Improving sports performance need not all be hard slog. A visit to a Rolfer may be just the thing you need to take you to the next level.
If you love sport you know that to perform better, you must train harder but this may not always be so. Two amateur athletes recently found that a trip to a Rolfer, Steven Bremner, not only cured the aches and pains, but as patient Vanessa McClimans, says: “It gave me a new body.”
Vanessa, a marathon runner in her late forties, explains: “I was referred to Steven Bremner because of a persistent, deeply-placed nagging pain in my right shoulder. I originally went to see Dr Jamieson, expecting cortisone shots, but instead I was referred to Steven, one of the practitioners at the Holistic Central practice.
“Now, following the treatment I feel more fluid, lighter and released. Not only has the pain gone, but I saw my marathon speed shift noticeably and I am looking forward to my next marathon to see how I perform there.”
Alexander van Praag is another sporty patient who got more than he expected when he went to see Steven to treat his long-term neck, knee and back pain. “In the gym I’ve noticed a very marked improvement in performance. It feels like I have been driving with my parking brake on for years, and now it’s released,” he says.
Rolfing may seem a strange name for anything, but it is named for Dr Ida Rolf who, more than 50 years ago, discovered that she could achieve remarkable changes in posture and structure by manipulating the body’s myofascial system, the system of connective tissue that surrounds and supports our muscles, tendons, bones, organs etc. in an intricate 3-dimensional network. Dr Rolf called her system of treatment Structural Integration.
Rolfing, or Structural Integration, has a very different way to address the body and its various symptoms and imbalances. “People usually consider bones as the means of support for our bodies, but from a Rolfer’s perspective, it is the fascial system that decides the alignment and function of the body as a whole,” explains Bremner.
Steven says: “When we get the body in alignment and in a good relationship to the gravitational field, the body begins to work its magic; it begins to heal on many levels, pain begins to disappear, and all the benefits of a well ‘Rolfed’ body come to fruition!”
The treatment has been compared to peeling off a tight wetsuit to find yourself suddenly able to move freely again.
“In the gym I’ve noticed a very marked improvement in
performance. It feels like I have been driving with my
parking brake on for years, and now it’s released…”
Rolfing typically runs for 10 sessions and generally no two sessions are the same as it is a progression of treatment. “In the first few sessions I work on the outer most layers of the myofascial system,” says Steven. “On the fourth session I might start working deeper towards the intrinsic or core muscles. It’s all about balancing in a 3-dimensional setting. Breathwork is another major component of the Rolfing experience and without this ‘all is for naught’. Focus on breath-work is instilled from the first session and progresses more deeply as the work unfolds through the series.”
Van Praag describes his treatment: “The work felt like an ‘education for the body’ where the body learned and adapted to new ways of movement and alignment. Each session seemed more like a lesson, which was delivered both through Steve’s hands, elbows — and even feet — directly to the tissue of the body, and also through movements that he taught me to take home to use.
“What I particularly appreciated was that Steve approaches the body as a whole, and is able to address the root cause of the problem, not just the local site of the discomfort.”
Steven explains saying: “We are educators more than anything. We help clients become more aware of how they use their body, and provide them more options for greater freedom of movement and living. Secondly we don’t treat symptoms; rather, we seek out root causes and root patterns that have brought a body to its current state of discomfort.”
“I use all the principles of Rolfing and even now at 45, I’m like a well-oiled machine! Efficient, energetic, centered in my structure and very flexible…”
Vanessa had a similar experience to Alexander. Although she had originally gone in for shoulder pain — which Steven cured — in the course of the treatment Steven also diagnosed and treated a plantar fasciitis-like area of pain on her foot. “It was not debilitating so I hadn’t mentioned it,” she says. But now that too has gone.
Steven himself has benefited from his own knowledge. In his first career, Steven was a professional ballet dancer and he is proud to say that thanks to Rolfing, he still dances and dances well. “I use all the principles of Rolfing and even now at 45, I’m like a well-oiled machine! Efficient, energetic, centered in my structure and very flexible,” he says.
While Rolfing is a novelty in Hong Kong, Rolfing is more widely appreciated in the North America and Europe where Steven comes from. So much so that the tough guys from The Minnesota Vikings recently attributed their improved performance and decrease in injuries to Rolfing. Steven agrees: “Everyone needs to be Rolfed — from the elderly to kids, from business people to athletes. I have never met anyone whose body didn’t need some Rolfing.”
To book a session with Steven Bremner at Dr Susan Jamieson & Holistic Central Medical Practice, please call 2523 8044.