Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rolfing® and Chronic Pain: An Update from Expert, Ann M. Matney

September is “Pain Awareness Month”, so I couldn’t think of a better time to share this most important update, or unofficial addendum, to our Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain book.

Expert at the Rolfing Institute, Ann M. Matney, was kind enough to let me know the nitty gritty. Following is what she shared.

As human beings going through life, we develop postural and movement patterns that deeply inform who we are.  From physical ease to chronic pain at varying levels, how we inhabit our bodies creates the background of our immediate experience.  My passion is to guide clients through the Rolfing® ten-series, which allows them to explore posture and movement with new awareness and often releases them from limiting patterns that cause pain and discomfort. 

I am a certified Rolfer® in Bozeman, MT and I’ve been practicing for 14 years.  I want to thank you for writing Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, an accessible, informative book that opens the doors to the world of integrative medicine as treatment for these difficult conditions. 

I found the section on Rolfing® Structural Integration to be well-written and accurate, picking up on many of the subtleties that are often glossed over or misunderstood.  So, I thank you for your careful assessment.

What is Rolfing?

One of the main issues that the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration seeks to clarify in the press is that, despite the use of a physical contact that is comparable to “myofascial release”, structural integration is not a form of massage. Rolfing/Structural Integration is a separate lineage with its own history, as well as its own schools and separate continuing education.  One cannot learn massage at a “Structural Integration (SI)” school, nor properly learn SI at a massage school.  In fact, “myofascial release” and “deep tissue massage” are offshoots of Rolfing.  

The Difference between Rolfing and Massage

An important distinction between Rolfing and myofascial release is that Rolfing strategically lengthens fascia that is shortened, while avoiding lengthening fascia that is relatively long, so that the person achieves maximal balance between agonist/antagonist muscle pairs as well as creating more balance at each joint.  

Rolfing also includes postural and movement re-education for sitting, standing, walking, and so forth, so that the client can consciously integrates new postural and movement balance. I say all this as a means of explanation for why we decline to have structural integration referred to as massage.

Is Rolfing Painful?

Clients with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain disorders need not be fearful that Rolfing is “aggressive”.  When the practitioner has a patient-focused approach, it may be used successfully because current structural integration training and practice is intentionally neither aggressive nor painful. While there was a belief that more intensity yielded more results when Rolfing was first emerging as a bodywork, that thinking has been extinguished for decades at both institutional and individual levels.   

Complements to Rolfing

Craniosacral therapy and neurofeedback can reduce anxiety and lift depression, allowing clients to experience a sense of peacefulness and integration that compliments Rolfing. I help clients inhabit their physical selves in a new and deeper way so that comfort and integration can become their new normal.  

Ann M. Matney has a B.A. in philosophy from Smith College, is a certified Rolfer® by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, and she is trained in craniosacral therapy and neurofeedback.  She is currently enrolled as a graduate student in a rehabilitation counseling at Montana State University.


Annie tells me the International Association of Structural Integrators sets the standards for structural integrators. Rolfers® (which should be capitalized every time and followed by the registered trademark symbol for the first occurrence) are one group, namely those certified by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in Boulder, CO.

In healing,,Celeste

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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  

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Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Freelance Writer at Health Central & ProHealth Advocate

Celeste’s Website: http://CelesteCooper.com

Sunday, September 18, 2016


"I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. "

As a retired registered nurse, educator, and author of self-help books for my fellow pain warriors, I am thrilled to say that fellow author, Leslie D. Michelson, has done the patient community a great service by giving us “The Patient’s Playbook: How to Save Your Life and the Lives of Those You Love”.

This book is aesthetically appealing, easy to use, and the author expresses relatable accounts of patient experiences. There are “what to do’s” for nearly all healthcare decisions. You will find tips for finding confidence and courage; asking questions; finding the right doctor; working through the logistics of access, insurance, and cost; exercising patient rights; developing a support team; carrying your entire health history with you; utilizing resources, and much more.

Patient stories allow us to make objective assessments and catalog them in the file of “things to remember before, or when, it happens to me”, because in today’s fragmented and rushed healthcare environment bad things can happen. As the author suggests, hasty judgments, whether from the provider or the patient, increase the likelihood of mistakes, complications, unnecessary interventions, inappropriate referrals and other unwarranted occurrences.

I recently experienced the fall out of hastened, fragmented care. My rheumatologist became my advocate and ordered the blood tests I felt my symptoms warranted, despite the new endocrinologist telling me my symptoms couldn’t be explained by my “numbers” and to discuss my symptoms with another doctor. When my results came in, my thyroid levels had swung from critical high to critical low in 7 weeks. Because of stories like mine, finding a doctor who is a skilled diagnostician who listens and cares about patients getting the care they need is imperative. Leslie Michelson has the information you need to make that happen.  

I love this subheading in chapter six, “Forgetting Who’s in Charge. (Hint: It’s You.)”

