Rolfing and you expect the client to feel better; when they come for their next session; you expect them to say they felt improvement and it lasted. Something might flare up briefly, but basically people just get better. If a client comes back saying “I left feeling fairly good but then I got a little stiff and it hasn’t gone away.” At that point, I would probably like to see a rheumatoid panel, even though I might continue with the Rolfing. I would explain to the client, though-he’s not going to get permanent changes from Rolfing; he’s more likely to get palliation (if the autoimmune disease is not severe). If it is severe, he’ll in all likelihood get worse. The other conditions that I consider contraindicated include any disease that affects the joints and is primarily metabolically based. In these, Rolfing will be palliative-things will get temporarily better. Sometimes it’s worth it to the client just to get some relief, for example, someone with multiple sclerosis. But I think it needs some honest discussion. You can’t just pretend to them or to yourself that this is the same as Rolfing anyone else.

Bill: When Rolfing was new and all of you first generation people were out there …

Rosemary: Quarreling with each other, yes …

Bill: … blazing new territories, I certainly get the sense that people thought that almost anything was possible. There was an episode where people thought that Rolfing might have some beneficial effect on mental illness-has it proved to be?

Rosemary: I think that is one of the very strong possibilities for Rolfing still, one which has never been fully explored. Part of the reason is that psychotrophic medication blunts the effects of Rolfing; it diminishes the patient’s ability to notice his body, and the goal of Rolfing is to change his body habitus. Ida and Peter Melchior did a research project (on normal subjects) that happened to take place in a mental institution-we were just using the facilities. The project secretary had a schizophrenic break; it could have been the effect of working around people who were very disinhibited. At any rate, she was not put on medication, and Ida agree to Rolf her provided that it was documented on videotape. The first videotape, before any Rolfing, shows her lying on the floor she said she couldn’t stand.
The voice over instructions are to lie as straight as she can, but she’s lying there looking like a broken doll. The voice over says, “Are you lying straight?” and she says she is. Ida did a few sessions, with videotapes between each session. They show the woman getting progressively straighter, and as she got physically straighter, her voice and mentation got better. She got progressively more in touch with reality. She had no therapy other than Rolfing; by the end of four sessions, she was in pretty good shape. The problem with treating mental illness is that by the time you, as a Rolfer, see someone who is mentally ill, they’ve been through every treatment imaginable. It’s hard to see what’s truly going on. A further problem is that different types of mental illness seem to appear in cycles. What seems to be most prominent now are behavior disorders. I’m not sure that Rolfing can touch behavior disorders. But delusional disorders-when the patient is out of touch with his body as well as with the world-I think there is potential there.

Louis: Rolfing also provides temporary relief for manic depression on a clinical level.

Rosemary: Yes.

Bill: Are there other trails in the early moments of Rolfing that seemed like we could go that way, that we didn’t go?

Rosemary: The biggest thing that Ida really hoped for was to improve human beings psychologically and spiritually as well as physically. I think that truly was a snare and a delusion. The mind body connection is not what we think it is or hope it is.

Bill: It’s not as simple.

Rosemary: It’s not simple. I think it’s undeniable that we create better bodies, but I think it’s eminently deniable that we create better spirits. We create better vehicles for the spirit, and the spirit bloweth whither it listeth. That doesn’t happen to be disappointing to me, but I suppose it’s disappointing to some people.

Bill: It’s an age thing, too. I mean it’s certainly something in the delusions of the 20’s that I’m going to make a better world and this is the way.

Rosemary: Yes, I think that’s exactly where that came from. It came straight out of transcendentalism; they bought the package-hook, line, and sinker-from the yogis. Ida inherited the mindset; she worked with Yoga, too-with Pierre Bernard. I think the notion is faulty-it’s just not true.

Bill: Well, we don’t know that. I think as I look at myself and see that I am capable of horrible things, and I certainly would have wanted Rolfing to protect me from that, but I think I might be in a different category from people who …

Rosemary: It’s really hard to say.

Bill: You can’t tell. Plus I was Rolfed. If I hadn’t been Rolfed, what would I be? I would be on a vent somewhere.

Rosemary: But the truth of the matter is that it’s not what Ida hoped; the Rolf Institute is the best example of that. It’s true that we are more organized than comparable groups, but we ain’t particularly well organized.

