Rosen Method Bodywork
What is Rosen Method Bodywork?
Rosen Method’s bodywork methodology holds a holistic view of the client with a reverent curiosity that allows people to connect with who they truly are.
The work combines touch with verbal dialogue that guides the client’s awareness of their inner experience so that they can discover the connections between the body, mind, and emotions.
Some bodywork modalities are more oriented towards doing something to a client- for example manipulating the tissue in certain ways- whereas in Rosen our primary aim is to listen with our hands to the client’s body.
As a Rosen Method Practitioner, I work to “enliven” the muscles rather than to manipulate the muscles or “make” my clients relax. We all put the tension into our bodies at one time for a very good reason and it is not up to me to decide if it is still necessary for my clients.
The idea is to invite relaxation and to bring consciousness to my clients so that they can make a choice about whether or not it is safe to let go.Over time, this allows tension and holding in the body to soften, and unconscious and unfelt feelings to arise. When feelings are allowed, the muscle softens, because the tension is no longer needed to hold the feeling down. This frees energy, previously used in holding the muscle, to be used for other purposes.
While this might sound like somatic psychotherapy, Rosen Method bodywork is rooted in the anatomical function of the muscles themselves. This is because all people use their musculature to express their emotions. And when emotions are not accepted, feelings are not allowed or are too big to metabolize in the moment, we also use our musculature to repress or contain the feelings.
Added to this conversation between our client’s body and our “listening hands” is the verbal dialogue between practitioner and client which is intended to deepen awareness of the mind/body connection in the client.
This dialogue is respectful of the (once very useful) unconscious strategies for protection in the muscle tension, and at the same time brings awareness to the potential cost (to the lives of our clients) of the tension, and investigates the possibilities of other choices.
Awareness and insights gained in a session often lead to new possibilities and clarity in our lives. A big part of the Rosen Method bodywork sessions is what happens in between sessions as clients are able to try out living their day to day life with their newly discovered options for breath, movement, and expression.
Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioners combine sensory input through direct touch and verbal dialogue to deepen awareness of our clients inner experience and explore the connections between the body, mind, and emotions.
Rosen Method Practitioners engage the stopped movement (habitual tension) in our clients, and a conversation between our client’s body and our hands develops. We listen with our hands to our client's body, and this attention assists our clients to bypass the conscious mind and drop into pure awareness. It allows our client’s unconscious and unfelt feelings to arise.
You can learn more about why we hold tension in the body and what is possible as it releases in my free audio course: What the Body Knows: Why We Hold Tension and What's Possible When Tension Releases.
What is a session like?
Marion Rosen taught me as a student not to have an agenda, not to have an answer, but to sit in stillness, patience and acceptance of another’s suffering.
Every Rosen Method bodywork session is a spacious conversation. The “magic” of this work is deep attuned presence: I attempt to just be present with myself, with the client, and to sense the authentic self beneath the holding. Many (most) of us have experienced ruptures in our relationships around people’s ability to be present with us; We’ve felt people tune out, zone out, recoil, harden and disappear. To experience in the bodywork sessions, through direct gentle touch, that the practitioner is able to stay present and connected to you without an agenda is deeply healing and transformative.
A session typically begins with the client on their stomach. I will say hello to their body and see where they allow themselves to move and where they hold tension.
When I find an area where there is something holding on with more grip. I will ask the client if they are able to feel that tension there, and they respond with a yes or no.
I will educate the client a little about what the function of that muscle is- for example the reaching out muscles in the arms and shoulders, or the support area of the pelvis: there are patterns to where people tighten based on the functions of the muscles.
Eventually people turn over to lie on their backs and I can see if they present similarly to what I would expect based on what I found thus far, because we exist in 3 dimensions.
There is a whole picture that gets painted from the tension in the body; I ask questions about their life based on the tension I find and sometimes people will have a memory arise or an awareness of something.
Sometimes the conversation is about holding themselves together, or tightening through the shoulders. The tension in the body shortens the muscle fibers, so it literally makes us smaller than we are. By being with the tension clients can discover that there is more inside here, there is more freedom and expansion available without this tension.
That said, I have no plan for how my client should be, or how they should heal. I have no vision for how my clients should show up in life and place no expectation upon them. I draw no conclusions about how my clients ought to be, because here is the deal – many of our deepest hurts center around the conclusions other people have drawn about us and have not allowed us to grow past.
Instead of an agenda, Rosen Method Practitioners trust in the wisdom of the body and work with what I like to call reverent curiosity (reverence for what my clients have been through and what they have had to do to survive, and curiosity to show interest and invite my clients to show more).
There is a foundational gentleness to Rosen Method Bodywork. Big catharsis isn’t necessarily where change comes from. Small steady change is actually often more sustainable.
The way that we repair trust is to experience small changes, and then go out into the world and live into that; Clients can then notice where they shut down again because that’s also information about what happened. The original wounding shows up in present-day in the ways we are closing down. An opening comes with the work and then (life being life) something happens and we put the tension back on.
We can let this be ok as clients gently discover and embody new ways of moving through the world and through their lives.
Who does it help?
Rosen Method Bodywork is useful for people who are Interested in exploring the things that hold them back in life and in exploring their attitudes and beliefs with compassionate, reverent curiosity.
Most people who come to Rosen Method Bodywork do so for one of these 3 reasons (and of course it can be all 3 as well):
Their muscles have “forgotten” how to relax and that is creating discomfort, physical limitation, or chronic pain.
They are wanting more from their life.
They want support integrating difficult experiences.
Rosen Method Bodywork is not appropriate for those who have a severe mental health diagnosis, somebody who has just recently gotten free from substance abuse or a recent trauma. That is because it can bring up feelings that are too big too soon. There are stages of life where we do need our tension to hold ourselves together.
Rosen Method is also not for children because we emphasize agency in this work. Our clients need to be adults making their own choices in life.
I do a free consultation on the phone before any new clients come in to work with me.
You can schedule your free consultation call by emailing me:
If you are an existing client, you can schedule with me here:
Learn more about me and how I came to be a Rosen Method Practitioner:
What are your rates?
In Santa Barbara I see clients on a sliding scale from $170 to $120.
In Los Angeles my sliding scale from $200 to $140.
I am so grateful for the work that I have received from Meg. Before I came in for a Rosen Method session, I was struggling with severe anxiety and stress. I was disconnected from myself, and I was very overwhelmed. I was not sleeping, and I was struggling with many physical symptoms.
I booked a session with Meg, because I felt so disconnected from myself. It took me some time to unwind my thoughts. Meg approached me with kindness and gentleness while she worked with my body and helping me get in touch with myself. I felt like we were both listening to my body to reveal places where I was stuck. By the time I left, I felt reunited with myself. I was able to step back into compassion and acceptance for myself and the results were lasting. I still feel more in touch with what is really happening for me and less closed to the world and to those I love most.
Early Childhood Teacher, Santa Barbara