Rolfing® Professional Athlete, Erik Owings

September 26th, 2013 by Tam Tran

Professional sports teams are known to have Rolfing® Structural Integration as a part of their training and recuperation regimens. The Phoenix Suns and the Minnesota Vikings are two examples of teams using Rolfing to enhance player performance.

Sometime last fall, I got a voicemail from Erik Owings. After listening to the message, I was pleased to learn of another athlete of professional caliber with enthusiasm for Rolfing.

Erik is a mixed martial artist (MMA) who owns the gym Mushin NYC and has fought on the professional level in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Corporation). He and Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre (GSP) created the RushFIT™ ultimate home fitness workout. In addition, his most recent ventures included developing  his own vitamin line and writing a nutrition and fitness manual.

When Erik came in for his first session last fall, he said he’d known about Rolfing for quite some time, having read “The Endless Web” by Rosemary Feitis DO and Louis Shultz DO, both of whom are Rolfers™ and direct students of Dr. Ida Rolf herself. The book made a lot of sense to him; it described the structural relationship of the body, held together by our connective tissue, or fascial system.

He suspected his body had a lot of scar tissue and bound fascia. He frequently suffered from persistent pain upon awakening and thought that it was due to his rigorous training regimen and the injuries he accrued over the years and fighting professionally in the UFC. His body showed plenty of evidence of past damage: a stab wound in the ribs, a torn meniscus, an 18″ scar down the inside of the left lower leg, broken fingers, head trauma, and even a temper now and then.

After just a few sessions, Erik would look forward to his Rolfing more and more. My Rolfing treatments surpassed his expectations and  reduced his chronic pain significantly. Unlike self-massage tools, Rolfing provided the necessary manual rigor and precision to decompress his body and relax him while building on positive improvements in his range of motion and agility for his training.

After about a year, he stands more open and aligned, moves with greater ease, and feels stronger than ever. Rolfing has helped him manage his lower back tension, knee pain, and neck tightness. He feels less stressed and more energized and has since included things in his training that he has never done before, such as half-hour long static free standing squats and one handed pull ups.

Erik feels that, as an athlete and fitness specialist, the only way to stay “in the game” and prevent serious injury is to make the time for and commit to regular hands-on therapy. For him, this therapy is Rolfing. In fact, he feels so positive about his experience that he refers me to his closest friends and clients, including GSP. For me, it’s definitely rewarding to provide a form of bodywork that makes such a positive impact to athletic training.

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