What, when and where was your first experience of complementary therapy?
After I left school I got a Saturday job at a shop in Clapham called Verde. It was a family run Aromatherapy business masterminded by the infamous Ruby Cook who started out making products in her kitchen.
I spent many hours learning from Ruby all about essential oils and alternative healing. I continued working there all through college. Taking on an advisory role I became fascinated with the world of therapies.
What made you decide to treat others?
In 1998 I travelled to South America to witness my first solar eclipse. It was during this next 15 months that I started to ask myself what I was going to do with my life?! I had already started massaging in backpackers’ hostels to earn a little money for the next leg of my journey, and was beginning to really enjoy working with the body and supporting people’s thirst for change.
The following year I travelled to South Africa and ended up in Cape Town working in a healing centre on Long Street. They had a “massage drive” offering free treatments for people who had never had a massage before. I found it an awe-inspiring experience and after purchasing South Africa’s yearly therapies magazine I began to try everything out until I came across Rolfing. There was only one Rolfer in South Africa and luckily for me he was based in Cape town. After my first session I knew I had found it and that I wanted to be a Rolfer.
What has influenced your treatments the most?
My clients are my greatest inspiration and their bodies influence the way a session will play out. I always say to my clients “your body rules the show, in the arena.”
My Somatic Experiencing training four years ago also has without a doubt brought a greater depth to my journey and work as a Rolfer and has influenced the way I work.
My Dad always taught me that whatever you want is yours if you work hard enough and keep focused. Perhaps a little old-fashioned but it definitely worked for me to grow up with the belief that anything is possible. And I know I draw on this core belief when I work with clients that maybe have lost the faith that they or their bodies can change.
What does the term holistic mean to you?
Within a Rolfing process I will explain to my clients that we are working with their physical, emotional and psychological bodies. This is not laid out as some spiritual or “waffy” concept. This is spelled out because every nerve ending literally connects to a muscle fibre and so every thought you have or feeling you feel has a physical effect on your body. We don’t separate them out: this feels ultimately holistic to me.
What role do your therapies play in the way you live?
Rolfing feels like a vocation to me, I take it everywhere.
What do you hope your clients experience when they get treated by you?
I hope my clients learn what it feels like to feel free inside their bodies. Rolfing is an educational process where clients get an opportunity to understand what might be holding them back and how they can move forward. Your body has the greatest lessons to teach you. Sometimes we just have to come down from the mind to connect with those lessons.
What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
Teaching people not to fear their bodies and to understand why they are the way they are.
Do you eat ice cream, drink coffee or have any other guilty pleasures?
Why would I not eat ice cream, because I’m a therapist?! I think it’s probably essential for a balanced life! Therapy is about balance and therapists are no different from you.
Liesl D. Hinkly is available for private Rolfing, Somatic Experiencing and Skilful Touch Bodywork sessions every Friday and Saturday at our Notting Hill centre. Contact reception to book an appointment.
Find out more about Rolfing at www.therolfingspace.com.
View Liesl’s therapy schedule.