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Buddha with orchids, photo by Edward Bernstein
Lily Pads on lake
Rosen Method Bodywork, Jenny Rangan, LMT
Resplendent pink lupine, photo by Edward Bernstein
Jenny Rangan, MA, LMT

What is Rosen Method Bodywork?

Rosen Method is a gentle, non-invasive, yet powerful bodywork for inspiring deep relaxation, emotional integration, and personal development. In the context of a safe and compassionate environment, the Rosen Practitioner uses sensitive touch and body-based words to contact places of muscular tension and restricted breathing. This allows for the recognition and healing of the underlying root causes of chronic pain. Developed originally by Marion Rosen in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are now many centers for promoting and teaching Rosen Method in the USA and worldwide.


What might be some benefits of Rosen Method Bodywork?

-relaxes muscle tension and chronic holding

-increases flexibility and vitality

-deepens physical and emotional awareness

-allows unconscious material to emerge

-invites personal and spiritual growth

-complements other therapeutic modes and psycho-spiritual disciplines


How does Rosen Method work?

The body never lies. It holds the truth of all that has shaped us in this life and the greater mystery of who we are as spiritual beings. As children we breathe and move freely from head to toe. When we experience a feeling that is too much to handle, that seems to threaten our very survival, we learn that we can stop the feeling by tightening our muscles and controlling our breath. But when we do this we cut off the flow of energy to this place and our life force can not go there. In essence, we create a numbness, a disconnection to ourselves. When the body is not listened to it can only get our attention through pain. By listening to our bodies, we find relief from pain and begin to feel more and more fully alive. Rosen Method helps to develop this listening, re-establishing a balance of equality between mind and body, so that the body's truth and wisdom can be heard. Through this process we become more authentic in our relationship with ourselves and begin to live the life that reflects who we really are.


What does the Rosen Practitioner do?

Using hands that listen rather than manipulate, the Rosen Practitioner simply is with the client, supporting and holding places of tension and allowing the client to really feel what is there. As the client begins to pay attention, the body begins to communicate.  Some of the ways it speaks are through shifts in breathing patterns and changes in body structure. There may be a tightening or softening of the muscle, or a changing in shape or texture of the skin.  Or there may be a quality (i.e., heat, density or pressure from within). There may be unconscious movement. The practitioner also listens for metaphor (i.e., a stab in the back) and imagery (i.e., a black box in my heart). The practitioner responds to these body cues with touch and words which reflect and deepen the client's experience. This creates a container for the client's own truth to emerge. Often there are memories, feelings, insights, new possibilities, and unique resolutions which come from this very personal truth. In Rosen Method there is no fixing or changing, only noticing, witnessing, allowing, unfolding. We do not encourage catharsis in this work because it is a doing, and the doing usually distracts from the feeling.  In Rosen, our focus is on relaxation. What brings ease brings us closer to ourselves, what brings dis-ease, takes effort and takes us away from ourselves. The Rosen session is cooperative, a journey that practitioner and client take together into the heart of authentic experience. The result is a greater sense of empowerment, vitality, wholeness, integrity, self-knowledge, well-being, joy and peace.


What do I have to do?

As the client you do nothing. Simply be with yourself and notice.  There is nothing right or wrong. If you go away from yourself, your practitioner will gently bring you back by drawing your attention to his/her hands. Attending to and honoring the body is a learning process. It takes time. You are building a relationship with yourself.


A Rosen session takes place on a massage table. As in massage, you are carefully draped. You, the client, always wear underwear and may wear as much additional clothing as is needed for your individual sense of safety and comfort. Unlike massage, no oil is used. The Rosen touch can be deep or light, depending on what will match and meet the tension in your body. Because of the presence in the Rosen touch, a light touch can often feel very penetrating.


How might I feel?

You may leave a session feeling comfortable in your body, more at peace, stronger, centered in yourself, in touch with your emotions.  The world may look and feel a little different and you may find yourself acting, speaking, moving, and thinking in a way that feels brand new. You may have more vivid dreams or feel more creative.  You may have clear longings from your soul, giving you impetus and direction. At times however, you may leave a session feeling some discomfort. This is because things that have been numb are waking up. You may be starting to feel how hard your muscles have been working to support you and how tiring that is. This is a good sign. It means you are coming to life. You can be assured that your unconscious will never bring up more than you can handle. The discomfort will generally go away within a short time and you will feel a greater sense of well-being as you integrate your experience and come to a new point of balance.


What is a Rosen Practitioner's Training?

A Rosen Practitioner's training takes at least 4 years. The Rosen student attends six 10 day intensives, sees 375 clients, receives 33 personal sessions, has 33 supervisions in the presence of a qualified teacher, and has 7 client reviews to discuss issues that arise with clients during the course of the work. The process involves personal growth and exploration. Qualities developed are sensitivity and presence, the ability to be vulnerable, and the capacity to be with others in places of pain. The Rosen student learns the skill of recognizing body cues, including shifts in breathing, changes in musculature, and attention to metaphor and imagery. The student also learns how to dialogue with a client using a client's own words and staying with what is happening in the body in the moment.


What are some of the conditions for which Rosen might be beneficial?

-chronic physical pain caused by muscle tension

-postural problems

-restricted breathing and respiratory conditions

-stress and emotionally aggravated illness

-early trauma and post traumatic stress disorder

-sudden loss/grief

-creative blocks


What are some conditions for which Rosen Method might be contraindicated?

-severe psychological illness

-generally not best in the first year of a Recovery Program (AA, etc.)

Links to more Rosen info:

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