Bill: To get back to the medical model for a second, you were talking about how the drugs that attend mental illness often interfere with the process. Can we say something about that? I just had a client who was on Elavil for eighteen months. I made no progress-talk about palliation. That’s the best you

Rosemary: Well, it raises important and interesting issues that I’m not sure we can even address yet. I don’t know that we have the tools. The question is, what does Rolfing do? I tell my clients that Rolfing stretches tissue and increases energy and range of motion. That’s what I can guarantee. But we and chiropractors and osteopaths and anyone who does bodywork have no respectable paradigm for how we do what we do what makes it permanent, what gets in the way of it’s being permanent. One of the things that I find myself telling my clients is “What you notice is what you keep.” I think that’s true. It addresses the issue of medication-if there’s something in the way of you noticing your body, in a very concrete physical way, then there’s something in the way of you “getting” Rolfing. But that implies all sorts of things about the mind-body connection-what it really is, what the role of the mind is, etc. We’re not there yet; we’re not in a place where we can assess that. This is an interest of mine. I think the key lies in a part of the brain called the limbic system. It’s small and uninteresting to the majority of neuro researchers, so it’s badly mapped. Brain activity can be tracked on MRI and other scans. But the limbic system is tiny and very complex there are a lot of moving parts in something that’s about an inch and a half across. I’ve done literature searches on specific parts of the limbic system and found that very little of what is written is both concrete and useful. It’s a wide-open area for research, but the work is probably about ten years down the road.

Bill: In the interview that I did with Robert Schleip, he discussed the latest research which shows that the heart is a gland, the master gland.

Rosemary: No fooling!! One of the really, truly interesting things about Rolfing is that it takes a new view. Because if you as a Rolfer think at all about what you’re doing, you start making all sorts of atypical connections. You think, I made this connection, it feels strong and solid to me, it sheds light on what I’ve been doing, and it’s totally off the map. There’s a great resource out there of new creative ideas. Bonnie Cohen is another such original thinker about the body. Her background is in Zen and dance; her focus is on how the body really functions: can I get in there, feel it through, sense it through, and be quiet with myself and see the information without a lot of preconceived ideas.

Bill: Another line of questioning I was thinking of with reference to you, do you care to share any Rolfing disaster stories from your past?

Rosemary: Yes, I’ve had one I’d be willing to tell. She was a dancer from California who came to me for Rolfing about twelve years ago. She loved Rolfing, thought it was wonderful, got so much from it. About three years later, she came back for an advanced series. She was unhappy after that-she said that after the advanced series she couldn’t really stride out-walk freely. She saw a number of people in California-I referred her to a Rolfer or two, and she saw other types of practitioners as well, but she never got quite right. Eventually, she took two weeks, came to New York, and booked several sessions with me-she was determined to get better. Midway in these sessions she visited her mother in Florida; when she came back, she casually mentioned that her mother was severely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. Every alarm bell in my head went off; I sent her for an auto-immune panel. She did get it, but she refused to look at the results. I don’t exactly blame her; adult on set auto-immune arthritis can be pretty ugly. If and when I get better at homeopathy, I might task her if she’d like to see what we could do for her that way. The disorders are probably genetic, but the expression of the gene varies. It should be possible to affect the expression of the gene with homeopathy. She’s still on the fence about it, but I’m pretty sure the Rolfing was making her worse.

Louis: There was another disaster, one that I had. Fortunately, it was only one session. I had a client who had been on high levels of cortisone for asthma and who had discontinued the cortisone fairly recently. My whole background was in this my Ph.D. was on the adrenal gland-and still I didn’t think. I gave him a session, and a week later he called and said, “Well, I don’t know if I should come in for my second session because I’m still burning from the first one.” And I said, “You’re still burning from the first one?!!” And then of course I started to think about the effect of cortisone on fascia; I never saw him again. So that’s something I’m now very careful of; I check carefully into what medication people have been on. Any steroid medication will affect connective tissue.

Bill: What do you do?

Louis: Well, you have to wait for it to come out of the system, I guess.

