FAQ Frequently asked questions
- What exactly happens in a Rolfing session?
- What is fascia?
- What is special about a career in Rolfing?
- Do I need special qualifications to become a Rolfer?
- What do I need to start my training as a Rolfer?
- I have no experience as a bodywork practitioner. Can I still become
- I have a sound background in bodywork. Must I still enrol in Unit 1?
- What are the outcomes of the Unit 1 training?
- Do I qualify for entering the Rolfing training after I have completed
- Once I have completed the Unit 1 training and met all the requirements
for training as a Rolfer, what happens next?
- What is the central focus of the Unit 2 course?
- What happens after Unit 2?
- What does Unit 3 entail?
- Will I get personal attention in class?
- How do I become a member of the Rolfing profession?
- How long does it take to become a Rolfer?
- Who teaches Rolfing?
- When can I start work as a Rolfer?
- Can I make a living as a Rolfer in South-Africa?
- Can I practice as a Rolfer in other countries?
- How can I find out if I would be a good Rolfer?
- What additional costs should I expect during the Rolfing Training?
- Where else can I train to become a Rolfer?
- What additional training will be available to me once I am a Certified
- What does the Advanced Rolfing training entail?
In the first Rolfing session, Rolfing is described in more detail and any questions
answered. An interview discussing health history, reasons for coming to Rolfing
and goals for the treatment is held. An assessment of posture is done, with client
standing and walking. Work is done combining touch, movement and awareness on the
experience. This is done on a Rolfing table, similar to a massage table. Work may
also be done while sitting or standing. At the end of the session, the client stands
and/or walks again, comparing his experience with bodily experience before the session.
There is an opportunity to articulate/describe changes that can be felt/seen with
Fascia, or soft connective tissue, envelops supports and connects all body components
with each other. Every individual muscle, even each individual muscle fibre, is
wrapped in fascia, which attaches and merges into another layer of fascia which
wraps bone (periosteum).
Fascia is a highly adaptable form of tissue. It responds to strain (hard work, tension)
by shortening, thickening, hardening and dehydrating. As an area shortens, it pulls
the bones it attaches into closer to one another. This determines directly our alignment.
As it thickens and hardens, we lose range of movement and flexibility in those areas.
Thanks to this remarkable adaptability, these responses to strain can be improved/reversed
by the Rolfing type of touch and combination with movement. As the fascia changes
by lengthening, softening, regaining its elasticity and responsiveness, the alignment
changes and any load gets more evenly spread throughout the whole body.
For more information and up-to-date cutting edge scientific research in this remarkable
tissue, see www.fasciaresearch.com, www.fascia2007.com the latter is the website
of the first Fascia research congress sponsored by the Rolf Institute, chaired by
Dr. Thomas Findley (MD, Rolfer® and scientific researcher) that took place in Oct.
2007 at Harvard Medical School, Boston USA.
Ever wondered what it would be like if you could make a living out of something
that you really loved doing that provided a challenging and personally expansive
endeavour that has at its root relationship: between people, with oneself, with
body, with environment, all rolled into one? (Many of us work during the day; do
some form of personal growth practice like yoga, tai chi or meditation practise
after hours, but what if our personal practise becomes our profession, to the direct
benefit of our clients?)
A career in Rolfing provides you with the opportunity for self employment, whereby
you determine the course of your professional career. It allows for freedom of choice
and a fulfilling opportunity to engage with people. It offers you the opportunity
to be part of a dynamic international community of Rolfers, with the potential to
practice your profession all over the world. You can become part of a community
dedicated to deepen and expand the work of Rolfing as a cutting edge form of manual
therapy with international recognition and high standards of practice.
You certainly need special qualities! You will need good communication skills. You
will also need maturity of thought and good life skills – which is why the entry
requirement for prospective Rolfers has a minimum training age of 25. From an academic
point of view you will need to be of university level or able to show that you have
had a successful professional career.
The first step to becoming a Rolfer is to experience the ten session process with
a certified Rolfer, as well as to experience 5 movement sessions with a certified
Rolfing Movement Practitioner.
