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ROSEN METHOD  “Letting go” in a safe and healthy way 

By Melinda Gates, Rosen Practitioner

            Today I lived fully, eyes and heart open wide.  And this is what Rosen Method bodywork can allow: the ability to connect with our true and full experience of life.  It offers a freedom that comes from acknowledgment of our parts we have withheld from the world, and from ourselves.

            Rosen came to me abruptly when I acknowledged the need to involve my whole being in any healing I hoped to experience.  I had been diagnosed with Lupus and was in remission, although I suffered acutely, painfully, from a condition called Raynaud’s Syndrome.  When a person with Raynaud’s experiences cold, her blood vessels contract and stay closed; blood  stops its flow and the extremities lose circulation, turning white, then blue.

            Raynaud’s symbolized how it felt to be me at that time; how I reacted to life by closing down, how difficult it was for me to allow warmth, love, joy, enthusiasm into my life.  I had lost the conscious ability to be relaxed, spontaneous and open.  My body was tense, my jaw tight, and my world felt small and contracted.  I wanted to feel better.

            Verbal therapy and massage had helped me.  Still, I felt fragmented, only rarely experiencing a wholeness of purpose, of being.  One night I had the simple realization that for any real and sustained healing to occur, whether it be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, it would need to take place on all these levels.


Synchronicity struck the next day when I read about something called the Rosen Method, a form of bodywork that seemed to encompass the whole self.  I immediately tracked down a practitioner in my area.

            Rosen body workers view the body as the entryway into the body/mind, using musculature and breath as guides to the inner essence of a client.  My practitioner said that “Rosen touch” differed from “massage touch” because it was non-manipulative; she would use touch not to fix but to meet the tension in my body, guiding me with this touch, words, and with her own unconditional presence to a more conscious awareness of my muscular tension.

            My practitioner used the word “holding” to describe body tension because, she said, it implies an active relationship between us and our muscular tensions; tension isn’t something that happens to us but is something that we create and maintain by our unconscious and habitual way of “holding ourselves together.”  Our awareness of our holding allows the possibility for letting go.

            The source of chronic tension is unexpressed emotion, says Marion Rosen, founder of the Rosen Method.  Muscular tension is the body’s attempt to actively manage underlying emotional dilemmas.  As children, we believe our survival depends on distancing ourselves from painful experiences and holding back “inappropriate” emotions, and we use our musculature to keep our emotions under control.

            When we hold down feelings or hold back actions, we become active participants in withholding our essential selves.  Our holding becomes a barrier to our full physical, emotional and spiritual experience of life.  When holding becomes chronic, we forget we have the ability to let go.  We may begin to suffer from unhealthy and painful symptoms of our constrictions.

            Through the body, we are able to contact the places we hold ourselves back.  As muscles begin to relax with the facilitation of a Rosen Method practitioner, the emotional content they have held is often able to be experienced.  Once imprisoned emotion has been felt, there is no more need for the muscle to hold, and the energy used for holding back is then available for moving forward.

            From my first Rosen session, I became aware of myself in a new and essential way.  My practitioner helped me focus on what was happening in the moment, using touch and words to connect me with my own experience.  What a shock it was to actually feel the work my muscles were doing, yet how freeing it was to experience the truth.  The verbal aspect of Rosen supported these discoveries; when I spoke the truth, my body responded with opening and with breath.  Things I said out of habit, that were not true for me, did not resonate in my body.  This information, reflected back from my practitioner, brought me closer to the reality of who I was – and was not.

            And this is the gift that Rosen has given me: the gift of truth, and of presence.  It took time to learn to tolerate truth, to tolerate experience happening NOW, real experience felt rather than thought, now rather than long ago.  I shed layers of protective covering, physical and emotional, allowing me to live with a freedom I never could have imagined.  A Rosen practitioner will never force a client to give up their protection, since living in this world requires some defense.  Having the choice, however, is what Rosen offers its clients.


As a result of Rosen bodywork, I am free from Raynaud’s Syndrome.  This diminished as I was able to feel how actively I was doing the holding in my body and as I then began to experience relaxation during Rosen sessions, teaching my muscles that there were other possibilities.  I learned about the underlying causes for my holding and slowly integrated theses unconscious patterns into my conscious awareness.  I have had no symptoms of Lupus for eight years.

            My inner life has changed even more dramatically.  I started reacting differently to situations I encountered, with more freedom to respond spontaneously.  I discovered I could handle situations I once thought might overwhelm me.  I had more energy.  I felt more alive:  I began to trust myself.  I started the training to become a Rosen Practitioner and last year, after four years of training, became certified in the Rosen Method.

            Many people are interested in Rosen’s healing touch.  Some are psychotherapists or body workers looking to deepen their existing practices.  Some come to Rosen with chronic pain, hoping to reach beneath their pain for clues to its purpose.  Others come as seekers looking for a more authentic connection to themselves, their bodies and the universe.  Everybody comes with an inkling that there is more to them than they have been able to bring forth into the world.  Rosen Method establishes the safety to hear from within what is true for us, and to trust in this truth.

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