Rosemary: Well, if it was prolonged high dose steroids, I would wait until two years after all of the blood levels were normal. There was a study done showing that even a single dose of a medication can stay in the system for as much as two years. Even when the medication is discontinued and blood levels are normal and free of the medication, its effect may still linger there seems to be a learning effect as well as a medication mass effect. We don’t know all of what we do when we give patients medications. We’re like kids with a button to push-we know something, but we really know very little. I had a funny disaster; it really didn’t have disastrous effects. Years ago, when I was Rolfing at Esalen. Their method of booking appointments was to have the body worker write his name in the time slots when he was available for work; clients would write their name in alongside of the body worker’s. Then the client would just show up, having been instructed by the last Rolfer to say what session came next. This guy came in and said he was going to have the seventh session. He lies down. Fortunately, 1 had just done about two moves, very surface level. The guy goes rigid – like wood-everywhere on his body. Paralysis doesn’t begin to describe my feelings-it was horrible. I had no idea what this man could be dying from. He kept saying “I do this all the time,” but it was hard to understand him through his rigid lips. He was fine in an hour. I didn’t give him the seventh hour.

Louis: I had one once, a tenth session, a woman who had not been very responsive. She came in saying she had fasted for the first time in her life. Again, I didn’t register it. In the tenth session, her sacrum went out. She went to a chiropractor, a good friend of mine, who said “You’re too good a Rolfer, you did too much.” And suddenly I realized that her tissue had changed from the fasting that she wasn’t used to. I’d always had to work hard on her before, in order to get any response. In the tenth session, I was in that mind frame and didn’t realize her tissue was responding much faster. It took a while-more Rolfing and some chiropractic treatment-before she was able to get back to work. Which is what you don’t want to happen in a tenth session. So another thing I’m very careful about, if anyone mentions fasting, the buzzer goes on for me-I’m very careful. I think people who fast routinely are no problem their tissue has gotten used to it. But in this case she’d done it for the first time in her life, for about ten days, just before she came in for her tenth session, or something like that. So it was not a pleasant session. It’s like when a scoliosis shows up in a tenth session.

Rosemary: That’s not uncommon. I don’t even think it’s bad. I don’t think the client always thinks it’s bad, either-they tend to go by how they feel, even though the feeling doesn’t match the look. But you do have to think what you’re going to do. You can’t send them out the door as an advertisement for Rolfing.

Bill: I have two people coming out of my practice who are going to become Rolfers in a month or so. A lot of the people who are in that class have moved out of the phase of being euphoric about what they can do and are going into the fear of going out there for the first time. And I had the occasion of sitting back and thinking how horrible that first year was.

Rosemary: I used to dream of the police coming to my door. I mean, you’re out there interfering with people’s lives and at that point you’re not sure you know what you’re doing.

Louis: I just kept my notes by my side for the first year.

Rosemary: I did too, like a talisman-I never looked at the damn things.

Louis: When I was working, I had the notes there: “Now what do I do next? Is this hamstrings, this section?”

Rosemary: I had flashcards. It is hard that first year. It’s hard when you set up your practice. I had four years of Rolfing before I set up a practice. I didn’t have bad dreams then, because my clients were sent to me by other Rolfers. But when I set up my practice, that’s when I started having policemen dreams.

Bill: I’ve never interviewed either of you, and both of you should have at least one interview by yourself. But, let me just get some background information. By the way, would you consider me a second or a third generation Rolfer?

Rosemary: I think the people who were trained wholly by Ida are first generation. The people who had a few classes with Ida would be second generation.

Bill: I certainly feel like there’s another generation at this point, in that I’ve been Rolfing just shy of ten years.

Rosemary: Ten years is a while; I would consider you a second generation Rolfer.

Bill: I don’t really know much about you as a first generation Rolfer. How is it that you become a Rolfer? How is it that you met with Ida Rolf?

Rosemary: It’s in that little book I did. I’m totally atypical. I fetched up at Esalen because I liked the place, and worked for Fritz Perls helping him write a book. He sent me to Ida to help her write her book. But there was no money in that, so I had to learn something that makes money. It was a toss-up for me Fritzing or Rolfing. I consider myself very lucky to have ended up with Rolfing.

Bill: How did you get to Esalen in the first place? Were you a psychologist?

