Rossiter Method to Avoid Surgery, Jun 04 | When Exercise & StretchingMay Help You Avoid Surgery


Richard Rossiter believes surgery is not always the best route, and here’s why: it results in scar tissue, stiff joints, and body parts that do not work as they used to before the operation.To help his clients make informed decisions about surgery, Rossiter and wife Sue MacDonald just published Surgery Sucks! Fix Your Body without Needles, Knives, Scalpels, ’Scopes, Lasers, or Other Sharp Stuff! (Bramkamp Printing; $35).

The book is a compilation of 100 two-person stretching exercises designed to loosen connective tissue and restore mobility and circulation, resulting in pain relief and easier movement.

“Surgery is irreversible,” says Rossiter, who is trained as a certified advanced Rolfer, a body therapy technique that specializes in manipulating connective tissue. “Restoring mobility and circulation to connective tissue should be a first line of attack rather than surgery.”

Endorsements for Rossiter’s approach are growing among physicians. Dr. Dorothy Shaffer, an internist and acupuncturist who recently opened a practice in Cincinnati, is now using Rossiter’s techniques with her patients.

“It appeals to me because it avoids surgery and it heals the problem as opposed to treating the symptom,” Dr. Shaffer said. “And it involves the person in their own health care.”

Dr. Sandra Eisele, of Wellington Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, appreciates how the book applies “some athletic principles to the workplace. It probably goes along with what many workplaces are doing on wellness and general heath and conditioning. And it pays off in the end.”

Dr. Eisele, who trains members of the Cincinnati Ballet, says such stretches and exercises could reduce injuries. “If this can bring to light a new application, it will help people work better and be more efficient,” she said. “And sometimes, surgery does suck.”

Rossiter and MacDonald are not suggesting that all surgery is bad or unnecessary. What they are saying is that there are other ways to remove the pain caused by arthritis, tendonitis, and even a torn rotator cuff.

The Rossiter Way is a form of Rolfing that uses the feet, rather than the hands, to apply pressure. For any stretch, a “coach” applies pressure while the “patient” stretches the limb or muscles worked on.

“You stretch from the inside while weight is applied from the outside,” Rossiter says. The result is a nearly immediate loosening of the surrounding connective tissue.

A former helicopter pilot who searched for relief from chronic shoulder pain, Rossiter now teaches people how to use these stretches to change the nature of the body’s connective tissue.Rossiter owns Rossiter & Associates Inc., a national firm based in Cincinnati that helps companies eliminate work-related injuries by offering employees unique ways to stay in shape while on the job. Trained employees do the stretches with each other.

Clients Sauder Woodworking in Archbold, Ohio, Bunn-O-Matic in Creston, Iowa, and Quebecor/World Color in Modesto, Calif., all saw an average 70 percent reduction in medical costs. Data compiled by an independent auditor that show how companies saved money and reduced lost workdays through the Rossiter program are available at MacDonald says the book also includes a chapter on when not to do the stretches.

Surgery Sucks also draws from MacDonald’s more than 20 years as a health care reporter at the Cincinnati Enquirer. The book includes loads of facts and statistics on the state of health care today, from medical errors to surgical robots.

Ideally, Rossiter and MacDonald want to help people out of pain. “These techniques help you find your pain inside the spaces where it hurts the most,” MacDonald says. The stretches then work the pain out.

For more information about the Rossiter Method, go to, or contact Judy Stevens (641) 472-3496.