2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Hellerwork

What Is It?
Hellerwork is a type of bodywork created by Joseph Heller, a former NASA aerospace engineer. Like Rolfing, Hellerwork uses deep-tissue massage to help reduce stress and ease mobility.

Heller was originally taught Rolfing by Ida Rolf, Ph.D., a Columbia University trained biochemist, who created the therapy in the 1930s. In 1976 he became the head of the Rolf Institute, now located in Boulder, Colorado, which oversees the training of Rolfing practitioners. Two years later he developed his own variation on the method, which added verbal dialogue and movement exercises to the hands-on work.

How Does It Work?
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.

What You Can Expect
Hellerwork usually consists of 11 sessions, lasting an average of about 90 minutes each. Sessions one through three, known as the “superficial” sessions, typically focus on the surface layers of the fascia. These layers are associated with the muscles that are near the surface of the body. Sessions four through seven involve the deeper fascia and muscles and are called the “core” sessions. Sessions eight through 11 are the “integrative” sessions, which aim to synthesize the work of the earlier sessions.

At the first session, the practitioner will ask you about your medical history, so you can discuss your specific needs and how Hellerwork might address them. For this and subsequent sessions, you will be advised not to eat for a couple of hours prior to the session, and you will be asked to undress to your underwear.

Each session will have a theme related to the part of the body that is being worked on. An example of such a theme is “Inspiration.” During this session, the practitioner–through bodywork, dialogue about what inspires you, and exercises–will focus on aligning your rib cage vertically over your pelvis and opening up your breathing.

Some of the deeper work during the 11 sessions may hurt, but it should never be unbearable. You should feel relaxed and energized at the end of each session. The verbal dialogue portion of the therapy will not require you to discuss subjects you may find too difficult or painful.

The practitioner might take photographs or videos of you throughout the 11 sessions to help you follow your progress. The final appointment will be a review session. Your practitioner may recommend postponing further sessions for several months until your body can process the changes and adjustments you have made so far.

Health Benefits
Proponents of Hellerwork claim that it can relieve respiratory conditions and problems related to muscle tension and stress, as well as treat sports injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and back and neck pain.

While some forms of bodywork, such as massage, have shown clear benefits in studies, few studies have been done with Hellerwork. Even so, many Hellerwork patients are very positive about its effects.

If you’d like to try Hellerwork for a specific problem, you should first consult a doctor to rule out any serious underlying medical condition.

How To Choose a Practitioner
There are more than 300 official Hellerwork practitioners in the United States. To obtain certification, a person must undergo a 1,250-hour study and training program. The training is generally divided into intensive courses lasting 12 to 15 days, including weekend classes, over a period of one to two years.

Some insurance companies may cover a portion of the cost for Hellerwork treatments. Contact your own carrier to find out about its policy.

Cautions
Hellerwork should be avoided by those who have rheumatoid arthritis or other serious inflammatory conditions.

Hellerwork can be modified to accommodate pregnant women.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops

**Vaginal Rejuvenation
Tuesday, November 12, 6-7:30pm
With Mari Stecker, LAc, and Renee Zambo, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist

Course Fee: $75.00

Are you experiencing vaginal dryness? Or pain with intercourse? Have you been told you have vaginal atrophy due to menopause? Are you frustrated because you believe your sex life is over? Well, it doesn’t have to be! More →

**Adrenal Boost!
Wednesday, December 4, 6-8pm
With Caley Scott, ND, and Renee Zambo, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist

Course Fee: $75.00

Feeling Tired? Need help improving fatigue? Learn to boost energy with WholeHealth Chicago’s Naturopath Caley Scott and Yoga Therapist Renee Zambo. More →

**Facial Guasha Class
Thursday, December 5, 6-7:30pm
Hosted by Mari Stecker, LAc

Course Fee: $75.00
(includes take-home facial guasha tool and custom anti-aging facial oil!)

Join us and learn a traditional Chinese facial rejuvenation technique that you can do yourself! Guasha treatment is a 2,000 year old Chinese massage technique that uses a flat tool to apply pressure to the skin to increase circulation as it moves along acupuncture channels. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • NAD+: Finally Getting Serious About Anti-Aging Therapy

    We’re living in a time of major, worldwide breakthroughs when it comes to understanding how we age and also the steps we can take to not only slow down aging, but to all appearances reverse the process. Over history, the fountain of youth seekers came, literally and figuratively, to dead ends, but back then Ponce de Leon had no internet in Florida. I do and Read More

  • The Cleveland Clinic and WholeHealth Chicago

    I know, I know. It’s presumptuous of me to mention Cleveland Clinic in  the same line, much less on the same page, as WholeHealth Chicago, though we do have significant attributes in common, as you’ll see today. This research article, which appeared last week on the JAMA website, links the two of us in ways we never expected, though it didn’t surprise us. Naturally, we Read More

  • Diagnostic Tests Chart Path To A Healthful Longevity

    Let me start with a piece of disappointing news. You know that battery of blood tests ordered by your family doctor or internist during your dutiful check-up? That complete blood count (CBC), comprehensive metabolic profile (CMP), and so forth? All of them are pretty useless. Yes, they’re almost always covered by insurance, so they’re free, being part of the annual wellness exam your insurance company Read More

Support your brain, heart and immune system health this month with 20% off BodyBio Balance Oil

Omega 6s and Omega 3s are the most powerful nutrients we can give our bodies. BodyBio Balance Oil is formulated with a ratio of four (4) parts omega 6 to one (1) part omega 3. Taken in this ratio, these nutrients positively impact brain function, digestive health, immune support, liver function and cardiovascular activity.

Click here to take advantage of this month’s promotion!