Rolfing® ... What It's Not

Most people don't know from Rolfing®That's a nickname acknowledging the originator, Dr. Ida P. Rolf. And, fewer still know it by it's original name, Structural Integration. 

Among those who have heard of it, there are some misunderstandings. (Actually, the work is in fact about a widespread human misunderstanding, but more on that later.)

And, with those who have heard of it, almost to a person, there's the the idea that it is painful. And, who wants that?

Ironically, people now are showing up to my office expecting heavy handed treatment. Lately I've been getting inquiries from prospective clients who in fact are looking for strenuous, deep pushing targeted to affected areas. I've been concerned that now the tables have completely turned and people may not be sure if they got the goods if it wasn't painful. Holy, Toledo! 

So, here's the deal. If you are coming to Rolf Structural Integration because you expect to get a strenuous, rough rubdown and want a quick piecemeal fix  ... FORGET - ABOUT - IT. Look elsewhere.  

So called fix-it work is piecemeal, local. "It hurts here, rub here." Sore shoulders. Muscular knots on the back. Stiff necks. Like that. This orientation to such focused are work is symptomatic of the widespread cultural idea — massively promoted by the medical/pharmaceutical complex — that 1) therapy in general mainly addresses the specific area of complaint; 2) relief is only a pill away; and 3) you need do nothing more (which would be things such as changing the way you use your body in even some basic ways.)

It's not too much to say that the cultural message reinforces a society which is addicted to its petty distractions, expending a good deal of energy to keeping things the same, or preventing things from becoming different. If that Buddha fella is right — life is change —isn't it interesting, and sad even, that so much suffering is created out of fear of and resistance to change.

If a quick fix and instant pain relief are what you are looking for ... it's not Structural Integration. That unique and peerless method is holistic. The whole body. In fact, the whole person. The main goal of the work is to balance the whole body in relation to Gravity. There, chronic pains and stress resolve automatically. Remember that bit about balance with gravity. The idea is that when there are imbalances together with their associated compensations you are living at odds with the dictates of Gravity. Also, that chronic pains and stress are often symptoms of those underlying imbalance(s). Or, at least contributive even when there is a medical condition.

Sort of like having a pain in the butt and applying some soothing ointment. When, in fact, living with your mother in law is the real cause.  

Anyone wanting fast results need not apply. Not that symptom relief isn't possible in short order. Just that the Structural Integration process is more indirect. And lasting, it should be pointed out. The goal is not symptom relief per se. Some properly trained practitioners may do symptomatic work, and that may work wonders, but it is not Structural Integration as understood within the profession; and it shouldn't be labelled as such. 

PS ... Thank you to those of my peers who do piecemeal work and represent it as Rolfing and/or Structural Integration. Really? And to those professionals who aren't trained, but represent some heavy handedness as the work. Bitch! Please!  

To be fair, even folks who have received the work often report it was "painful". Hurt and pain or not attractive words. Problem is that when one person uses terms like "pain" or "it hurt" it doesn't convey the quality of the experience to the listener; more likely, on hearing this you form an idea from your own experience and associations with those words. Yes, it can be intense. But always with the client's permission, and within a range of acceptance. Too much, and you tense up, and what's being conveyed isn't coming across. What client's often fail to report on is ... it's an experience of pain leaving. That's a real thing, you know. "Ahhh!" "Wow!" Those are frequently heard reports.

"It hurts." Even with the aforementioned, this is a persistent opinion. Not in the sense of getting hurt, harmed. More like it's a rough rubdown. Intense to the limit. By the way, why no one seems to be deterred from getting tattooed — which does involve real pain — puzzles me. Plastic surgery. Eating at McDonald's. 

