Dr. Ida Rolf with client in classroom.


What Rolfing Isn’t

Rolfing is not massage. Let’s just start there. This is not meant as a slam to massage, far from it.  In fact, I’ve been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 1989, and only became a Certified Rolfer in 2001. This is why it’s important to me to clarify that they are not the same. They have different training, different goals, and different ways of achieving them.

Basically, Rolfing is the original brand of Structural Integration developed by Dr. Ida Rolf in the 1960s and 1970s. Rolfing is designed to help correct postural and structural imbalances in movement and gravity, through a specific and time-tested method of bodywork. ONLY people who have attended and been Certified by the Dr. Rolf Institute are legally allowed to call themselves “Certified Rolfers.”  So someone who says that got some Rolfing training in massage school is wrong.

Originally Rolfing was a Series of 10 sessions, but over time some of the Advanced Rolfers have modified a few sessions to accommodate the many changes in our lives, so now we have 10-13 sessions, depending on your particular needs. However, many Rolfers (including myself) do stand-alone sessions, also called “Tune-Ups” for those who need specific areas worked, but are not looking for a long-term process. I even find that Rolfing helps people recover quickly from injuries sustained in auto accidents, sports, and from repetitive use.

Some Rolfing highlights:

  • Rolfing stems from Osteopathic medicine, not from massage therapy.
  • Rolfing is a “method” of bodywork, not a “style of massage” or a “type of touch.”
  • Since the fascia controls where all of the structures in the body are positioned, addressing fascial restrictions and rotations actually addresses ALL of the structures of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, organs).
  • Rolfing sessions are asymmetrical, since the goal is to balance the body.   Only areas of imbalance are addressed, so right/left side treatment will likely not be identical.
  • Certified Rolfers perform assessments before, during, and after each session.
  • Rolfing is an active technique, where the person receiving the work is just as involved in the process as the practitioner.
  • Rolfing is a team effort, where the practitioner and client work together on and off the table to achieve amazing results.
  • Rolfing can help decrease pain, increase range of motion, and give you a more fluid sense of movement throughout your entire body.
  • Rolfing leads to long-term and/or permanent changes in the body.  If I do my job right, you won’t need me for long.

If you now feel that you have more questions than before you read this, please contact me (Jenny) and I’ll be delighted to answer you!