Gemma’s 1st Rolfing Session

Gemma Oaten, Rolfing blog







Gemma Rolfing Blag session one


I went to The Light Centre near Victoria where Aidan’s treatment room is and instantly noted the sense of calm in the room. Essentially I believe this is down to Aidan, you can feel his kindness and care before you even get to know him…I instantly felt at ease.

I was asked what I was hoping to get out of my sessions. As I wasn’t there for any sports injuries or muscle aches and pains I started to understand that my journey may be more mental/emotional than physical. 

However, my Mum has arachnoiditis and suffers massively with back pain, and I discussed how this could be hereditary, so maybe Rolfing could be used to prevent this happening to me? Also, I explained how I had been very lucky not to have too many long term effects from my battle with anorexia, notably arthritis, which is rife in former sufferers, and this was also something I’d like to keep at bay. Mainly for me it was about opening up my body and being more confident. Although it may appear I am when I’ve been on live television doing interviews, having photo shoots or walking down a red carpet etc, I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very much in control in those situations but I am aware that I don’t always find it as easy as I may make it look! Over the last year I have suffered some huge heartache and bereavements which I felt had in some ways lost a part of me, if that makes sense? I told Aidan how I wanted to fill the space again, walk and be with awareness and also truly understand and love my body and mind. Recently I have put on weight, which is no bad thing, but my body has felt alien to me of late. It’s felt like I’ve been disconnected from myself for a while now…having this discussion with Aidan really did require me to be honest with myself.

I wanted to value who I was and feel able to defend myself with assertiveness and sincere belief in what I know to be true of me. I had learnt from researching Rolfing that this was a key factor, and one of the many positives discussed from the process. Finding that gravitas in the body again and standing tall.

Next up, and don’t be scared by this, I had to undress to my underwear (not that the thought of me in my underwear should be scary may I add! I mean don’t be worried that this is part of the process!) I’ll admit, this isn’t an easy thing to do when you’re not so body confident but I felt so at ease in Aidans care in many ways it’s only like you would do if you had a massage. Aidan then took a sketch of my body, looking at my stance, posture and alignment, noting any areas that may seem tense or closed , where gravity didn’t flow and then I laid on the Rolfing table ready for the session to begin. First Aidan cupped the back of my head and neck and gently manipulated the tissue. I can only describe it as a form of massage minus the oils and candles. It felt like my body was gently being kneaded like you would dough, to try and explain as best I can. Almost like making something new, like creating an extra layer…I suddenly felt a sense of warmth over my body. With each exhale I was encouraged to relax more and sink my skull into the back of his hands, to allow my face, head and neck muscles to become heavy to his touch bringing about a lightness. The session lasted 90 minutes in total, I would say a good hour of that is the practise of Rolfing physically and I loved every second. It’s not often I get to take timeout for me. Life can be so manic that I often find I haven’t had a thought for myself some days.


For the first time in a long time I was listening and feeling within my body and it was such a comfort. Throughout the whole session I became aware of how cared for I felt and how I’d not felt this way physically in a long time, maybe even mentally. Not just by the outer elements of life but from myself too.


Aidan worked on the right side of my body first and before he went to attend to the left side we took note of how the sides contrasted. I honestly couldn’t believe the result. My right side of the body was considerably longer. Don’t worry, this isn’t some type of torture! What I mean is, my body had allowed itself to free up and feel and fill the space as opposed to my left side which was so bunched up and tight. And so to work on the left side began. Where as in massage you are encouraged to drift off, this isn’t the case in Rolfing and Aidan did speak at points throughout when instructing me to lift various parts of my body, to push against his touch or to inhale and exhale deeper, the difference here is you are very aware and you work together with your Rolfing instructor. I had read that Rolfing was described as having someone do yoga for you, and now this made total sense. Rolfing isn’t strenuous in any way, in fact it’s very gentle and Aidan explained that with some teachings the manipulation is quite intense, but that he had always trained and been taught to be appropriate with his touch. I think this is important to point out if it aids anyone considering Rolfing to go for it.

My first session was a truly enlightening and wonderful experience.

Once the session was complete I stood back on to my feet and we looked again at the alignment of my body and how I felt. I truly was astonished. I felt taller and so aware of my surroundings. I didn’t feel tired or drained I felt truly invigorated. Open, present and even graceful…which, although born a Tuesday child that’s full of grace, has never been a feeling for me before! I left with the note from Aidan to keep remembering how my body felt like this. He explained that between now and session 2, my body may well close back up again at times, and that when this happens to be aware and try to find that original stance again. My next session is in 2 weeks time and I can’t wait to see what I discover next. There’s a genuine feeling inside me that I may be onto something good, and that’s an exciting feeling. I’ll report back anon!

If you think you or a loved one suffer from an eating disorder, you may want to contact SEED. Here’s the link SEED Eating Disorders Support Service

Maybe you are considering trying a Rolfing Session with Aidan, in London, here’s how to MAKE AN ENQUIRY OR BOOK A SESSION

If you want the list of UK Rolfers, take a look here

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