Makes Me Wanna Rolf: My Experience Rolfing in Koh Phangan

//Makes Me Wanna Rolf: My Experience Rolfing in Koh Phangan

rolfing treatment“There’s lice going around,” my friend Lauren whispered.  With this one sentence I realized just how far away from home I was.  I’ve been staying on the Thai jungleside for two weeks now and the dramatic difference is not so much from my surroundings but from the way I react to them.  The other day I went to put black pepper on my breakfast and with it, I sprinkled on a giant juicy black insect.  To my own surprise, I just scooped it out of my bowl and dug in.  This from a girl who skitters each time she has to go into her basement because she once saw a centipede down there…three years ago.  Maybe its because I’m surrounded by travelers with plans for a year long around the world trip but I’ve also become really stingy.  I find myself hum-ing and haaa-ing over whether I really need to buy Q-tips for my scuba-clogged ear when they’re a whole 60 baht (!).  This is the equivalent of two Canadian dollars: the cost of extra guacamole at Chipotle.

Had Tien thailand

The view from The Sanctuary

However, in true Holistic Vanity form, one luxury I haven’t curtailed is spa treatments.  So far I have racked up five Thai massage treatments and a Rolfing session.  The unfortunately named Rolfing therapy is a type of manipulation that aims to realign your body by repositioning fascia.  I booked this with Sarah at The Sanctuary Wellness Centre in Koh Phangan who not only gave me a great treatment but many insights into my own body.  She started my session by having me to strip down to my under things and walk up and down the room slowly (“with intent”) as she studied my gait and the weight distribution on my feet.  She then asked me to breathe slowly and assessed the symmetry of my rip cage as I inhaled and exhaled.  What she discovered was that my left hip is tighter than my right throwing off the balance of my spine.  Apparently, its been making my hips swing dramatically from right to left as I walk because the right tries to compensate for my left skew.  This also explains a very odd habit I have of rocking side-to-side when sitting or standing for long periods of time.  Just last month at a wedding Ben leaned in and said in a hush “darling, I think you’re weirding everyone at the table out with your swaying”.
So what can an asymmetrical gal do?  Well, Rolfing attempts to manually move the tissue that overlies your muscles to restore balance.  On the mention of fascia work I thought this was going to be similar to a gentle osteopathy treatment.  Boy was I wrong!  In a word: ouch.  Repositioning your fascia feels like you’re being carved and resculpted like clay.  Luckily, Sarah coached me through breathing exercises, though I think providing a piece of plastic to bite down on would’ve sufficed.   Not so surprising, she marveled at how every muscle she touched on my body was extremely tense, which made me wonder if I was both figuratively and literally uptight.  This of course translated into double ouch.

One of the most interesting things about this treatment is that the last ten minutes was devoted to putting me into a trance.  Done in a sound dome, this is done by playing a series of echoing gongs and what sounded like a bag of glass beads.  She also encircled me playing the didgeridoo – multi-talented or what?!  The dome made it so that I couldn’t tell where the sounds were coming from, as if encircled by vibration.  Trippy.  Needless to say, by the end of the treatment I was very relaxed.  My body felt so heavy that I went right back to my bungalow and napped afterwards.  Sarah said the heaviness was because it’s the first time in years my muscles weren’t tight and clenched up.  It funny how you don’t realize how stressed out your body is until its relaxed.  To continue this wonderful experience, I’m going to try to get regular Rolfing treatments when I get back to Toronto.  Apparently there’s a place called The Rolfing Studio on St. Clair and I hear that its good.  Hopefully they’re as insightful and skilled as Sarah was at The Sanctuary in Koh Phangnan and, with any luck, can help me sort out this gammy leg.  And while it’s a long shot, I secretly hope they also play the didgeridoo.

2017-05-01T16:39:30-04:00 By |Misc|1 Comment

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