Rosemary: I had been in publishing in New York. In 1962, the junior editor job that had been promised tome at Simon and Schuster was given to a kid from Princeton. That same kid from Princeton is now the editor-in-chief of Simon and Schuster, but it still pissed me off. My boss told me it was unlikely that I would ever fulfill my ambitions as an editor-at the time it was a male-dominated field, which is less true now. So I applied to UC Berkeley and went to California. I fetched up at UC just about when the Free Speech Movement started. I got totally embroiled in that, way over my head; I got sick with something called sarcoidosis. Fortunately, they weren’t yet giving steroid treatment for sarcoidosis, so they told me there was no cure except rest. My way of resting was to occasionally drive down to visit my brother in southern California. I went by the coast road, which was very beautiful, and I found a place called Big Sur Hot Springs. The third time I went there, it was called Esalen Institute and you could only stay if you took a workshop. So I did. At that first workshop, which was dreadful, I met Fritz Perls, and later I took a workshop with him which was wonderful.

Bill: What do you think of Gestalt now, many years later?

Rosemary: That’s the thing. For me it was a real object lesson in the care and preservation of an idea. Fritz said, “There’s no point in trying to own this; this is an idea; it can go out into the world a live its life.” So Gestalt, by and large, is not regulated. There are some Gestalt Institutes, but basically it’s very loose. Ida felt differently. She said, “This is an idea that needs protection or it’s going to get watered down, diluted, and turned into something it’s not.” Chiropractors are another object lesson. Some chiropractors do brilliant work, and some do stuff you can hardly recognize. It’s impossible to tell who will do what, because they don’t protect the quality of what they do. Ida elected to try and protect Rolfing, and that was the rationale for creating the Rolf Institute. Eventually the ideas will go to the public domain, But the question is, when is it best to let that happen? How long do you need to protect an idea so that it becomes solidly itself and can’t be easily misunderstood or distorted? Here’s a story to give you an idea of the climate of opinion at the time. Early on, Ida was asked to do a lecture-demonstration at the Kaiser Permanente Rehabilitation Hospital; it was arranged by Mac McDonald, a Rolfer and a physician at the hospital. Maggie Knott was head of the rehab clinic-she had a big reputation in rehab circles and was at the top of her field. Ida did her lecture demo. Maggie Knott said she was most impressed. She could see all the changes, she had comments on all the changes taking place. It was wonderful. And then we went to lunch. As we walked down to lunch, Ida and Mac were out in front, talking to each other. I was sort of in the middle, and Maggie Knott and about four or fiver of her staff were behind me. Maggie Knott was explaining to them that the changes were remarkable, but of course the rationale for the changes was absurd. The changes had come about because of Ida’s magnetic personality and persuasive manner-it was a form of hypnotism. She was producing this bilge in all seriousness! This was a woman who could see, she really could, she could see exactly what was going on in bodies. So that’s how inimical the climate of opinion was at the time. That’s how far we’ve come.

Bill: This is about the late sixties?

Rosemary: This is the early seventies, about twenty years ago. Since that time, Rolfing has undeniably put one idea on the map. Most people will agree that soft tissue can be changed and can retain that change. But the second idea is more problematical. We have not yet come to grips with the idea that gravity then makes the change global throughout the body. We barely understand the idea ourselves-it’s certainly not out there on the map of shared ideas. So I think we can’t afford to let go of control just yet; the idea would get lost.

Bill: However, our place in society, in the culture, is secure.

Rosemary: So is Gestalt, but what goes under the name of Gestalt isn’t always-or even usually-what Fritz practiced. So is chiropractic, but you can’t be sure what you’ll get when you go to a chiropractor. It isn’t differences in skill. You get a lot of practitioners under the umbrella of a name; they do something or other, but you’re not just sure what. The name is a flag that has respect, but what actually happens is heterogenous. Beyond a certain point, you have to let go. Yes, Rolfing is a name that will live, but what that name will mean is still up for grabs right now.

Bill: I was called up by a woman who had scoliosis in the mid thoracics, and she said, “I want to know whether you are an old-time Rolfer or a new-time Rolfer.” And I said, “Why do you want to know that?” And she said, “Because I’ve been told that unless you get somebody who’s an old-time Rolfer, nothing is going to happen.”

