I recently received this email from someone interested in the Hellerwork series. I often hear questions about whether Hellerwork can change the body in a lasting way, so it seemed worthwhile to post my response. If you’ve considered the Hellerwork series, but aren’t sure if the series will make a lasting difference in your body, this is for you.
Dear David -
I am considering seeking Hellerwork therapy but have couple of questions: How lasting are the effects from the 11 session Hellerwork protocol? I understand the concept of reshaping the muscle tissue and fascia – but isn’t my body essentially the by-product of my gentics? Meaning what I see is what I get – right? I have a hard time believing that any of the changes can be truly lasting without utilizing Hellerwork therapy through a practioner continually for the rest of my life – Yes call me pessimistic (many people do) but I do not want to set blind expectations on the 11 session protocol as a cure all.
Can the effects be maintained through specific exercises that I can employ after completing the 11 week therapy?
It’s a great question you’re asking, so I’m going to give you the long answer. A lot of people coming to me for the series have the same questions.
So to your question…
Yes, to some extent your body is a result of your genetics. Your genes determine what is possible for you to become. My feeling is that DNA is given far too much responsibility for shaping the human experience in our culture. One way to think of it is that the DNA in your cells is the book collection of your bodies library. It determines what information is available to be read, while you, and the forces acting on you as the library patron determine what gets read in the language of the body.
Here’s another example you might relate to: when you have an injury to your left ankle lets say, and you start to favor your opposite leg, your fascia is rearranged over a short period of time, weeks or months, and successive layers of tissue build up around that adaption. We call that a limp. It is no more difficult to rearrange the tissue, over weeks or months (11 weeks in the Hellerwork series) to undo that adaption and balance your weight over both legs. The Hellerwork series is a systematic process designed to undo the majority of those injuries and your compensations for them in a short period of time. After the series, many things can happen that change your body both to create possibilities for greater movement or to make movement more difficult. But whatever happens in your life after your series, the balance created by your Hellerwork experience will help you to have a greater capacity to deal with whatever comes your way. It’s like setting back the clock. Will it last forever? Of course not, and neither will you. Life happens to us and through us. We respond to our experience in ways that shape us daily. Can it change your life? Most definitely.
I’m sure you have some postural habits you’d like to undo but that feel hopelessly ingrained. There are plenty of kids in my neighborhood who adopt a limp to look tough and to some extent we all change our posture to express ourselves in a certain way. Hellerwork is primarily an educational experience. I can’t take your postural habits away from you, but what I can do is give you options for how to move with more ease, realign your connective tissue to support more ease and help you to become more aware of how the way you carry yourself effects how you feel and even think.
After that, the choice is yours about what you do with this opening. It’s like having a new set of tools for your body and having to chose between a new craftsman or that old rusty wrench with the threads stripped off. You might be used to using the old wrench out of habit, but then there’s that unfamiliar, but silky smooth new socket set you could try out too. I like to think the movement exercises we’ll work on are kind of like that new socket set.
This will sound even stranger, but the real magic often happens after the series is over. Ida Rolf often said, “The body continues to Rolf itself.” I’ve seen many of my clients continue to grow towards better alignment after the series is over. They had no further input other than the changes they made in their lives as a result of the series and it’s as if their bodies are taking a cue from the work and continuing to reshape themselves. If you are open to Hellerwork creating change in your body and in your experience, it will improve your life in ways that will far surpass your expectations, but that is up to you.
Ultimately, all of this is meaningless as a mental exercise. The only way to know whether this work will benefit you or not is to experience a session. I hope that answered your questions and let me know when you’re ready to take the first step.