Avid Mountain Biker
I don’t believe in miracles, I only believe in what is proven to work.
I am not really sure what I expected when I walked into my first Rolfing appointment with Allison Benner. Perhaps more pain and theory or another therapy that helped but didn’t ultimately live up to its promise.
Whatever I had thought was wrong.
After half of my life being repeatedly injured ( I was a terrible and clumsy motorcycle racer) and the second half trying to repair the damage, I had finally found a process that worked.
A healer instead of a practitioner… I rarely had to tell Allison what I needed, she already knew.
I turned 71 last week and my back and hips are virtually pain free, and have now been longer than for any period in my long adult life. Joints, muscles, hands and feet are working as they haven’t for decades.
And that’s the truth.
Thank you Allison.
I was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis 37 years ago when I was thirty years old. The ever increasing pain I experienced made it difficult to continue my active lifestyle and even daily activities like standing and walking. The surgeon I consulted told me I would be a “crippled little old lady” if I didn’t have a spinal fusion so deciding out of fear, I had three back surgeries and a hip replacement (because one “fix” caused the next problem). PTs and new docs and pain meds were of little help and then I found Allison. I now am able to walk without pain. Because of the radical changes I’ve experienced so far, I am confident that soon I’ll be hiking and snowshoeing again! Because I have more energy and I’m feeling so much better I am now able to, fairly consistently, focus on self-care in all dimensions of my life.
Allison is an amazing woman; wise beyond her years. Her healing gifts provide the foundation of her work and she is continually pursuing additional knowledge and training in order to provide her clients the most current healing treatments. She is gentle, very intuitive, curious and very funny! Her positive attitude and perspective are inspiring.
Hairstylist and Yoga Teacher
I began seeing Allison Benner in 2009. As a mother, a hairdresser, and a yoga teacher, I thought that I had a pretty strong grasp on how to live in my body, especially since I'd had it for a few decades. Allison's practice had moved in next door, so out of curiosity, I decided to give it a try. If you had asked me about my health, I would have said it was good. I had no real problems, maybe tight-ish shoulders from wielding a blow drier for a number of years, but nothing out of the ordinary.
I didn't really know what Rolfing was and I thought maybe an aggressive form of massage, so I was surprised when Allison asked me to walk around the room as she observed my gait. It's been a few years, so the details are foggy, but in the hour and a half we spent together, my experience of my body changed forever.
This might sound funny, but I didn't know that I had been suffering from low grade chronic pain for as long as I could remember. I just assumed how I felt was normal. Mistakenly, after years of teaching yoga, I thought that tucking my pelvis and lifting my ribcage was the ideal posture to hold on and off the mat. This had created a tightness between my shoulder blades that was impacting every other part of my body.
In that first session, Allison taught me how to walk with greater ease and gave me tips and stretching techniques to work with between visits. She re-acquainted me with my natural posture and after my second session, I had no more pain in my body. By spending the time to introduce me to my natural state of balance, she gave me an example of what's possible, and all the tools I needed to continue the work at home.
I have been gratefully seeing Allison for five years now. She is my consistent go to when my body needs support. Every time I leave I feel that I have wider range of motion in all of my muscles and joints, and simply put, more room in my body. I see her every couple of months or so, and am consistently impressed with her dedication to ongoing education & her devotion to learning new techniques. Allison is a master in her field, and I love that she has something new to share with me every time I see her.
Finance & Sales
First and foremost, Allison is simply an amazing person and therapist. Before meeting Allison, I believed Rolfing was a place to go and get 'pounded' on with some really deep tissue work that makes you sore for a few days and eventually better. To my surprise, Allison's practice isn't in the same dimension - She is incredibly gentle and extremely focused. Further to my surprise, I've see more immediate and long term improvements in reversing the negative effects of 15+ years of highly competitive club and college soccer in one session than I've ever experienced in multiple PT, chiropractic or massage sessions combined. Finally, Allison has also introduced me to the idea of feeling great. This, I have learned, is a very different experience than just the absence of pain. I currently don't have much pain but have, over the past 6-8 months, begun to feel great :)
Good health was something I had in abundance. Then I had abdominal surgery and within a year’s time I could hardly walk or sit due to shooting pain down my left leg. I had gone to a physician, chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapist as well as undergoing tests and getting orthotics to no avail. The massage therapist I saw had been a professional dancer and suggested I try Rolfing as it had been very beneficial to her during her dancing career. She did some research and recommended I try Allison and I am so glad I did! While it has been a long road with many discoveries, including the fact that I needed to learn how to walk, balance and breathe correctly, I am back to my active self with a few limitations and modifications. Unfortunately, one does not undo 50+ years of doing things incorrectly overnight. Allison has been wonderfully compassionate, caring and creative throughout the process. She is highly professional and is invested in using all her skills to help discover and resolve my physical issues.