Rosemary: I’ll tell you an interesting story about scoliosis. I had a client who asked me what I could do for his scoliosis. I said, “Well, you’ll look better and you’ll feel better, but I have no idea what actually happens to the bones.” So he said, “Fine, I’d like to be Rolfed.” He enjoyed it, he liked the results. He called me one day, about eight months later. To this day I’m sorry I didn’t make a note of his name. He said he had a scoliosis that had been very well documented in the past and he’d just had a follow-up series of x-rays, etc. It seems he lost five degrees of his scoliosis, which is a very significant amount. I think the basic pattern of the scoliosis remains. He will need to exercise and keep active all his life, and he will need to get bodywork every few years, but if he does that he need never feel he has a scoliosis.

Louis: My thought with scoliosis was not to try to correct the curvature, but rather to try to get people to move as if they didn’t have the curvature, so that they are then correcting it through their movement.

Rosemary: Another interesting thing about scoliosis: a friend and I were talking about Rolfing and scoliosis over lunch in a restaurant, and a man at a nearby table turned to us and said, “I’m a dentist; there have been articles in the dental literature that when you put braces on people with scoliosis, the scoliosis gets worse.” I think what happens is that the top of the scoliosis is fixated (the cranium) by the braces; the bottom is fixated by the need for a level base of support-the scoliosis gets trapped between the two. Anyone with a scoliosis who gets braces should get on-going bodywork.

Bill: I hear an anecdote about braces curing scoliosis.

Rosemary: I’ve never researched the dental literature on the subject.

Bill: Did you have to talk Ida Rolf into doing this book?

Rosemary: Oh, God no. She was started on it; she had three chapters.

Bill: No, I mean Ida Rolf Talks.

Rosemary: Oh, the little book? No, she wasn’t against it. Jan Davis transcribed two full classes of Ida’s and I went through and pulled things I liked from the transcripts. Then Jan, Ida, and I went through what I had pulled out and got material for the book. Ida said she didn’t want any of her stories to be in the book, because that would mean she would be robbed of material for her public talks.

Bill: Well that implies that there are now a batch of stories that you had to pull.

Rosemary: There’s still abundant material that could be used. I couldn’t possibly do it, but I still have the transcripts at home. If anyone wants to do it-do it! I don’t know how much of a market there would be for a book like that. You might pull some stories and put them in Rolf Lines.

Bill: Yeah, exactly. I feel like we have a certain Myth-making responsibility.

Rosemary: There are some very nice stories in there. You’d have to be careful that you’re not overlapping with the book. But so what if you do-it’s all in the family. It’s the property of Ida’s estate, Jan, and me. You’d have to clear it through all three, but I don’t think there would be problems. It would be fun to do. It’s a nice idea.

Bill: So let’s go to your beginnings in Rolfing, Louis. Rosemary: He applied and I turned him down!

Louis: Well, I was born with a bad back, so I had been through quite a bit of orthopaedic treatment. I also had one bad accident where I was thrown from a jeep and landed right on the bad part of my back, so it got worse after that. When I was in California on sabbatical, during the time I was teaching at the University of Colorado, I did what I called my smorgasbord of humanistic psychology. I did encounter groups, I did Gestalt, I did TA, I went to Esalen, I got Rolfed, I got hypnotized, and numerous other things. Suddenly I was playing tennis every day. I had done so much, I didn’t quite know where to put the credit a lot of it was attitude. As a result of opening up this very closed mid western mind, I went back to Colorado and quit the University. I resigned and went back and sat on the beach for six months and decided what to do with my life. In the meanwhile, I had written to the Rolf Institute, which was then the Gulid for Structural Integration. Rosemary answered my letter saying, “Yes, it looks like you might be a good Rolfer.” Period. So I decided, well, okay, bury that. Then some months later I got a letter from Richard Stenstadvold, who had gone through the files and found my letter, and said “We’d like you to come in and talk to us.” I happened to be in Denver at that time, so he said, “Why don’t you come up and meet Dr. Rolf?” She was interviewing. for selection for the class that was coming up. So we talked. I had also done bioenergetics, so we talked about: the idea that it isn’t wise to do. bioenergetics and get Rolfed at the same time. Which of course I had done. And that was it. She asked if I would like to teach anatomy for the Institute. I said, “Oh, yeah, sure.” Well, that was my selection and I never knew it. So I went back to California, ran a growth center for about six months, and then decided. I got a good tax return-enough to pay for Rolfing training. I went to cook in a restaurant in San Francisco until I went to training.

Bill: That is astonishing! So this Ph.D. in anatomy was …

Louis: My Ph.D. is in physiology. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that I’ve never had an official course in human anatomy. I had to teach myself.

