Rolfing® FAQ

How do I know Rolfing® is for me?

People come to Rolfing® to address chronic pain, poor posture, recent and past injuries, and to feel more comfortable in their bodies--amongst other reasons.  Set up a free consultation in person or by phone to discuss.

Is Rolfing® like a massage?

It's quite different. The goals of Rolfing® are to make more long-lasting change in the tissue and address habitual patterns and postures. Rolfing® is also more participatory; the whole mind and body are active in every session.  Clients are also partially clothed.

Does it hurt?

The short answer is no.  


Since the Rolfing® process is collaborative, it is important for the client to let the practitioner know if any boundary, especially a pain threshold, is approached.  Although some moments may be intense, the work should not have to hurt. Most people find Rolfing® a deeply satisfying, comforting, and inspiring experience.

Then why have I heard it hurts?

Rolfing® became popular in the 1960s and 70s in a community where people believed that the more intense the experience, the more therapeutic it was. Rolfing® was described as “painful” to differentiate it from a soothing massage and to emphasize how profound the experience was.


Since that time, Rolfers have gotten better at achieving their therapeutic goals with more grace and less force. Greater change is possible when a client is not burdened with pain.

What is a Ten Series and why should I consider it?

Dr. Rolf originally conceived of her whole body structural work as a ten-part recipe that should be adapted to each person’s unique body and needs. Each session builds on the previous, and addresses different areas of the body. For most people the Ten Series is the best way to experience the benefits of Rolfing® Structural Integration. 


During this time, the body experiments with unfamiliar movements and awareness, builds new neurological pathways, and influences your structure, movement patterns, and experience. At the beginning of each session, we will observe what is changing and what hasn’t and use this information to refine our strategy. Ten sessions allow us to devote appropriate time to specific areas and issues that are common structural challenges and to customize work that is meaningful to your unique body and lifestyle.

Do I have to commit to a Ten Series?

While a Ten Series is recommended, it is not required. A shorter series of three or five appointments are often useful for specific goals. While Rolfing® is a holistic practice, one appointment can also be effective for a singular issue.

How long does it last?

Most people who complete a Ten Series experience changes 6 months to a year after completion due, in part, to the physiology of connective tissue. Connective tissue breaks down and rebuilds itself constantly. In addition, movement education and improving our brain-body connection can help support these changes and encourage them to last. Once shown a new way, the body reconfigures itself around this novel pattern and, thus, can affect the structure in the long-term.


If your body use changes due to an injury, illness, stress, etc., additional work may be beneficial. People whose daily lives include a lot of repetitive motion, including athletes, musicians, and others whose bodies power their work or play may benefit from more regular tune-ups.

How long are the sessions?

Allow about 90 minutes for your first session and 60-75 minutes for following appointments. Session goals, the intensity of the day’s work, health history, client energy level and ability to integrate work, are just a few of the factors that Rolfers consider when determining session length.

What should I wear?

Many clients choose to wear shorter gym clothes, underwear (for those with breast tissue this includes a bra or sports bra), bathing suits, or tank tops. Access to bare skin is very helpful but your comfort is paramount.

Learn more about Rolfing® and the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute here.

© 2021 by Body in Practice

WA Licensed Massage Therapist 61127127