I became a certified practitioner of the Rolf Method of Structural Integration in 1997 with the Guild for Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. I maintained a practice for 13 years in the Comox Valley, BC, and have taken my passion for this work to the mountains of India, Grecian terraces, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the wild west coast of Vancouver Island. I currently reside and practice in Vancouver.
What interests me about Structural Integration is not just pain relief, but the potential for changing the relationship to our physical experience and, through that, our relationships to our ever-changing inner and outer worlds.
This method is about supporting people to find freedom. We are amazing creatures with boundless potential. I feel most alive when I remember this, and when I see others remembering the same as they discover wisdom in their own body, and its capacity to heal itself.
While traveling in New Zealand during my early 20’s, I badly injured my back. The injury was so severe that a western medical doctor told me I would never be 100% again, and that I would have to “live with the pain” by taking painkillers. I didn’t know much about alternative health back then, but I had a strong intuition that the doctor was wrong.
I threw away the pain killer prescription (along with her negative prognosis), and began serendipitously bumping into those who offered some alternatives: a natural builder told me about the healing benefits of the arnica plant, and a once-Buddhist monk taught me about yoga. I took arnica daily until the pain and shock in my system eased, and took up a short recuperative daily yoga practice. A month later I was back in BC at my treeplanting job, planting trees, pain-free.
I became a passionate yogi. I worked through my copy of “Yoga: The Iyengar Way” until it fell apart at its seams, especially loving the section in the back of the book with practices for remedying all sorts of conditions. I was discovering our capacity to heal ourselves and craved to know more. My yoga teacher saw my enthusiasm, and I was invited into a two-year teaching apprenticeship.
Toward the end of this apprenticeship, I went through ten sessions of something called “Rolfing” (a.k.a. “Structural Integration”). By this time I felt strong and flexible from daily practice and only went because of a friend’s encouragement, not expecting much. The first session blew my mind, though, as I released tension I didn’t realize was there, and felt structural patterns I thought were permanent begin to change. As the sessions progressed I continued to feel an openness and strength in my posture I previously hadn’t had access to. I started running, and I finally stood up on a surfboard – two things I thought I would never do.
Through all this I discovered two things: a thirst for more knowledge about how the body could store, and then release, holding patterns and trauma in the connective tissue; and that I delighted in supporting people in their physical inquiry, and witnessing their discoveries. I followed my curiosity and passion to the Guild for Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado and Sao Paulo, Brazil, became a certified practitioner in 1997, and have maintained a private practice since.
I show up in this work with compassion, curiosity and a belief in the vast (albeit unknowable) human potential. I trust in the client’s wisdom about what their body needs for optimal wellness. It is my aim to hold physical and emotional stories with care and humility while facilitating new relationships to alignment and mobility.
When not practicing Structural Integration I can often be found outside playing, inside meditating, some sort of combination of the two, gardening, dancing, traveling the world, and getting to know my own backyard. My work is largely influenced by my study and practice of yoga asana, functional movement, Buddhist meditation, and ongoing continuing education in bone and scarwork and functional methods with Advanced Rolfers, Sharon Wheeler and Jeffrey Burch, and in trauma-informed practice. Since 2013 I have been training with Merete Holm Brantbjerg in Relational Trauma Therapy, a somatic psychotherapeutic approach that aims to bridge the gap between the personality and intense states of stress and trauma, and am currently studying Touch Skills for Trauma Therapists with senior Somatic Experiencing trainer, Kathy L. Kain.