This reputation for painfulness and hurting started at the very beginning with the originator of Structural Integration, Dr. Ida P. Rolf. She did in fact have a justifiable reputation for being heavy handed in her style of work. Mother knows best kind of thing, I imagine. I myself have contributed to this image when, at the beginning of my career, I was still under the impression that "there's no gain without pain" and pressing harder gets more done. My apologies to my early clients. And, yes, sometimes during the manual contact aspect of the process areas can be touched which are sensitive to the touch. Just to say we have learned to be effective in terms of results and to work within a reasonable range of our clients' acceptance/tolerance. It's a participatory process. Your willingness is key. Not, like a lot of many therapies and medical procedures, where you're being done to, and passive.

I always start the relationship with a client making it clear that the best outcome is when we work at a felt level which is understandable and acceptable. Otherwise, my clients are urged to state their needs in the situation. Saying things, like "stop", ''ease up", "slow down" are important feedback and actually facilitate the effectiveness of the work.

A lot more could be said. Probably too much already. This should clarify things a bit for you.


Being here now is NOT a technique. 

You are here now.

Technique-wise ... 

Stop looking at things that aren't here now.


Pretty much in terms of what we know scientifically, Gravity is still a mystery. Practically speaking though, we know a lot about it. 

Someone sometime way back when figured out that building a wall straight up and down will guarantee it endures. You need to know from Gravity to get those seams in the wallpaper to line up. In more recent times we've calculated just what it takes to get the hell off Planet Earth. Gone to the Moon. Noticed the Gravitational effect there. Thinking about going to Mars. Hopefully, round trip. Next month, March 2016, Scott Kelly will return after a full year in space. It'll be most interesting what he has to report on how it feels to get back on Terra Firma. Hope they evaluate his body structure. Specifically, if and how it may have changed. (I'm betting they didn't do a pre-assessment on that. Or, that it's on their analysis list. We shall see.)

Since Gravity is so ubiquitous and constant we are naturally inured to it. It plays under the radar of our everyday awareness. In short, as ineluctable as it is, we generally take it for granted. 

The most powerful and universal force in the world ... taken for granted! Before it does, and possibly forestalling the eventuality of Gravity taking its leave of us for lack of due respect, let's give some acknowledgment to the Force that holds the Universe together. And, that's ... literally!

A Wronski's Wramblings [WW] first ... a conversation with Gravity [G].

WW: How ya doin'?

G: Same old, same old.

WW: Really? Sounds like you're bored. Not enough to do, keeping things together and all that?

G: Well that's a full time job, for sure. And, things do indeed keep changing, so I have to adjust. Come to think of it I'm all up to there with things to do. And, I gotta do it in so-called "Real Time". Now, is the only time I got. No do overs. Nothing to postpone. 

WW: I think we should give you a huge THANK YOU! Speaking for all of mankind, that is.

G: You are most welcome!

WW: Anything you'd like to share, now that you have the ear of all of humanity.

G: Yes, in fact. Here it is. You know a lot about me, for sure. Really like those Pyramids. Nice work! I was there when that fella discovered me. Not Newton. No. The guy who figured out that up and down and level were good standards for constructing things. The first plumb wall. It still brings tears to my eyes.

WW: You have eyes?

G: I be speaking metaphorically, junior! Don't be stupid! And, speaking of stupid ... When in the gosh dern hell are you people going to figure out that your bodies are just like any other physical structure on Earth. Same rules apply!

WW: What are you getting at?

G: Just this! Your body anatomically is in fact designed to work with me. That's why it's the normal thing to be stacked up vertically, everything all even and level. This is basic Physics ... how your body stacks up in me [Gravity] is a key factor in health and performance.

WW: Well everybody knows that!

G: Really! So how come the average individual is living observably below even a base line threshold for being in balance structurally measured against a simple straight vertical line? Plumb line, if you want to get technical. It's so common and widespread it goes unrecognized as such. You've built whole industries catering to palliative remedies for your pains and stress, completely ignoring what is in front of your noses. Off kilter to my simple dictates.  Like this:

WW: You don't have to convince me, G. I teach people that as a profession. 

G: Well then, get busy. Spread the word. This war with Gravity must end!

