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.
Climber/Software Engineer, Boulder, CO
"Ten years prior to discovering Rolfing I had a herniated disk in my back(L4-L5), a ruptured disk (L5-S1) and had surgery to repair the damage. That 'repair' lasted for about three years before the pain started coming back. The pain became part of my daily life. Everyday was painful, some days severely, but I managed to continue on. After seeing me hobbling around the office a coworker told me about Rolfing and how it had helped his back problem. I was ready to try anything so I called the Rolf Institute and that's how I met Allison.
Allison was very patient, understanding and was able to sense my pain. She was always making sure that nothing we did caused me further pain. Allison's professionalism really showed when my hip/back 'locked up' on the table and I couldn't even sit up. She very calmly rolled me over and started working on my sacrum and hips. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I didn't feel anything distinct occur, like the crack of a chiropractic adjustment, but my body knew something drastic had changed. It was very emotional. After that session my back pain was greatly reduced. Since completing the full 10 session series I've had very little, short term, back pain. Perhaps one day a month do I even think about my back. Working with Allison and going through the Rolfing series has changed my life. I used to spend many nights laying on the floor in agony, desperately trying to crack my back to relieve the pain. Now, I am able to enjoy life again. My wife has noticed the improvement in my attitude and general disposition, as have I. And my climbing has improved as well."
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.
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 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!
Fitness Instructor & Mom of 3
What first brought me to Allison was a right hip issue. While teaching a group exercise class, I could no longer demonstrate lunges because it was so painful. A friend recommended I see Allison and explained what Rolfing was to me. I had NEVER heard of it before, and even had to ask my friend how to spell it. At this point, I had been teaching exercise classes for 20 years, and had 3 C-section deliveries within the last 5 years. All these factors, plus daily life stress, led up to my hip issue.
I asked around to see if anyone else I knew had heard of Rolfing. The ones who had responded with “Man – that is excruciating, but totally worth it!” As much as my hip hurt, I really wasn’t interested in MORE pain to fix the problem. I called Allison after checking out her website, explained my issue, and asked her to please be up-front about the level of pain. If it was as bad as everyone else said it was, then I would find a different solution. Allison said on a scale of 1-10, most clients would say the intensity is never more than a 4. Okay, I thought, I can handle a 4, so I set an appointment.
I have told the story of my first appointment with Allison MANY times – it is something I will never forget. I had not told my husband about the appointment, afraid he would not be supportive. I was also still skeptical, but figured I had nothing to lose. Allison did an initial assessment, asking lots of questions, then watched me walk back & forth. When she had me lie down on the massage table, she started messing with my right foot. It felt as if one of my kids was gently poking me to get my attention. In my head I thought, “Oh great! This is it? My husband is going to kill me if he finds out I spent money to get my foot poked. What does my foot have to do with my hip? Not sure why other people said it was excruciating – it doesn’t feel like she’s doing anything.” Then Allison broke my internal conversation and asked me to walk again.
The moment I stood up from that table, my right foot went flat against the ground, my hip shot back in place, and I could stand up without any pain. It felt like a miracle, and I was completely sold on Rolfing and Allison’s expertise. I know others have not had as dramatic of an experience, but anyone I have ever referred to Allison has had a positive experience working through their own muscle & alignment issues WITHOUT experiencing excruciating pain – including my husband ☺
WHAT KEEPS ME COMING BACK:
A painful issue got me in the door, but Allison’s ability to help me create muscle symmetry is what keeps me as a client. Having Allison’s help to keep my alignment intact allows me to live an active lifestyle without “working through pain.” Whether it is teaching classes, going on hikes with the family, playing tennis, or enjoying the occasional run, I want to enjoy ALL these activities and more without complaining about back/hip/knee/foot/shoulder, or any other kind of pain for as long as I can.
Allison is a remarkable in many ways. She is an excellent listener, and is incredibly thoughtful & gentle in her recommendations. I always feel “lifted up” after leaving a session with her, never beaten down by what I haven’t done right. I’m constantly amazed at her passion for further education in her field, and feel I always benefit from the latest research and techniques in regards to Rolfing. I am very proud to have been one of Allison’s clients for the past 5 years, and would whole-heartedly recommend her services to anyone looking to bring balance to their bodies.
Allison Benner allowed me to realize I did not have to live with the pain I had been enduring for more than 15 years. After countless sports injuries, a car accident, and working in front of a computer for 10 hours a day, I felt spent and depressed that the condition of my body and spirit would never change.
The first time I met with Allison, the pain in my lower back was extremely intense, but had been with me for so long, that I did not realize how bad it had become. I no longer touched, leaned, or otherwise engaged my back and hips. My feet would go completely numb and my calves seized up when I went for a walk. This was because I was holding my posture and joints in such a tense state to mitigate the pain in other parts of my body. My shoulders were constantly sore from holding the same working position, creating a numb sensation in my neck and shoulder blade. I felt that this was simply the way my body worked, and that I had to accept it, which left my body and spirit feeling disconnected.
After meeting with Allison for the first time, I realized that I did not have to live this way. The release I felt within my back was immediate and long lasting. Allison worked with me to regain my natural footfall and end the numbness in my calves and feet. She gave me stretches and exercises to do outside of our sessions, and encouraged me to get up from my computer hourly, do pilates, yoga, go for long walks, and dance. I had never even thought I could dance without pain. Now I try to dance at least once a week, hike with my daughter, take yoga classes when I can, and otherwise live my life feeling whole. I was able to have a natural birthing experience with my daughter, which I was once told by a doctor would be impossible given my injuries.
Allison has not only helped my body to recover through her Rolfing technique, but has connected me to a network of natural health practitioners in Denver which I now consider part of my continuing healing process. I don't know where my mind and body would be without the thoughtful, caring, and experienced approach Allison Benner offers.
I originally went to see Allison for help with an old injury that negatively impacted my balance and posture and caused pain in my hip. As a result of her work, I walk with more ease and energy and feel I have a much stronger, more balanced foundation from which to move. Since then, I've seen Allison for a tennis injury, which definitely aided my recovery. I'm now seeing her in preparation for shoulder surgery. Through working on alignment and muscular organization, I believe I'll have better results both from my surgery and in my recovery.
I so much appreciate the assistance I've received from Allison, but what I really got from her is that I didn't have to live with deficits. I've really learned how to take care of myself and have taken addition steps, including Pilates and Yoga, to be able to move with more efficiency and fluidity. I've told Allison numerous times that she has wise hands.
It is my honor and privilege to write a testimonial about Allison Benner’s Rolfing practice. I first came to Allison 7 or 8 years ago after trying multiple other modalities to address chronic low back pain. After one full series, my low back pain was gone and the pain has never returned. More recently, I was in a car accident resulting in months of multi-week severe headaches. After a lot of physical therapy without any lasting relief, I sought out Allison’s services. I am experiencing a significant decrease in headache frequency, duration, and intensity and I have complete confidence that I will be free from headaches soon. Allison’s expansive knowledge of the body combined with a truly incredible eye for noticing even the slightest dysfunction in how the body moves, sits, or stands results in efficient diagnosis and treatment planning. Allison’s unique skill set also includes her knowledge of the body’s ability to relieve and resolve symptoms of past traumas by focusing on the patient’s body sensations. Allison pulls wisdom from her training and experience as a Kundalini Yoga teacher regarding the movement of energy and the power of breath to further support her clients. Allison’s depth and breadth of knowledge results in a very supportive, well-rounded, and effective healing experience. I’m a very grateful believer in Rolfing and of Allison.