Every patient is vulnerable when illness strikes, despite the nature or urgency. As a nurse who cared for people in the emergency department, I know patients and family members are at their lowest point, they feel they have lost all control and their duress interferes with their ability to think logically. Often, the nurse or doctor must lead the patient or family member to give them the information they need. But, this doesn’t always happen. The Patient’s Playbook gives us what we need to be in command, whether it’s finding a new doctor or being hospitalized. It teaches us to be assertive, tolerant, proactive, and partners in our care.

Lastly, a good self-help book gives the reader/learner the ability to interact with the material on a personal basis. The chapter summaries, “Quick Guides”, allow us to swiftly review areas of the book that provide information we need under certain circumstances. Even if you aren’t sick—right now—you can use the information found in The Patient’s Playbook to advocate for those you care about.

“By the time you finish reading this book, you will have completely rethought the way you interact with caregivers and hospitals.” ~ Leslie D. Michelson

Leslie Michelson, J.D., “healthcare quarterback”, CEO of Private Health Management, says his book is “A call to action to change the way we manage our health”, and that is certainly motivation enough to read it. Please take a minute and visit ThePatientsPlayBook.com, “Look Inside the Book” at Amazon and check out the “Table of Contents”, “Read a Sample” at Barnes and Nobel.   The paperback will be released on Oct. 18.  Amazon

You can also find him on Facebook at Leslie Michelson @PatientsPlaybook.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ravyn’s Doll: How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Your Child by Melissa

The author of Ravyn’s Doll: How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Your Child, Melissa Swanson, has been a close friend. We met on-line through our endeavors to raise awareness for fibromyalgia. It’s true that I mentored her by sharing my knowledge as an author and advocate, but she has taken that information far beyond my wildest expectations. And now, we share even more as published authors.

I had the distinct pleasure of unveiling my signed copy of Ravyn’s Doll with a mutual dear friend, Cindy Leyland. Melissa shares our friendship with Cindy as a fellow Leader Against Pain, and me as a participant in the citizens leadership group, PAINS-KC. I do not believe it is by chance that people come together across the miles when they share core values.  

Following is my review. My eyes are welling with tears of appreciation that Melissa would include it in her book.

“Fibromyalgia is difficult to live with, but we often forget how it affects those around us. This children's book means something to anyone who reads it. Even physicians can learn what it is like for the family. Who among us can resist the innocence of a child? Ravyn's Doll gives an honest account of fibromyalgia in a helpful and meaningful way, which is so important to a child's understanding. I find this treasure a must read for any family whose member has a chronic, invisible illness. “

(Available by clicking here.)

I hope you will share this extraordinary book with those you love. 

You can read more about Melissa in my two part interview with her. Melissa Swanson: A Rite of Passage with Fibromyalgia  and Melissa Swanson Interview: An Advocate’s Journey Cont’d.

In healing,,Celeste

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Freelance Writer at Health Central & ProHealth Advocate

Celeste’s Website: http://CelesteCooper.com

Learn more about Celeste’s books at her website or find links here on Celeste's  blog. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.

All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Inspiration for Reclaiming Control over Pain and Illness

A Beholding Forest©

A respite in the Rockies is something my husband and I have enjoyed for thirty-five years and since we are in our sixth and seventh decades of life, we are grateful to have done it yet again. It’s a marriage retreat of sorts, a time to appreciate my husband’s hard work, allowing me to use my photography to escape into the bowels of majesty.

I feel an intimacy with nature, wild flowers coloring the landscape, wild animals outside our RV door, rainbows that astound us and pink sunsets that devour our sensibilities. I am touched by my husband’s desire to find joy in something I love. My soul is awakened when I hear these words…

Come quick; grab your camera!

Young Buck Innocence©

Early fall makes itself known in the mountains where summer is short. The aspen’s are beginning to turn and as their  leaves shudder to meet the sun’s rays, I am reminded that the warm days of summer will soon give way to crisp chilly air that awakens the season of harvest and preparation.

Chronic pain and illness dictates that we adapt to change. But, unlike nature’s beings, it isn’t always instinctive. I know I need daily reminders on how to apply the things I learned when writing our first book  (with contributions of my co-author, Jeff Miller, PhD).

Fall is looming and change is upon us. Find out how you can adapt as nature does by using the daily tips in the Fall Devotions edition of the book series. If you already have the book, it's time to get it out and re-explore. I suspect you will see things from a different perspective this year, and you will learn something new to share.

Find detailed information at CelesteCooper.com:  

September is pain awareness month and a busy one for those of us who advocate for balanced affordable care for everyone. My greatest desire as an RN is for patients to have choices. It’s empowering to reclaim control over the thing we can change, and I hope you find Fall Devotions helps you do that.

Here’s to a colorful and hearty fall season.


Amazon in paperback 
Amazon UK Kindle 
Amazon Canada Kindle 
Barnes and Nobel paperback 

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Health Central Chronic Pain Pro Advocate

Celeste’s Website: http://CelesteCooper.com

Learn more about what you can do to help your body function to its potential in the books you can find here on Celeste's  blog. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.

All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Celeste's Website

Celeste's Website
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