WW: I'm on it!

G: And, another thing! What's with those golfers, always looking for the best new driver, or putter. All those lessons! Your body is an instrument in the equation too. Why not bring it into balance along the lines of Gravity! That would be a key factor in your golf score ... and enjoyment of the game? Duh!

How I Stopped Serving Tea to My Monkey

First thing to know is this: My monkey loves tea. It'll stay as long as I keep pouring.

One day I realized that I was spending a great deal too much time serving tea to that monkey.

So, I stopped.

Where that monkey has gone to I don't know. 

(Parable for how we relate to the passing thoughts.)
Word Play

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding,  subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
Gravity Update ...

Not listed in order of importance:

Science proves the existence of Gravitational Waves in the fabric of Space-Time. Validates Einstein's Theory.
     Not to lose sight of the fact that "Space-Time" itself is a         conceptual construct.

— OK Go records music video [Upside Down & Inside Out] in zero-Gravity.
     Inside the airplane, anyway.

— Astronaut Scott Kelly due to come back to Earth March 2016 after one year in space.
     It will make a lot of news. Interested to learn about his proprioceptive sense upon return.

— Dr. Ida P. Rolf devises a effective system to adapt humans to the Gravitational Field of the Earth. Over 50 years ago!
     Mostly unrecognized in terms of impact on human health and performance. Still news.

Valentine's 2016 Outside of Card
Valentine's 2016

Valentine's 2016 Inside
Valentine's 2016

We are introducing you to the heart throb of the Wronski family, young strapping Cousin Valentine. Undeniably, the pinnacle of Wronski genetic potential. Men want to be him. Women want to be with him. He, just wants to get on his pony and ride. No pun intended.

Excuse the photo, Val is seen here after just getting back from a long day in the saddle getting all sweaty and hot, searching hither and yon for a little lost baby kitty. Aw, shucks. How cute is that?

All Wronski's are lovers. Val takes the cake. And, the girls too.


There is a lot of "noise" about Gravity right now.

First, seems like we just proved the existence of Gravitational Waves! A few years back the coalescence of two Black Holes made some noise. We just heard it.

Then, on the totally other side of things ...

Somewhere between those two, there's this option:


So the big science news recently is that we have proven the heretofore theorized existence of Gravitational Waves. And that supposedly — don't ask me to elucinumeratitate, it's above my pay grade — proves Dr. Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

For my money what they discovered is the perturbation in the Universal Gravitational Field due to those Black Holes having what boils down to some kind of cosmic sex. Let's not get confused and start to talk about Gravity as being a "wave". Then those "particle" people will jump in, and off we go again debating the merits of opposing views.

A wise man once said to me, "No matter what you say, someone can prove you wrong." 

So there it is. That's life: You can't win. Then, you die. 

Scientifically, yes, it is a great discovery. But, I'm for practical applications. It seems to me that this discovery has more to do with a kind of self congratulation of the technological prowess and the lengths to which science is willing and able to go to get at something. In this case Gravitational Waves.

Being a more practical sort, I could get behind a study to determine the ins and outs of that perennial question ... How many wrinkles in a bulls ass? Or ... Do those erect nipples say she likes me, or just that it's cold outside?

As if the underlying assumption is that if we knew the least iota of everything, then we would know ... THE SECRET OF THE UNIVERSE. And, of course, the other assumption: it is Science what will deliver the goods. That's called Scientism, if believe.

Meanwhile, back on the ground ... The most basic and well known imperatives of Gravity are being ignored. And, you don't need a billion(s) dollar thingamagig to see that. It's as plain as day!

Here it is ...

How come when we look around we see our fellow humans living far short of the basic structural requirements in the makeup of our bodies which is — SCIENTIFICALLY, MIND YOU! — clearly understood as correct design according to Basic Anatomy? And ... what we know from Physics is necessary structurally in terms of the dictates of Gravity in its most prosaic sense?

