Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Rolf Method of Structural Integration?

Structural Integration is a unique method of deep tissue bodywork and movement re-education. It consists of ten specific sessions (the Basic Ten series) designed to align and balance the body. This is accomplished through the systematic lengthening and repositioning of the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, bones and organs of the body.

What does “Rolf” mean?

Ida P. Rolf (1896 to 1979) developed the “recipe” of the systematic ten sessions of bodywork that she named “Structural Integration.” Her goal was to help relieve pain and restore optimal functioning in those who were not helped by traditional medical treatments. This process is often referred to as “the Rolf Method” or, sometimes, “Rolfing.”

What is the difference between Structural Integration and massage therapy?

Both methods address the soft tissue areas of the body to improve the well-being of the client. Massage therapy provides individuals with a number of benefits, such as the (often temporary) relief of muscle tension and pain. The goal of Structural Integration is to align and balance the body by lengthening and releasing restrictions in the connective tissue. This corrects the source of the tension and pain and creates a balanced (and lasting) change in the body’s structure.

What is a session like?

The Structural Integration process consists of ten sessions, known as the Basic Ten series. Each session is approximately 90 minutes in length, with 60-75 minutes of bodywork and 10-15 minutes for discussion. The ten sessions are administered progressively. Each session has a specific focus and builds upon the previous sessions towards the goal of complete integration of the body.

At the beginning of the first session the client spends some time talking with the practitioner about their personal and medical history and what they hope to gain from the work. The practitioner will observe the client’s posture, gait, and breathing patterns for signs of tension and misalignment. A digital photograph may, with the client’s permission, be taken to track the results of each session.
The work consists of hands-on manipulation of the client’s body tissue, with the client and practitioner working together, sometimes using movement or deep breathing during the process. Most of each session takes place with the client lying on a massage table (prone, face-up, or side-lying), but also may include times of sitting or standing.

What should I wear?

Male clients receive work in underwear (preferably briefs) or a speedo-type swimsuit, and women in a two piece swimsuit or bra and underwear. The practitioner needs to see the client’s body structure and how that changes during a session, and the sessions include working on the upper legs and the front and back of the torso (abdomen, upper chest, upper and lower back).

How does Structural Integration feel? (Or in the words of so many, “Does it hurt?”)

In the early days (1960s and 70s) when Structural Integration was first gaining public recognition, it had a reputation for very heavy – and sometimes painful – pressure. Since that time the process has evolved, and practitioners today have learned that the same excellent results can be achieved with less pressure. However, because this work releases established holding patterns or soft tissue compensations following an injury, there may be momentary discomfort during a session. But every session proceeds at the sensory level and pace that is comfortable for the client.

How much does it cost?

Each session of Structural Integration is $180. Cash, checks, debit cards and major credit cards are accepted. Children up to the age of ten years old will receive a discount because their session goals are often accomplished much more quickly than with adults.
If a client is not interested in the Structural Integration sessions or receiving the work is not in their best interests, relaxing or therapeutic massage sessions are provided at $90 for 60 minutes and $120 for 90 minutes.

Do I have to commit to all ten sessions of the basic ten series?

No. Although receiving the entire ten-session series is preferable – as it is designed to address the entire body and will produce the best results – it is not required. If you decide not to continue, it is best to stop after an odd-numbered session.

What time period is recommended to receive the ten sessions of the basic ten series?

The ten sessions can be completed in as short a time as six weeks, or over several years. However, it is preferable to schedule the sessions between one week and one month apart.

Who should not receive Structural Integration?

Structural Integration is not recommended for individuals who are pregnant or have cancer. In general, this method successfully addresses most chronic conditions. For those in training for a marathon or other major sports event, receiving this work should not coincide with the peak training period.

As with any type of bodywork, the practitioner will ask general health questions to determine whether this method will be both safe and beneficial. It is very important to inform the practitioner of any health problems and all medications. For those under a doctor’s care, it is best to obtain a written recommendation for massage or the Structural Integration series. Some medical conditions may require a doctor’s approval.

Do the effects of Structural Integration last?

YES! Photographs taken of clients over the years have shown that changes are still present long after they received the Basic Ten series. Often their structure has even improved over time as their bodies continued to integrate the work long after the series was finished.

However, as life changes, our bodies change in response. Any injuries, accidents, lengthy illnesses, or emotional stress may necessitate additional work, as will any poor body habits that create new compensation patterns.

Will I need to receive work beyond the basic ten series?

Some people receive only the Basic Ten series, as the results are lasting. Others find that their body feels ready for a “tune-up” in six months, a year, or longer, due to injuries, lifestyle demands, or just because they want to further the process of integration. You should rely on how your body feels to decide if you would like more sessions. If you are active or have a chronic soft-tissue concern, you may find that additional work would help manage the demands regularly placed on your body.

What kind of training does a practitioner of the Rolf Method have?

Practitioners are trained and certified by either the Guild for Structural Integration located in Boulder, Colorado or any other school that is recognized by the International Association of Structural Integrators. The training includes 1,058 hours in anatomy and physiology as well as the theory, fundamental principles and practice of the Rolf Method of Structural Integration, and extensive clinical work under direct supervision.

Click on “About Jewell” on the main navigation toolbar at the top of this page to see Jewell’s credentials.

What have Jewell’s clients experienced?

Click on “About Jewell” on the main navigation toolbar at the top of this page to see testimonials about Jewell’s work.

How do I learn more about the Rolf Method of Structural Integration?

A great deal of basic information about the Rolf Method and its history can be found on the website of Guild for Structural Integration, which advances the original work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf. It includes testimonials of athletes, medical professionals, and others.

Also, there are two books I can recommend. Rolfing: Reestablishing the Natural Alignment and Structural Integration of the Body for Vitality and Well-Being, written by Ida Rolf, includes many pictures and describes the fundamental principles of structural bodywork. Rolfing and Physical Reality is short and easy-to-read with quotes from articles and speeches by Ida Rolf that give insights into the concepts behind Structural Integration.

Click on these to discover what people are saying about the Rolf method!

How do I contact Jewell for an appointment?

You can contact Jewell by e-mail at jewell@atlength.org or click on “Contact” on the main navigation toolbar at the top of this page. Or call her at 240-246-7747.