Dan Bienenfeld is a world renowned Hellerwork Structural Integration trainer and practitioner with over 40 years of experience. He is past president of the Hellerwork Practitioner’s Association, and a senior training director of the Hellerwork® Program. Dan was co-founder of Los Angeles Healing Arts Center, one of the nation’s largest multi-specialty alternative medical centers.
Prior to founding the Center, Dan built a strong foundation for his work from many years of facilitating programs in Structural Integration oriented ergonomics for large corporate clients such as Johnson and Johnson. Dan’s commitment as an author and teacher ultimately springs from his deep passion and love for his work, and his desire to effect a positive healing transformation for as many people as possible in conjunction with his personal practice.
How it Began
"My number one goal with my work is to spread the knowledge and the experience that most profoundly changed my life. By age eighteen I had developed scoliosis—rotational curvatures of the spine—a condition that caused tremendous pain and pressure in my body, and also great self-consciousness. Whatever its complex biomechanical genesis, this physical and psychological distortion was intertwined with my inability to release physical and mental pressure from my body. I wore baggy clothes to hide my twisted form, and hoped other people would not focus on me.
My introduction to Structural Integration starts here."
"My introduction to Structural Integration was initially through Rolfing—Structural Integration (SI)—which is designed to realign, rebalance and renew the body. SI practitioners apply specific pressure at specific depths and in precise directions to release tension patterns in the body tissue of the client, and to re-educate the client’s movement. Those patterns shape our bodies and reflect our inner processes, which are really the ‘story of our lives’ told in the flesh. The Ten Session-based Structural Integration methods are offered under various descriptive names in the SI community.
As a result of receiving this SI work, my body and spine straightened out, my pain disappeared, I gained one and a half inches in height, and “my entire way of relating to the world shifted toward a more positive and open mode. But within a year—to my horror—my body began reverting into twisted pain. Desperate to return to a better quality of life, I searched for more answers to relieve my physical and emotional discomfort.”
“I was referred to Joseph Heller, an advanced Rolfer and president of the Rolf Institute, who also had extensive training in psychology and in movement therapy with Judith Aston, one of the great teachers of our time. Joseph later founded Hellerwork Structural Integration—commonly called Heller-work—and authored the book BODYWISE. After several sessions with him, my body once again straightened out. But the best part was that I learned from him how to maintain my alignment and to continue improving my body on my own. The keys were structural awareness, movement awareness, awareness of the impact of my emotions, and an understanding of how these elements affected my ability to move my body optimally.
I decided then and there to devote my life’s work to helping others overcome pain and tension in their bodies and teaching them how to be aware and embodied in their daily lives. For me, the path was through Heller’s methods, which include therapeutic SI sessions, movement-learning, and attention to related psychological growth. I began training with Joseph Heller in 1978, and continue to practice Hellerwork and also to train others in this practice..
My private Hellerwork Structural Integration practice included bodywork “body psychology, and movement re-education. My involvement in the field of bodywork and body movement education steadily increased as I sought to offer this life-changing information to larger numbers of people. I began working with groups in private and corporate settings to help them reduce stress and injuries, and learn to use their bodies in a freer, more balanced manner.
Now that I was working with groups of people in addition to individuals, I needed an effective way of teaching groups without the hands-on work. In response to this need, I developed a self-directed system which was enthusiastically received. This system has financially benefited companies and individual clients by reducing injury, stress, and absenteeism, and by increasing employee morale and productivity. Most importantly, it has increased physical and emotional well-being for those who have experienced these methods. So many people said, 'This has changed my life—everyone should have access to this program,’ I have written a series of books to share this valuable knowledge.”