My teacher Dr. Ida P. Rolf famously observed, "Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment.  Those over forty may call it old age.  And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity."

What with our looking at the most distant stars and the minutest of the tiniest particles, in some way we could be distracting ourselves from A FIRM GRASP OF THE OBVIOUS.

You know, "Forest for the trees", kind of thing.


Lent Will be Here Soon

Got Pączki?

Originally from Cooky Cat:

Our beloved David D. Wronski (aka "The Polish Prince") definitively writes . . .

As you already know from the previous writing on the subject, pączki ("poonch-kee") are Polish style jelly donuts available the year around from any self respecting Polish bakery. Be advised, though, pączki are to jelly donuts what Ferraris are to Ford Pintos. Or, pink Champagne is to Cold Duck. We do not exaggerate!

FYI, there are two styles. The version with the jelly in the dough wrapping before deep frying (rare); and, the kind with the jelly added in after the dough is deep fried (usual). Being a decent Polish lad at heart (of Polish descent) my life has being in part a search for the perfect jelly donut. The Polonia Bakery in Passaic, New Jersey arguably has the very finest this boy has ever had. They make the first type (jelly fried-in) and are the nicest folks. Here is a link to an excellent review in Edible New Jersey magazine. 

Below are my on site photos (date: February 4, 2016) from Piast in Garfield, New Jersey where we also shop. They had Marmalade, Rose jelly, and Bavarian Cream. Rather too little filling for my taste. And, it was quite a go around getting a bead on what exactly was "Marmalade". They sell jars of a Marmalade, so I figure they just took the name from there.  Turns out it's mixed fruit jam.

Afterward we went to Polonia and got some more, filled with prune butter/lekvar (in Polish it's "Povidla", pronounced "Povidwa"). As I said, Polonia is the definitive version. Jelly fried-in, orange zest flecked thin glaze icing. Light, flavorful, delectable.


And, let's just touch on the subject of the amount of jelly. This pertains to the style with the jelly squirted/slipped in after it's a donut. You want those babies to be a little heavy with the filling. Jelly in every bite is the action standard. When I worked in my Polish Uncle's bakery on Friday's preparing for the big Saturday sales day, my last job after having worked 12 or so hours overnight was to fill the pączki. That was probably what got me through the night, the anticipation of being left alone to fill those little treats at my very own sole discretion. And, fill them I did. Heavy hand on the jelly dispensing machine. Like the one shown below.

Also, freshness is key. Best to get your pączki (that's plural, singular is pączek) as close as possible to having been made.  (Not you  having been made but, the  pączki, silly ) Not to belabor the "having been made" double entendre, but close to having been made with jelly donuts is the same as the other meaning: make that, in the morning. There seems to be a 4 hour or so window of opportunity. After that they start to become contenders for a game of hockey.

Getting back . . . But there is a single day, little known, the zenith day for pączki. It comes just before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, officially celebrated on Fat Thursday, the Thursday before Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). On Pączki Day, to meet demand, the number of pączki made for sale jumps 10X . I suggest you call ahead and place an order. Recommended varieties: apricot and raspberry jam, rose (the flower) jam, and Bavarian cream. But, do not leave without mass quantities filled with Powidła (prune butter)---the ne plus ultra (pronounced "po-veed-wa".) [A diagonal mark across the letter L, written as "ł" in the Polish language, is pronounced "wa". And, just so you are thoroughly aware of the upside down nature of the Polish mind one of which I happen to have . . . so I can comment . . . the letter W is pronounced as an English "V". Go figure.]

If you want to get in on the festivities, do check with your local Polish baker to find out on what day they will be honoring that fabulous fabled fried fritter; probably Fat Thursday [It took me several years to get it straight about which day was Pączki Day. I would typically saunter in on Fat Tuesday and receive a wilting look from the lovely sales girl at the bakery. In fact, I dearly remember Pączki Day from my youth; but it wasn't until my wizzoned adult years that I finally figured out on what day it fell and its significance. Thank you, Google. Thank you, Internet. Thank you jelly. Thank you, Alanis Morissette---Thank U.]

