This is a form of bodywork founded in the late 1970s by Joseph Heller, an engineer. Based on the ideas of Ida Rolf with whom Heller had worked closely , its purpose is to provide the individual with a sound foundation for good health by structurally realigning the body through movement and massage. It offers an education in the principles of movement that will help maintain and improve this balance once achieved. The goal, however, is not only to produce physical results as with Rolfing, but by emphasizing psycho-emotional aspects of the therapy, to empower clients to grow, change and improve their total well-being.

The therapy usually consists of eleven 90-minute sessions of deep-tissue bodywork and movement re-education’. Specific to Hellerwork is dialogue between client and practitioner to explore the mind-body connection and uncover where unconscious thoughts and feelings may have created restrictive patterns in the body. The bodywork is a deep form of massage that concentrates on the interstitial or connective body tissues rather than the muscles or the skeleton itself. The aim is to release toxic and tension build-up, releasing stored stress and restoring balance. The client is also taught how to move in ways that increase body awareness and improve posture, so that everyday movements become easier, freer and smoother. Each session concentrates on a different part of the body and the emotions related to it, starting with the outer parts of the body such as the arms and legs, and going on to the ‘core’ areas deep within the body. Final sessions deal with the whole body, integrating all the work done previously.

By balancing the mind and body, Hellerwork aims primarily to prevent rather than treat health problems. Practitioners claim that the method relieves aches and pains, increases relaxation and improves general mobility and flexibility. Many medical conditions also respond well to this therapy, including headaches and migraine, chronic fatigue, disorders of the musculoskeletal system, respiratory problems such as asthma and stress-related conditions.