About Leah

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Hi! Thanks for being here. Below you'll find my background related to Rolfing. I've had an adventurous life, beginning in Cleveland Heights OH. The Metroparks were a friend to me growing up, and I enjoy exploring them today. I'm a proud graduate of Beaumont School, and attended Tri-C, Lakeland CC, Ashland University and Ohio State University. Without a degree or a reliable left leg, I returned to Cleveland and worked reception/admin for LIVE Publishing/Northern Ohio Live Magazine (with Michael Von Glahn and Michael Ruhlman editing - Harvey Pekar was the Jazz columnist). Then I worked for a small advertising agency, Mitchell Allen. 

In Spring 1995 I moved to Anchorage Alaska with my then-partner. It took a while and some help from locals for us to learn the skills we needed to make our way. After he left the state, I earned a BA in History at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and had a short, satisfying career in non-profit development. I was lucky to be hired by Trustees for Alaska, the only Alaskan public interest environmental law firm.   It was while I was on staff at Trustees that I began my relationship with Rolfing. 

Today, when I'm not practicing, I love to move, learn, laugh, travel,  cook/eat, and write. I am curious about how the environment stimulates or inhibits human health. 

In 1989, I was a senior in high school. One day in March, I bent over to pick up my (nearly empty) book bag. Something happened in my low back when I bent down, my back felt weird, but I went off to first period - one of my favorite classes that semester. When I couldn't get out of my seat after class, I was sent to the nurse, and then home. I put myself to bed, and later got up to get water. Instead, I fell. My left leg couldn't hold me up, and I couldn't feel it.  I had completely blown out a disc in my low back, and the disc material had compromised the sciatic nerve, which is the main nerve for each leg. I had surgery at UH and instead of a fusion, was given a laminectomy. I am still grateful my surgeon for that decision. 

 

Surgery was deemed a success because I could stand on my left leg. However, I couldn't pick up my left foot very well at all, and I couldn't feel my leg below the knee if it was touched or rubbed, or injured from the outside. The sciatic nerve was constantly firing, causing tremendous and constant pain that surgery did not address; neither did physical therapy post-surgery. After surgery, I had asthma, and a severe allergy to cats, neither of which I had experienced prior to surgery. No explanation was given for these unwelcome changes. I was 18, and within 12 weeks of graduation. I went to prom, and graduated on track. I was in constant pain. I was dumbfounded. I picked up a bookbag. How did this happen? Why did I feel so much pain after surgery?

A decade later, my body was holding me back. In AK, bodywork is common, many physicians refer to Rolfers when their tools don't meet the needs of patients. I started with massage on the recommendation of friends, then was encouraged towards acupuncture. When my acupuncturist referred me to Rolfing because my issues were 'structural' and his tool kit wouldn't address my needs any further,  I had never heard of it.  Luckily he referred me to Duffy Allen. My first session was unforgettable for two experiences. The first was the difference between how I felt when I arrived and when I left. At the end of the gentle session, I could move my foot, I could feel my leg, and I wasn't in crazy sciatic pain. I still had pain, my foot was still 'dropped', but in an hour, my body received help it had needed for a decade. The second experience? Rage/fury/rage (did I mention rage?) - by the time I got to my car - so easily on my two legs that worked so much better - I was beyond furious. Why don't doctors know about this? My 20s were lost to pain because of ignorance? I had picked up a book bag, and it took an hour for this woman to make me feel better? 

 

In 2003 I enrolled at the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration - today the Dr Ida Rolf Institute. Arriving in my first class in Boulder CO felt like homecoming to me. In July 2004, Pedro Prado and Duffy Allen signed my diploma and welcomed me into my Rolfing practice. I began in Anchorage, worked in Cordova and settled in Palmer. In 2015 I returned to my hometown and established Cleveland Rolfing. 


I am deeply grateful to the Rolf Institute faculty for guiding my development. They are Suzanne Picard, Jon Martine, Larry Koliha, Mary Bond, John Schewe, Thomas Walker, David Clarke, Pedro Prado, Duffy Allen, Bob Schrei, Ray McCall, Carol Agneesens, Jeffrey Burch, Ron Murray, Per Haaland, Aline Newton, Rebecca Carli-Mills and Bethany Ward. Joseph Freeman (Equine Natural Movement School) taught me how to Structurally Integrate horses!

In April 2020, I completed Gabor Mate’s Compassionate Inquiry (CI) 12-month graduate-level course for practitioners. Dr Rolf's work came out of the Human Potential Movement; she described Rolfing as 'experiential eduction to mature an individual'.  Dr Mate’s work is in alignment with Rolfing, and I am grateful to him and his team for my ongoing personal and professional growth. Currently, I'm the volunteer facilitator the Bodyworker CI Forum for CI students and practitioners. To learn about the work of Gabor Mate, go to www.drgabormate.com.

In October 2021, I earned Rolf Movement Certification from the Dr Ida Rolf Institute in Boulder CO. 

Rolfing Continuing Education

  • Biodynamic Cranial Sacral week-long class with Carol Agneesens January 2006, Anchorage AK

  • Sourcepoint Therapy Modules 1&2 with Bob Schrei and Ray McCall, October 2007 in Boulder CO

  • Sourcepoint Module 3 with Bob Schrei and Ray McCall , April 2008 in Boulder CO.

  • Hosted Sourcepoint Module 1 in Anchorage and Palmer AK with Bob Schrei in September and October 2008

  • Visceral Manipulation for SI with Jeffrey Burch October 2008 in Eugene OR

  • Sourcepoint Module 3 w with Bob Schrei and Ray McCall in Sante Fe NM in February 2009

  • VMSI 2 and 3 with Jeff Burch in Eugene OR February and September 2010
    Homeopathy for personal and backcountry use with Joanie Kirk, ND in Palmer AK February 2011

  • VMSI 4 with Jeff Burch Eugene OR February 2011

  • Equine Natural Movement 1&2 with Joseph Freeman in Battle Ground, WA June-July 2011

  • Mary Bond Rolf Movement week long workshop in Salt Lake City UT November 2011

  • Cranial Base with Jeff Burch in Eugene OR, early 2014

  • Embryology, Diaphragms, Lemniscate and Walking with Ron Murray in Chelsea, MI July 2017.

  • Compassionate Inquiry, Dr Gabor Mate year long graduate-level professional course, online, April 2019-April 2020.

  • Rolf Movement Per Haaland:  Normal Stability online course through Dr Ida Rolf Institute,  Nov-Dec 2020

  • *Rolf Movement  Aline Newton, Rebecca Carli-Mills, Bethany Ward: Deepening the Series w/ Rolf Movement online course through Dr Ida Rolf Institute,  Feb-Apr 2021

  • Rolf Movement Intensive Rebecca Carli-Mills, Caryn McHose: Boulder CO June 2021

  • Rolf Movement Intensive Kevin Frank, Caryn McHose: Boulder CO September/October 2021

Professional Memberships & Conferences

  • Member, Dr Ida Rolf Institute

  • Founding Member, Fascia Research Society

  • Member, International Association of Structural Integrators

  • Rolf Institute Annual Meeting, Boulder CO 2007

  • Board Member, International Association of Structural Integrators 2012-2013

  • International Fascia Research Congress, Vancouver BC 2012