The 10-Series

(excerpt from Rolfing® Structural Integration by Jason Mixter, Certified Advanced Rolfer)

The term Rolfing Structural Integration now refers to a system of body education and physical manipulation originally called structural integration. It is the product of 50 years of study and practice by Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., and, since her death in 1979, the many people she trained to carry on her work.

Rolfing is normally taught or applied in ten sessions of variable length. Each segment of the process is both a continuation of the previous one and an introduction to the next. The body is systematically and physically manipulated during this initial series of ten sessions, each of which lasts about an hour and may be scheduled as often as twice a week. Some people choose to schedule their sessions once a week, others once a month.

Rolfing’s ten session series is designed to uncover a structural ease and kinetic balance that is unique to each client. Rolfing cannot accurately be described as therapy or as a returning of the body to a “natural” state from which it has deteriorated. Rather, it is a process of education in which a Rolfer seeks to help a client discover the most efficient way of using his or her body, given the limitations, liabilities, and virtues of that body. In effect, the plan of each group of ten lessons must be created anew for the needs of the particular person seeking help. However, there are certain guidelines and landmarks which every Rolfer follows in each program of sessions.  (This will be elaborated on within each specifically numbered Rolfing session’s description further on.)

Fundamentally, Rolfing consists of some simple ideas about human structure:

  1. most human beings are significantly out of alignment with gravity;
  2. we function better when we are lined up with the gravitational field of the earth; and
  3. the human body is so plastic that its alignment can be brought into harmony with gravity at practically any time of life.

Rolfers insist that the human body is so plastic that its alignment can be brought into harmony with gravity at practically any time of life.

Training and Certification

Many aspirants spend up to three years meeting the Rolf Institute’s prerequisites and preparing their applications for admission.

Persons seeking admission to Rolfing training are required to have an extensive background in the biological and behavioral sciences, training and professional experience in body manipulation, and a facility in working with people. A written application is submitted to the Rolf Institute, and the candidate is interviewed by the Institute’s admissions committee to determine the person’s qualifications for the work.

Having been admitted to Rolfing training, the student attends a series of classes at the Rolf Institute over a period of about a year. Throughout the training program, each student’s progress and readiness for continued training is evaluated by the instructor and his or her assistant. Classes are kept small in order to give students personal attention.

Rolfing students are committed in writing to a program of continuing professional education. Certified Rolfers are governed by a code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. In order to practice Rolfing and to identify themselves as “Rolfers,” they must be members in good standing of the Rolf Institute. Rolfing training is available only through the Rolf Institute, the sole certifying agency for Rolfers. A directory of Certified Rolfers is published by the Rolf Institute and is free to requesters.

Article reprinted with the kind permission of Rodale Press, this article is from the book Whole Body Healing by Carl Lozue, James W. Nechas and the Editors of Prevention Magazine. Copyright 1983 by Rodale Press, Inc.

For information about purchasing this book, you may contact your local book seller or the publisher whose address is

Rodale Press Inc.
35 E. Minor Street
Emmaus, Pennsylvania 28049

Illustrations taken from Rolfing: Reestablishing the Natural Alignment and Structural Integration of the Human Body for Vitality and Well-Being by Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.

Rolfing® and Rolfer™ are service marks of the Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration