Frequently Asked Questions

What is Rolfing® Structural Integration?

The term “Rolfing®” refers to a system of body education and physical manipulation developed by Dr. Ida. P. Rolf. It is a method of structural integration that is the product of 50 years of study by Dr. Rolf.

Rolfing is a system of Manual Soft Tissue Manipulation and Movement Re-Education used to improve the bodies structure and function. Rolfing is very effective in improving posture, reducing pain and bettering performance.

Through manual manipulation and guided movements of the client, the Rolfer slowly manipulates and repositions the body’s fascia. This restores normal length and elasticity allowing the muscles and joints to realign, promoting a better functional structure.

The standard 10-session series may be completed at a rate of one session per week, or spread as long as six months. Sessions typically last 75 minutes. The results of Rolfing are not only long lasting, they are progressive. Clients report feeling and looking better and better for several months after their last session.

The basic 10-session series does not ever need to be repeated, though people often continue Rolfing® later with a three-session series of post 10-week work yearly. This supports an aging process that is more comfortable, more graceful and slower than we have seen previously. We suggest you wait at least six months to a year after your basic 10-series is completed before doing any post 10-week work in order to give your body time to make the progressive changes mentioned above.

How old is Rolfing®? (see History for more information)

Dr. Ida Rolf was a pioneer in the study of the human condition. She was a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in her early twenties in the 1920’s, when she began her research (see Case Studies for more information). She began Rolfing® in the 1930’s. By the 1950’s she was presenting her work to the chiropractic community throughout North America. In the late fifties and early sixties, she began teaching “Rolfing®” structural integration to pre med. students. In 1971 the Rolf® Institute of Structural Integration was founded. It is a non-profit organization, focusing on the education and training of Rolfers®, public education of Rolfing® and research.

Who benefits from Rolfing®?

Athletes, dancers, students of yoga and meditation, musicians, business people, people riddled with chronic pain and stress, people from all walks of life and all ages come to Rolfing not only for relief from their pain and stress, but also for improved performance in their professions and everyday activities.

Rolfing can also benefit people in psychotherapy by facilitating a deeper connection to their emotional conflicts, and it can effectively deepen practices such as meditation, yoga and tai chi.

Who uses Rolfing®?

See Press Coverage for details

How Does Rolfing® Feel?

The area of the body being worked can vary in sensations and feeling depending on the existence of chronic stress, injury and other factors. A new mindset has replaced the old in the Rolfing® profession, making pain a thing of the past. While the work can sometimes be uncomfortable, it is no longer painful. A pleasure feeling of release following momentary discomfort is the most common sensation.

Why have I not heard of it before?

The training and selection of Rolfers® is a rather specialized and selective process. The international headquarters and educational institute is in Boulder Colorado. Satellite schools and organizations are located in Australia, Brazil, European Union, Japan and Canada. Only since the 1950’s has Rolfing® been researched, refined and Rolfers® trained in structural integration.

How does Rolfing® differ from massage or chiropractic care?

In a simplistic manner, massage therapy focuses on working with the musculature. Chiropractic emphasizes manipulation of the bones, particularly the spine. Rolfers® focus on manipulation of the “connective tissues” or “fascia” i.e. tendons, ligaments, aponeurosis and fascial sheaths as well as the musculature.
Rolfing® also has a very GLOBAL view of the body and is a study of the relationships of all parts moving harmoniously together. Rolfing® also considers the profound effect of gravity on human structure.

How are Rolfers® Trained?

The Rolf® Institute of Structural Integration was founded in 1971. Rolfers are trained and certified by the Rolf® Institute, headquartered in Bolder, Colorado. The Rolf® Institute is the only school accredited to teach Rolfing® and is the sole certifying body for Rolfers. It is regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education and Private Occupational Schools.

Successful applicants complete a training program that usually requires two years of study and is considered “post graduate” in nature. After initial Certification, Rolfers commit to a program of continuing education for an additional 5 years. The training covers the Biological and Behavioral Sciences, the theory of Rolfing, extensive clinical work under supervision and work with the dynamics of the human structure in motion.

What is Fascia?

Fascia is a sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue beneath the skin which covers and separates underlying tissues, body cavities, organs, encloses muscles and binds together body structures. It provides support and holds our bodies together. Below is a photo of healthy fascia.

Where can I get more information on Rolfing®?

Rolfing Association of Canada (RAC)

The Rolf® Institute