Many people's strongest images about rolfing and their strongest fears when they think of undertaking Structural Integration themselves center around the fact that they've heard there's likely to be pain involved. I have yet to work with someone for whom the first session wasn't at least a good deal "less awful" than they'd expected.
And I try to talk with each person I work with about the fact that how much pain he feels will depend in some degree on how well we can work together: how well he can bring his attention into the area where I'm working and how well I can "meet him" there, moving in ways that he can assimilate without "running away to the other end of his body 'til it's over." I remind him that our language misleads us by lumping together a tremendously varied range of sensations under the one label, "pain," and encourage him to notice that while some things will probably just plain hurt, others will be more like intense pressure, or intense heat, or intense stretching than real "pain."
One of the people with whom I've worked heard me say something like that at a lecture demonstration I gave, and responded that it seemed to him by doing that I was missing a good deal of potential for learning and growing that is inherent in the rolfing situation. I was intrigued, and asked him to write some notes on what he meant. Here's the result. (K.H.)