Over the last several months, I've seen a wider variety of clients than I ever thought possible. I've helped adolescents with sports injuries, scoliosis and painful growth spurts. Throes of people who are highly educated and overworked professionals are at my doorstep on a daily basis (no, Rolfing isn't for the gullible, sorry if you're trying to bust my chops). Some people want relief for something specific, some just vaguely feel run down and defeated by life and the aging process. Some of my clients have been at the ends of their ropes with pain and the medical community and feel like they have nothing left in their lives.
Yep, you've read that correctly. I have clients (yes, multiple people) who confess to me that they are so despaired that they've thought about taking drastic measures to end their suffering. There's no shame in feeling that way, but something needs to be done to turn that ship around. I listen to their stories and it usually goes along the lines of them having symptoms that the doctors can't figure out, thus begins the scans, blood work, and barrage of medical interventions. Pharmaceutical Russian Roulette ensues where they just start prescribing and changing meds and dosages based on side effects and efficacy. Once the doctors feel they've done everything they can conventionally think of, they recommend surgery. On what? Anything they see fair game even if there doesn't appear to be a clear reason to cut the person open.
Now, I'm not tearing down nurses, doctors, or the like. I have great respect for what can be accomplished in the medical profession. Sometimes the medical profession recommends the person to have surgery at the persistent pushing of the insurance company to just get that person off of their list of people with vague and/or chronic issues so they don't have to keep revisiting the doctor.
I have greater respect for doctors who look to alternative therapies such as accupuncture or Rolfing to help their patients thrive in life when suffering from chronic issues that aren't resolved by traditional therapies. Don't get me wrong, we as human beings make errors and we only know what we know. Every day I seem to learn at least 5 new things. I hope to have a fraction of a grasp of what's out there by the time I'm 100 years old, but even much of that will be overturned as science progresses.
I've only yet met one orthopedic surgeon who has known what Rolfing is. He's gone in and done surgery on joints and found 'nothing medically wrong' and he wants to know how I can help his patients get off pain meds and muscle relaxers. He knows that surgery has made scar tissue in the area and can have greater implications for pain and joint mobility. I shook his hand and thanked the man for wanting to empower his patients and give them options.
After all, we're human beings, not bags of meat and bones. We have feelings, language, a past, present and a future. I kindly tell each of my clients that they don't have to end their existence to end their pain. Ultimately, the human being inside of each of us isn't addressed because of hospital bureaucracy often causes the average doctor to spend a mere 7 minutes with each patient. People begin to see themselves as a rap sheet of medical conditions and drugs they're on.
I'm not a psychologist, so I don't offer any mental health advice, or anything outside of my professional boundaries. But I help people to get back into touch with themselves and how to work through their pain even if we can't make it all go away. I've never told my clients that the pain they feel isn't real because I can't see it in the chart.
As a Rolfer, my work isn't only in what I do with my clients, but in how I handle it with empathy and sincerity to see people reclaim their lives that are always worth living. None of us is broken beyond repair. No exceptions.