Being Rolfed provides prospective Rolfers with firsthand experience of the work.
It opens the way for an experiential process of learning as well as embodiment of
one’s own structure. Experiencing the work from a client’s perspective before embarking
on training as a practitioner of Rolfing, will also help clarify if a career in
Rolfing is for you. Once you have experienced the work firsthand, you will need
to be accepted by the South African Rolfing Association, having met their entry
Yes. If you have no background in body work, you need to enrol in the Unit 1 training
(Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration). Unit 1 is designed to fulfil the
necessary prerequisites to be trained in the Rolfing method itself. Unit 1 is designed
for people with none, or some experience in bodywork.
No. You qualify for enrolment in the Advanced Unit 1 training. The Advanced Unit
1 training is designed for people with professional qualifications in touch therapy
and anatomy, as well as some professional experience practising e.g. Physiotherapists,
Massage Therapists, Aroma therapists, Osteopaths and Chiropractors. The Advanced
Unit 1 meets for 10 days over 2 weeks.
- Students gain a high level of competency to work as ‘entry level’ body workers,
focussing on connective tissue.
- Students will have appropriate body use to do bodywork for a long period of time,
minimizing strain in their own body and maximising ease.
- Students will be able to effectively use a wide range of perception, applied to
their clients and themselves.
- Students will start to learn basic structural body analysis.
- Students will have established a learning feedback loop, allowing them to effectively
learn from their own work.
- Students will have therapeutic relational skills, and be able to, through listening
and communication skills, provide a therapeutic environment and safety for a diversity
- Students will have recognition of some of their own patterns of movement, and be
able to explore ways of making creative options to elaborate and change them.
- In this training, focus is on prerequisites to learn the Rolfing method effectively;
it is not on learning to change structure of clients.
- Students will receive the anatomical tuition needed to, with home study, write the
Anatomy/Kinesiology and Physiology exam which is a prerequisite for entry into the
Rolfing Unit 2 training.
No, the following requirements need to be met after completing the Unit 1 training,
for you to qualify to continue your education as a Rolfer:
- Write and obtain 75% or higher in the Anatomy/Kinesiology, Physiology exam.
- Do a minimum of 50 hours documented Skilful Touch bodywork on clients
- Write a paper answering 20 Anatomical questions (40-60 pages).
- Fulfil any additional requirements as set out by instructors at end of Unit 1, where
- Apply and get accepted into the South African Rolfing training. All admissions are
co-ordinated with the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Co.USA.
You proceed to the Unit 2 training, which focuses on teaching the Embodiment of
In this class students learn the ten-series in great depth and detail. The emphasis
is on embodiment, letting the effects of Rolfing ‘sink in’, while learning how to
facilitate a classic Rolfing process of ten sessions. In this environment, students
have the time and ideal environment to really immerse themselves in the experiential
aspects of Structural Integration.
A paper with experiential and anatomical focus on the ten series of Rolfing® Structural
Integration is required. If required by your unit 2 instructors, you might need
to do a supervised tutorial with a cert. Rolfer, taking a client through whole ten
series under supervision. Once you have met these requirements, you can proceed
to enrol for Unit 3.
Unit three is the final step in your process of becoming a Certified Rolfer. Once
you have completed Unit 3 and met all the requirements to be considered a successful
candidate, you are a Certified Rolfer. Unit 3 focuses on the Clinical Application
of Rolfing Structural Integration.
This training meets for 34 days over 8 weeks. Each student takes three clients through
a complete ten-series treatment, and one of these clients get an additional 3 movement
sessions. They also see two instructors demonstrate the ten-series (dependant on
enrolment – teacher to student ratio of 1:8) and continue with the anatomical fascia
continuities and relationships in the body. The emphasis is on preparing students
for a successful and fulfilling profession in practising Rolfing SI with a wide
diversity of clients. Practice building and maintenance forms a part of this training.
Yes! The teacher-student ratio in the Unit 1 class is 1-11, and in the Unit 2 and
3 it is 1:8 to ensure plenty of personal attention. The classroom atmosphere is
supportive, allowing participants to learn from each other’s skills.
