By Laurelle Walsh
New research on fascia – the connective tissue that wraps the muscles and connects muscle to tendon – and the recent ability of ultrasound imaging to “see” fascia, is going to “change everything” in the healing arts, Hellerwork practitioner Jason Rumohr believes.
In fact, healing human fascia is so critical in Rumohr’s practice that the vanity plate on his biodiesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta reads “FASCIA.”
Rumohr recently opened a new practice called Rumohr Healing Arts at the Methow Valley Wellness Center, where he intends to help his clients heal and learn to use their fascia to their benefit, he said.
He incorporates both light and deep myofascial release, deep tissue massage, neuromuscular re-education, lymphatic drainage and Hellerwork Structural Integration to treat acute and chronic conditions, according to the website, www.jasonrumohr.com. Rumohr also does range-of-motion testing and teaches “awareness of movement” exercises that can help people learn better ways of moving. “Sometimes how we initially learned to move in childhood doesn’t serve us later in life,” he said.
A first session takes two hours and includes a thorough intake process during which Rumohr learns his client’s basic medical history and what brought him or her into his office. He then does a biomechanical assessment and begins bodywork – seated, standing or lying down massage – “to feel what’s going on in the body,” he said.
Eleven 90-minute sessions typically follow in the Hellerwork series, with each session combining deep tissue bodywork with movement education and guided dialogue about the mind/body connection, according to Rumohr’s website.
“People ask me what I do, and I say, ‘If you’re really interested, come in and I’ll demonstrate,’” Rumohr said. “Describing what I do is like trying to describe what chocolate tastes like by reading a list of ingredients.”
Rumohr offers new clients a free 30-minute consultation “to give them a first-hand sense of whether they’d like to work with me and if they can benefit from what I do,” he said.
Twisp electrician Ben Sabold, who allowed the News in on his first session with Rumohr, reported an old back injury as well as tightness in his hips and one sloping shoulder during his initial assessment. Rumohr applied slow-paced steady pressure to Sabold’s neck, trunk and limbs, sliding along the path of the connective tissue, he explained.
“I’m touching a lot of bases with Ben today,” Rumohr said. “You have to go at the speed that the tissue will allow. It’s like peeling an onion: You have to go through the surface layers first.”
Rumohr also tested Sabold’s range of motion and taught him an exercise to strengthen the inner thighs that incorporates breathing and muscle control. “These are some muscles that we tend not to use as much. Strengthening that area will help to compensate for the overuse of the IT [iliotibial] band and outer hip muscles,” said Rumohr.
Rumohr grew up in Wenatchee, graduated in 1992 from Eastmont High School, and began studying the healing arts at the Brennan School of Healing in Florida in 1997. “It was a little ‘woo-woo,’ but that first four-year program in holistic healing gave me a completely different perspective on life, and insight into what it takes to really heal,” he said.
He proceeded with a certificate program in massage therapy, opened a Seattle practice in 2003 and became certified in Hellerwork Structural Integration in 2006.
Rumohr and his wife, Sharon Gray, began discussing their move to the Methow Valley over a year ago, he said. He describes winding down his Seattle practice as “bittersweet,” but adds that they were both ready to live someplace sunnier, with a slower pace of life. “We feel like we landed in a good place. We’ve already felt great support with people welcoming us here,” he said.
Gray, a Bastyr University-trained acupuncturist with a specialty in digestive health, is currently working on a book, and will eventually open a practice in the Methow as well, Rumohr said.
Rumohr Healing Arts is located in the Methow Valley Wellness Center at 105 Norfolk Rd. in Winthrop. Appointments may be made by calling (509) 341-4050 or emailing email@example.com.