She made it all the way to Washington state from Cape Cod in her 20s, she speaks French, and survived living on a wooden boat for two Pacific Northwest winters. She’s also certified in a body realignment technique that you may not have heard of—Rolfing.
“With all the body work I’ve done, Rolfing has provided me with the most satisfaction and effectiveness,” said Amy Bienvenu, owner of Island Wellness Center. “When your body doesn’t let you do what you want, it’s really frustrating.”
Rolfing, a form of therapeutic manipulation of connective tissues in the body, is designed to relieve tension and discomfort, realign the body, and provide postural education. An integrated approach, these factors work toward an improved awareness of body and mind.
The practice may sound New Age, but Bienvenu’s not a “wu-wu” practitioner, she said. She comes from a strong science background, with a degree in health sciences and a concentration in sports medicine from Alma College in Michigan. Her desire to practice wellness on others arose from healing her own injuries.
In college, Bienvenu ran track & field, in the ‘80s and ‘90s she was a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. Her interest in fitness and healing related injuries has grown into a much more inclusive practice, not limited to athletes.
“You never know who is going to walk in that door,” she said. “You get to read a mystery book everyday, trying to figure out where something comes from. It’s refreshing.”
Bienvenu’s practice looks at the whole picture. It’s not just about bones and structure, she said, there’s an emotional component to how one moves and breathes. Her goal is to release tension and align the body, which promotes healing past trauma, and helps prevent future injury.
At the forefront of the Rolfing philosophy is a heightened sense of awareness, which helps unlock the potential for an improved quality of life.
In the midst of raising an energetic 5-year-old daughter, running her own business, and working together with her husband, sculptor Micajah Bienvenu, in their gallery at Cannery Landing, Bienvenu’s passion for wellness is insurmountable.
“Looking at the body is like looking at architecture,” she said. “Like building a house, with Rolfing you have to start from the ground up.”
Rolfing at Island Wellness Center works in a series of several sessions. The first session begins at the feet, and eventually works up the body to the shoulders and neck. Bienvenu said she’s seen “textbook” transformations of clients from the first session to the last.
Bienvenu hired licensed massage therapist, Maia Yip, at the Wellness Center in May, so Rolfing could be her main focus, and so she could have someone she trusts to meet clients needs.
Bienvenu hopes to bring on a third alternative medicine professional, to compliment the center’s established practices.
The Wellness Center is located at 470 Spring Street, Suite 103, offers a 10 percent discount to seniors and works with several insurance companies.
“When you can stand with ease and balance it’s a sight to see,” she said.