I have been going to Allison since early 2011. At that time, I was 55 years old and it seems when you get older your body does not respond as it did twenty years earlier. Being in the amusement business from my early 20s moving pool tables, pinballs, etc. I had plenty of time to abuse my body as well as gain additional weight due my metabolism slowing down over the years. In my early 40’s, I started to go to a chiropractor for my back aches as well as have an occasional massage, which only provided me temporary relief. In my late 40s, I partially tore both meniscuses simultaneously when I sat back on my legs cleaning a floor. I went to an orthopedic doc who wanted to use the knife. I decided otherwise and just dealt with the pain. A few years later I tried Synvisc to lubricate my knee joints. That provided temporary relief for a few years but the pain never completely went away. I exercised less because of my knees and got to weigh more than I had ever before. About a year before I went to Allison, I decided that to help my knees I would lose weight through diet and exercise. In the mean time the wheels continued to fall off. I hurt my shoulder picking up a 100lb 14 year old dog who at the time was having trouble getting up.I could not move my arm above my shoulder ("frozen shoulder"). I went back to the doc who wanted (you guessed it) to use the knife, so I went to the chiropractor who helped unstick my shoulder but could not restore my full range of motion. By this time my wife said " Why don't you go to a Rolfer?" Not knowing much about Rolfing, I read up on it and figured I had nothing to lose. I booked an appointment with Allison after doing a search on the internet. It was one of the best choices of my life. I started out seeing Allison about twice a month. She has helped me with my problem areas- shoulders, back, knees, posture, carpal tunnel and more (losing 25 lbs and casual exercise has not hurt either).Through her gentle but firm touch she she has awakened parts of me that I never knew existed and helped blood flow back into the tissue she would break up through her whole body approach.This has allowed me to get my full range of motion back in my shoulders. Allison helped my posture that has helped my back ( I have not been to a chiropractor since Rolfing). My right knee no longer has any pain and my left one probably would not either, if our new dogs had not clipped me from behind, but it is still far better than it was when I started with Allison, plus I have no scar tissue or rehab from surgery. My carpal tunnel is gone thanks to Rolfing and some simple exercises she recommended. Besides Rolfing, what makes Allison special is that she continues to educate herself about the human mind and body and takes that knowledge and applies it in her practice. I still and will continue to see Allison about once a month for maintenance as I am not getting any younger although I feel a lot younger due to seeing Aliison. One thing to remember, although you may experience some immediate relief from Rolfing in one session, it will probably take several sessions and in my case what took 55 years of abuse to develop, I could see dramatic change in the way my body felt and continues to feel within a year. Thanks Allison! By the way I continue to move amusements devices. I just hope I will still be able to get an appointment after this testimonial, as she is already popular.
I have been working with Allison for a over a year and I am amazed at the changes in my body as a result of her work and guidance. My posture, which has been poor my whole life, has improved dramatically and the knee pain which was the original cause of my visits has dissipated significantly. I find that my gait is better and my overall physical health has improved as a result of the Rolfing Process. It's hard to explain to people the difference between Rolfing and Massage but all I can say is it works wonders over what a massage can do for your body! I could never do deep tissue/sports massage and yet with Rolfing, deep tissue work is different and doesn't cause continued discomfort. I was skeptical at first, but every time I leave Allison's office I can actually feel the difference in my body, the way that I walk and the way that I carry myself. I have continued to go because I am an avid water skier and I find that she continuously helps me overcome the minor injuries that go with the sport and my other activities. Working with Allison has been a pleasure because of her personality, experience, knowledge and dedication to her craft. I also like that she continues to grow and challenge herself to learn new things. I just wish I could go more often!
Rolfing and Allison’s knowledge of the practice and awareness of the body have helped me through painful migraines, pregnancy, and recovery after surgery.
At 25 I was a healthy, active woman, but started to suffer from debilitating migraines. I had tried all the OTC pain relievers with no success. At that point, my primary care physician prescribed me a heavy-duty migraine medicine (complete with a myriad of side effects) to take every day. I knew that was not a path that I wanted to go down and began searching for a more holistic way to heal my body. My husband had seen Allison for some time and recommend that I contact her to see if she could help me with my migraines. After a couple of rolfing sessions and some recommended yoga moves to practice daily, my migraines became less and less frequent and eventually subsided.
I did not suffer migraines for several years and continued regular rolfing sessions to maintain my health. Unfortunately, my migraines returned when I became pregnant for the first time. Allison was once again able to help me reduce the frequency of my migraines through rolfing. In addition to reducing my migraines during pregnancy, rolfing helped me to remain pain free and not experience many of the dreaded pregnancy symptoms (nausea, swelling, fatigue). My body felt like it was doing everything it needed to do. I was able to continue my active lifestyle throughout my entire pregnancy and maintain a feeling of openness and alignment in my body. Rolfing after pregnancy helped my body to quickly return to functioning as it did pre-pregnancy.
I received Rolfing a number of years ago, which was helpful but extremely painful. I started having hip pain again and was referred to Allison by a co-worker, who raved about Allison's expertise and gentleness. Since then, Allison has helped me in so many ways. Her sure and subtle work has helped unwind old habits and inefficiencies that have hindered my movement and balance. Hips, back, ankles, feet, jaw, ribs – all are more functional, fluid and flexible as a result of Allison's work. Allison's experience with yoga, dance, breath and other healing modalities inform and compliment her work. She approaches each person in their wholeness, educating, encouraging and celebrating along the way. Allison provides an amazing array of ideas, referrals and resources: practices, exercises, poses, props, shoes and classes, all to support one's health and healing. I feel so fortunate to have found Allison and to continue to benefit from her extraordinary gifts, and would encourage anyone who would like to inhabit their body better to experience her work.
Both my husband and I are such believers in Allison's abilities that we have referred at least seven of our friends and family members to her. Each person has been thrilled with the help they they've received and amazed by the depth of her knowledge.
"I see Allison because I have had lots of surgery on my ribs. She helps me by loosening scar tissue so my muscles can move better. I can take bigger breaths and move my arms better. Rolfing doesn't hurt. It feels good most of the time, especially my neck." - Sawyer Benson
"Allison has worked with my son for several years now. Sawyer has thoracic insufficiency which requires surgery at least twice a year. He always looks forward to his appointments. Rolfing has benefitted him in several ways; more flexibility and movement in his rib cage and increased range of motion in his arms. I can't prove the correlation, but since Sawyer has worked with Allison he has not been hospitalized with pneumonia. That's amazing!" - Melissa Benson, Sawyer’s mom