Rosemary: Which is why you’re good at it.

Bill: So you were part of this early selection committee, Rosemary.

Rosemary: I was the practical part of the Rolf Institute at the time, most of it. I worked for Ida, there was a lawyer, we incorporated, and then the Rolf Institute was in the back of my Volvo. There was a time when a semi sideswiped the Volvo and the Rolf Institute was all over the Bay shore highway. It was literally like that. Esalen was paying me $250 a month to work for Ida, and she way paying me a little bit on top of that. That was the Rolf Institute. I was the support staff, Ida was the President. That’s how things get started. It worked fine. From time to time, other Rolfer’s referred clients so I could earn enough money to go on being the Rolf Institute. It took a long time to write that damn book.

Louis: Not as long as ours!

Rosemary: Yes, well that’s another story.

Bill: I thought you guys finished a book some time ago. Rosemary: We finished it, but not the illustrations. Bill: But that was years ago!

Louis: We re-edited the manuscript about six years ago. Part of the rearrangement of my office is to have space to spread out. Not that I’m going to do the illustrations, but I want to get some rough sketches down before I talk to an illustrator. I need to get an idea of what’s going to work, what’s not going to work.

Rosemary: The thing is, with those kinds of illustrations, basically you give a more or less finished drawing to the illustrate for and they make it nice.

Bill: So this means we can still, in fact, look forward to the publication of this book. Even if it has to be self-published.

Rosemary: I think it could find a publisher once the illustrations are complete.

Louis: I think so. Ron Thompson has taken photographs of models; I’ve selected out a series of comparable poses. The models are different body types-ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph. That’s been done for at least a couple of years, sitting in a box. But I had no place to spread out. So I’m getting a big table now, where I can just spread stuff out and leave it. I haven’t had that kind of space. I’d be off in the corner trying to draw something, and it just didn’t work. This is going to take spreading out.

Bill: It’s great, now that you are fully …Rosemary: I’m out of it! I’m doing something else. I’m not involved in the book any longer.

Louis: Well, you probably will be involved again when I get the illustrations done. We’ll need captions, and I can’t imagine you letting anything go to print with your name on it that you haven’t gone over every comma and period.

Bill: That’s terrific, we can look forward to that.

Rosemary: The interest in this kind of book has been growing-bodywork is more widespread and more respectable, there are more types of bodywork, and people doing bodywork are getting more interested in thinking about what they’re doing. The last twenty-five years have been very much pro body.

Bill: And now that you’re going to become a homeopathic physician, how do you put it together in your head, Rolfing and homeopathy?

Rosemary: I’ll tell you a cute story about that. A San Francisco osteopath and homeopath, Elliot Blackman, treats a friend of mine. She arranged for us to meet. I thought it was to be a social visit, but when I got there he said, “So, what’s the problem?” I had a shoulder that I had wrenched shovelling snow in Maine, which still hurt, so I told him about it. He did some work on me, and we chatted. Among other things, I told him that I was taking up homeopathy because I couldn’t see myself getting elderly and still doing Rolfing-my structure isn’t that stable. My plan was to gradually leave off Rolfing and turn entirely to homeopathy. He didn’t say anything about it at the time, but he let me know through my friend afterward that if I didn’t do Rolfing along with homeopathy, I owed him for the session. When I came out of medical school, I really did think that eventually my business card would say “practice limited to homeopathy”-that was my goal. Now I’m not so sure. For purely selfish reasons, I would physically miss doing bodywork. But there’s another reason. The central event of homeopathic treatment is called taking the case. The interview with the patient has to be personal and accurate to who that person really is. You need a living image of the person. A very, very good way of getting that kind of information is through bodywork. It gives you a sense of the person’s energy dynamics as nothing else can. And it sets up an avenue of communication that allows the person to really say who they are.

Louis: That’s sort of like me and retiring. I think I’m going to retire and I think, “Gee, it would be nice not to work.” Then I think I’d go crazy if I never worked. So I’m just gradually cutting back, doing what I can do. But I can’t imagine totally stopping Rolfing.

Bill: What else is there to do?

Rosemary: Rolfing is a very benign way to interact with the world, it truly is. And there aren’t that many of them. I consider it a real piece of good fortune to have bumbled into it.

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