For a truly beatific experience, while you are buying your pączki, also ask for chruściki ("krus-chee-kee"), another traditional favorite at this time of year. Chruściki---when they are made right---are as light and tender as angels' wings. In fact, translated, chruściki means "angel wings."  As my mother would say, "Be an angel, pass the chruściki." But watch out for all that powdered sugar; it's a real game changer if you are wearing your favorite black slacks or that little black dress. They can be little devils plenty if you don't partake with precision and perspicacity. [I honor the letter "P", for pączki; get it? Really, get some.]

Additionally... I have also suggested that Voodoo Doughnuts be ready for the action. When in Portland, look them up. Find out for yourself what they are talking about when they say "the magic is in the hole."
King of Masks

One of the the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. 

Posted with special Happy Birthday wishes to my darling daughter, Kristie, who has kept me steadfastly close in her dear heart.

Super Bowl Sunday Eats

A few years ago we jumped into the culinary zeitgeist surrounding Super Bowl Sunday with our first ever "Stadium-style" snack extravaganza.

Not Actual Presentation ... But, Kind of Close

As you can see it was a knockout. A home run. It scored the winning field goal. Touchdown!

Last year we thought we'd ramp it up a notch. Since so many people were expected — more than previously owing to all the acclaim of the snack stadium — we pondered long and hard about how much to serve and how to accommodate the throng. Thus begat the Super Bowl Snack Maze.

Alas, it was decimated so fast that we didn't get a photo. It took up the entire living room transformed into a stadium of sorts. There was a stepped bleacher on all four sides of the room. A large service table floating in the center. I use the term "floating" purposely because the table was literally floating in a huge plastic kids pool filled with ice and cold ones. Astroturf on the floor, but of course. The whole set up was designed to handle four streams of traffic, each being offered the same choices at each station. The logic being ... get 'em back to the game ASAP.

So, now, what about SB L (50th)?

It's ... It's ... "Nacho Mountain." And — surprise! — "Nacho Volcano!"

Luckily our dining room has those extra high ceilings, so a 12 foot high Nacho Mountain/Volcano — that's measured from the tabletop — is not a problem. The beauty part of this setup, besides the wow factor, is that the round base lets a whole bunch of folks dig in all at the same time. 

All the usual suspect edibles. Your cold cuts. Your Chile con Carne. Bean Dip. Other ... Dips. Your Tortilla chips. Guacamole. Bacon, of course. An assortment of the sausages of the world. Brats ... that's so done. Breads, naturally. Nuts. Slim Jims. Shrimps. Other Cheeses. Other Chips. Even, Kale Chips.

But the star player, the most valuable player ... did you guess it? 

We have a friend Phyllis who has a rather sophisticated palate. So, upon request only, a good crumbly sharp aged imported artisanal Cheddar. OK, Phyllis?

We also have a cranky Uncle Luther. For him ...

And, for Uncles and Aunties everywhere, a joke ...

The Bishop is very sick. Doctors come from all over the world to try and diagnose his illness, and finally a little Jewish psychiatrist finds the cause of the problem. He tells the cleric, "Your Eminence, because you have had nothing to do with women all your life, your hormones are unbalanced and there is only one possible cure. You must make love with a woman." "No, no!" cries the Cardinal, "I can't. All the vows I have taken ... I just can't!" "But, Your Grace," replies the shrink, "you must or you will die, and this too is a mortal sin."

The bishop retires for a few days to consider his fate, and then calls the psychiatrist again. "Okay, okay" he says, "I have reached my decision. I will do as you ask."

"But please, be sure that the she's got nice, big tits."

Last word to all you hopefuls in the culinary Super Bowl ... there's nothing more pathetic than someone shopping for Avocados on Super Bowl Sunday. Or, Shrimp.

PS That last image with the comely lass, that's a hint for plans already underway for SB 2017.