Upon successful completion of the training and certification, the Rolfer becomes
a member of the International Rolf Institute, allowing them to practice using the
Rolfing trademark, and adhering to the standards of practise and relevant ethics
The South African training is an intensive training that allows you to become a
Rolfer in the minimum time required. Your training process is spread over 13 months,
after which you are ready to become a Certified Rolfer and to start your Rolfing
practice. (Most students internationally choose to spread their 3 units of training
over 18-24 months.)
The practice of Rolfing means ongoing learning. Being a Rolfer demands a continuous
process of learning and development, through the work itself, continuing education,
interaction with colleagues and research.
Qualified Rolfing instructors approved by the Rolf Institute who have successfully
undergone in-depth teacher training. (For a list of international faculty, see www.rolf.org).
Rolfing instructors get evaluated by the Faculty Development and Review Board biannually,
to ensure that they remain up to the highest standards.
After you have successfully completed your Unit 3 Rolfing Training.
You can make a very good living. The profession of Rolfing allows you to create
a practice tailored around your own life situation, needs and abilities. Rolfing
can be your full time profession, or you can choose to practice part-time. Currently,
a full time Rolfing practitioner with a full practice in South-Africa can expect
to earn between R25 000 and R45 000 per month. Rolfers starting out, charge around
R300 – R370 per Rolfing session. Advanced Rolfers charge around R400 – R450 per
session. To practice Rolfing, you must remain a member of the Rolf institute and
abide by its standards of practice.
Rolfing is practiced in over 26 countries and is established in America, Canada,
Europe, South-America, Japan, UK and Australia. There is vast scope for this work
to spread and grow internationally. Countries have different laws with regards to
practicing touch therapies.
The training guides one in the ways of HOW one can become a good Rolfer. There is
plenty of feedback from teachers and the learning environment in this regard. You
can also speak with your Rolfer who will be able to advise you.
You should expect to pay for accommodation, food, books, travel and any incidental
expenses you may incur.
Training happens in six schools; USA, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Australia and South
Africa. The curriculum is compatible, allowing a student to take any unit at any
school. Many students choose to travel to a different school for each unit of training.
Faculty move around internationally to provide the education and to ensure consistency
of standards at different schools. This provides one of the features of this experience:
diversity in the classroom. Please note that cost of trainings might differ from
location to location.
A wide range of continuing education workshops are held worldwide to supply a rich
enquiry into the nature of integration of the body, with many technique oriented,
movement oriented, alleviation-of-specific-condition oriented, integration oriented,
and deepening understanding of what was learned in the training. These workshops,
combined with building experience as a practitioner, helps prepare you for the Advanced
- Certification as a Rolfer.
- A minimum of three years in Rolfing practice.
- Eighteen days approved continuing education.
In order to maintain affiliation with The Rolf Institute, this course must be completed
within seven years of initial Rolfing certification, or within nine years if one
first completes the Rolf Movement Integration training. CE credits must fulfill
This training emphasizes how to make more precise and subtle distinctions and how
to recognize and manipulate specific kinds of motion restrictions, including myofascia,
articular (joints), and functional. Working outside of the Ten-Series is emphasized.
Class meets four days per week, either for six consecutive weeks, or in two three-week
segments, spaced three to six months apart.
The Advanced Rolfing Training is a forum for refinement and development of the work
through a deeper examination of the diverse aspects of Rolfing, with Rolfers bringing
their practice experiences into the classroom setting. The Advanced Rolfing Training
provides a format for examining the energetic processes that are a fundamental part
of the client-practitioner equation. Each Rolfer learns how to use these processes
consciously and intentionally. The focus is on being able to meet the specific structural,
functional and energetic needs of the individual client. Attention is also directed
to these same aspects of the practitioner's process. This training is designed to
bring a deeper level of understanding to the Rolfer and his/her clinical practice.
Uploaded 05 October 2008, www.rolfing.co.za, editor: Eugenie Grobler