Structural integration, also known as Rolfing, is a form of bodywork that focuses on the connective tissue, or fascia, that protects the muscles. Through a series of gentle techniques, Rolfing lengthens and repositions the fascia, which, in turn, helps release, realign and balance the whole body. Clients experience dramatic improvements in posture, flexibility and energy levels.
Aimed at optimizing the structure and function of a client's entire body, Rolfing involves a standard set of 10 sessions in which the practitioner frees restrictions in a particular area of the body. Divided into three distinct units, the "Ten-Series" works in this order:
- Sessions 1-3: Focus on breath work, arms, lower legs, head, shoulders and hips
- Sessions 4-7: Work on the core, feet and legs, pelvis, abdomen and back, neck and head
- Sessions 8-10: Emphasize integration and allow the practitioner to determine the best techniques to use at this point for individual clients
Training and Education
What You'll Study in Structural Integration School
Rolfing training is available at specialized structural integration schools and natural health degree schools. In addition to beginner and advanced Rolfing training programs, you'll also find continuing education classes that can help you fulfill credits needed to maintain licensure in other natural health practices.
In general, you can expect your structural integration school to offer classes that cover these topics:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Structural integration theory and principles
- Rolfing movement integration
- Maintaining professional therapeutic relationships with clients
- Career development
- Clinical application of Rolfing theory
Average Length of Study
Standard structural integration programs can involve close to 1,000 hours of combined classroom training and hands-on experience. Advanced practitioner programs require around 600 hours of training. Generally, students can complete their program in 18 to 24 months.
Tuition for standard structural integration school can cost $15,000 or more. Many Rolfing training programs allow for a certain number of weeks between classes, which allows students to spread tuition costs over the course of many months.
Structural Integration Certification
Practitioners can get certified through the Certification Board for Structural Integration (CBSI) and through the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration. Although optional, certification shows that you have graduated from a structural integration school that meets established standards of excellence in education and that you demonstrate competency and proficiency in your practice.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates that massage-oriented professions, like Rolfing, can anticipate a job growth rate of 23 percent through 2022. Key factors contributing to this growth include the public's continued interest in touch therapies as a means to reduce pain and stress and an aging population that continues to explore natural medicine as a means to achieve better wellness.
Learn more about massage therapy careers.
Structural Integration Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all others, is $72,710. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Learn more about massage therapist salaries.
Is a Structural Integration Career Right for You?
Structural integration welcomes practitioners from all backgrounds, whether they have experience in bodywork careers or not. Building your career takes training in structural integration techniques combined with an in-depth understanding of how Rolfing can improve the structure and function of the body and how to impart to clients the role that body movements play in their health.
If you are interested in a structural integration career, take a closer look at structural integration schools. Then choose the Rolfing training program that meets your personal and professional needs.
Sources: Rolf.org, Rolfguild.org