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Rolfer Diane Rodgers: Restoring Balance And Function With Experience (And A Little CBD)

Diane Rodgers
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Kathryn Blume 3 Feb 2020

Rolfer Diane Rodgers grew up in West Glover on a dairy farm – though in 1964, her Grandmother started a side business hosting guests on the farm. “It was an Air B&B long before Air B&B,” says Rodgers, who adds that while her brother, State Senator John Rodgers, bought the farm back from their uncle specifically to grow hemp, the hosting of guests is “still going today.”

Rodgers, who’s been in practice since 1998, got her start in body work through athletic training at Castleton State College (now Castleton University) where she was a competitive soccer player, but didn’t encounter Rolfing until she worked for a physical therapist in Winooski and met a rolfer who helped her recover from injuries sustained in a bad motorcycle accident.

“It took me 2 years to try it because I’m a skeptical Vermonter.”

“It took me 2 years to try it because I’m a skeptical Vermonter,” says Rodgers. “But I got invited to be a model in a demonstration and I was really blown away. She worked on one side of my chest, and when I stood up, the two sides were so different that I told her to do the other side or to put the part she worked on back the way it was.”

What distinguishes Rolfing, also known as deep tissue body work, from other forms of body work is a focus on the myofascial system, a continuous system of connective tissue within the body composed primarily of elastin and collagen fibers. 

If you’ve ever cut into a steak and seen white, filmy tissue, you were looking at fascia.

“It’s the organ of shape,” says Rodgers. “It contains everything. If we didn’t have it, muscles wouldn’t have the shape they have, nerve tissue wouldn’t be able to hold itself together.”

From the cork board above Diane Rodgers’ desk.

One of the great insights that Dr. Ida Rolf, founder of the system which bears her name, had about this interconnected system is that injuries in one area of the body can have significant impacts in other areas of the body. Dr. Rolf was fond of saying, “Where you think it is, it ain’t.”

Clients who participate in Rolfing undergo a series of sessions to reestablish balance in the human structure through manipulating the entire myofascial system.

Rodgers started integrating CBD salves created by her brother into her work in 2019. “I wasn’t sure how people would feel about it,” she says, “but I figure why not give every possible advantage to fight inflammation, depression, anxiety, and all the things CBD taps into.”

“I figure why not give every possible advantage to fight inflammation, depression, anxiety, and all the things CBD taps into.”

I was particularly interested to meet Rodgers at her Chase Mill studio in Winooski, and experience her technique, because four years ago, I was hospitalized for two weeks with a ruptured appendix and sepsis. The emergency surgery which, admittedly, saved my life, also left me with a great deal of abdominal scar tissue and a bunch of rearranged organs (think of what happens when you unfold a brand new map for the first time and then try to fold it tight again).

As a result, I often have a lot of abdominal tension and pressure – much like low level menstrual cramps. I also have extreme sensitivity to intense physical exertion, and often have to spend several weeks recovering if I accidentally overtax my core.

I’ve had many kinds of body work in my life, and also a wide range of physical therapy to deal with the aftermath of the surgery. So, not only am I picky about the technique and style of people I work with, but once I’m on the table, I’m pretty quickly cognizant about what forms of physical manipulation are going to help, and what’s just going to, perhaps, feel nice, but not improve my situation.

I got off the table feeling taller, more grounded, and breathing more deeply. I also immediately signed up for another session.

It’s also been clear, thanks to decades of yoga, that parts of my body are definitely stuck, and no matter how consistently I get on the mat, they’re unlikely to open up without help.

While it would definitely take more than one session with Rodgers to undo all the damage from my surgery (and subsequent episodes of unintentionally overdoing it), it was immediately clear that not only was I in the hands of an expert body worker, but she was also able to trace the disruption in my abdomen to other issues in my knees, ribcage, and neck.

I got off the table feeling taller, more grounded, and breathing more deeply. I also immediately signed up for another session.

Anyone interested in experiencing her work can contact Rodgers at (802) 864-0444.

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