This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
Like Rolfing, Hellerwork is based on the premise that physical and emotional stress--as well as gravity--can throw the body out of vertical alignment and cause the connective tissue known as fascia to become rigid and inflexible. (Fascia encases muscle and connects muscle to bone.) These problems can then lead to more stress, illness, and a loss of general well-being.
Hellerworkers seek to realign the body by using intense pressure and stroking to stretch shortened and tightened fascia back into shape. The goal is to make the fascia softer and more flexible, and to restore its natural balance in relation to muscles, tendons, and bones.
The two components that distinguish Hellerwork from Rolfing--verbal dialogue and movement exercises--complement the massage component. Through verbal dialogue, Hellerworkers help clients explore attitudes, feelings, and past traumas that may be contributing to their current physical and emotional state. Using movement exercises, clients are taught how to sit, stand, walk, run, bend over, and perform other ordinary actions in a stress-free, efficient way. This threefold approach aims to realign the body and release deeply held tensions, which, it is believed, will help increase energy, flexibility, and overall health and well-being.