Basic Rolfing® Certification Program
School-wide Learning Outcomes
All of the certification programs at the Rolf Institute focus on five areas of knowledge and skills, or school wide learning outcomes including the following: Seeing, Touch, Embodiment, Therapeutic Relationship, and Didactic. Students must demonstrate that they understand the concepts and are able to do the skills tied to these outcomes in order to complete their program. The Rolf Institute Assessment Rubrics for each certification program outline the specific knowledge and skills for each of the five school wide learning outcomes. These rubrics are the basis for assessing student success in their program.
Whether you are just beginning your career or are already a trained professional, The Rolf Institute has a program that will provide you with the skills, expertise and reputation to succeed in your career.
Basic Rolfing Certification Program Description
Accredited Basic Training offered in Boulder, CO
731-Hour training is comprised of three phases and self-study typically completed in 12-18 months. You will learn:
- Anatomy, Physiology and Kinesiology from the distinct perspective of Rolfing® Structural Integration
- The ability to differentiate through touch
- The principles of Rolfing Structural Integration
- How to recognize structural and functional patterns
- The demonstrated ability to conduct a complete Rolfing Ten-Series and Rolf Movement® sessions
- Practice building techniques
- Professional ethics
Before You Apply, You Need
- A High School diploma or recognized equivalent.
- One of the following:
- An official academic transcript, equivalent to an AA degree or occupational certificate, showing at least 60 credit hours at an institution of adult or higher education.
- Documentation of a minimum of four years of equivalent career experiences and professional accomplishment.
- A federal- or state-issued ID and solo headshot photograph (for identification purposes).
- A resume of professional experience.
International Students: Please indicate the need for an I-20/M-1 Visa and submit your completed application, including a copy of your passport ID page and TOEFL scores, no later than 60 days prior to class start date.
- Non-refundable $50 Enrollment Application fee. (Fee will be refunded if student is not admitted or has not signed an enrollment agreement.)
- Verification of having received a complete Rolfing Ten-Series from a Certified Rolfer. RISI reserves the right to require a physician's release for any student.
- Approval of an application and required enrollment forms.
- A written 2-3 page personal life experience essay.
Written assignments are due 3 weeks before Basic training begins. All submissions are made through the Online Admissions Application Process.
Please Note: An interview may be required to complete some applications.
* Students with an existing medical condition, after consulting with their physician, may want to consider completing the Ten Series prerequisite, required to start the training, 2-3 months prior to the start of Phase II, where they will receive another Ten Series as part of the class. RISI reserves the right to require a physician's release for any student.
Program Phase Descriptions
Phase I: Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration
218 Hours ~ Six-week intensive for the entry-level student
Designed for students who have not had formal training in massage or bodywork, or who have had some training but would benefit from taking this comprehensive course, this six-week intensive course will provide the essential skills and academic knowledge required for the successful study and practice of Rolfing Structural Integration. Students study Anatomy, Kinesiology and Physiology from the distinct perspective of Rolfing SI. Students learn guided palpation and touch through training in Skillful Touch, The Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration's proprietary form of clinical practice bodywork.
Students also train in the essential dynamics and professional skills needed to cultivate and maintain professional therapeutic relationships with clients. The class lectures and demonstrations prepare students for The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration's Life Sciences Exam, which all students must pass prior to Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement Integration. During Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration, students gain experience and receive feedback on their touch skills and client/practitioner relationship skills. Initially, students learn touch and palpation by working on their classmates. Students are also introduced to Rolf Movement Integration. The final stage of this six-week course includes participation in a Skillful Touch Clinic where students work on actual clients from the community under the supervision of their instructors.
There is a required study interval between completing Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration and starting Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement Integration, during which each student must document 50 additional hours of Skillful Touch practice and continue independent study in the life sciences. During Foundations of Rolfing® Structural Integration, each student, in collaboration with the instructor, will establish an individual plan to maximize his/her learning experience during this time.
After successful completion of Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration and all other requirements, students may enroll in Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement Integration.
Students will develop:
- A basic knowledge of the science, history and development of Rolfing® Structural Integration and of Dr. Rolf.
- An understanding of the Anatomy, Physiology and Kinesiology necessary to communicate a basic understanding of the body structure and function.
- The ability to identify anatomical structures and their relationship to each other including an understanding of joint range of motion.
- The ability to differentiate, through touch, the qualities of bone, muscle and connective tissues in the body, as well as a sense of myofascial layers, “layer of availability” of the tissues, the quality of responsiveness of the connective tissue to their intervention, and how to adapt their touch in response to the particular qualities of each client.
- The ability to intervene in a way that recognizes and addresses the primary needs of the client.
- The ability to evaluate the progression of their intervention.
- An understanding of the differences between a therapeutic and a personal relationship and how to behave appropriately in the context of the therapeutic relationship based on ethics and other professional considerations.
- The personal skills to learn Skillful Touch and Rolfing SI.
- The ability to perform a balanced 75-minute Skillful Touch session.
- The ability to create safety in the therapeutic environment by identifying and demonstrating appropriate boundaries.
- The ability to use their bodies efficiently when performing a Skillful Touch session.
- An ability to maintain a similar level of awareness of their own and their client’s body as they perform a Skillful Touch session.
- The awareness to acknowledge and take responsibility for their emotional response in the therapeutic environment while maintaining their client’s autonomy.
- The ability to be able to evoke client participation in the context of the session.
- A basic understanding of the principles and philosophy supporting the practice of Rolfing Structural Integration.
- The ability to manifest, in their own bodies, a higher level of structural integration in order to express movement in all planes of motion in an economical, palintonic and contralaterally balanced manner as pursued though Rolf Movement® Integration.
- The capacity to understand, experience, and recognize their patterns of response, connection and disconnection through a diversity of modes of perception and their implications for communication.
Format & Methods
Faculty:Student ratio is limited to 1:10.
This six-week intensive course meets five days a week from 8:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration offers an integrated and innovative approach to learning about the human body. Taught through well-illustrated lectures, experiential exercises and guided palpation, classes are designed to provide the optimal learning experience. The Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration instructors emphasize individual learning by providing each student with support for his/her specific learning needs. Students study the foundation subjects as well as develop skills and knowledge in perceptual acuity, efficient body use, and quality of touch.
Rolfing SI is not taught in Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration or Accelerated Foundation of Rolfing Structural Integration. Completion of Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration or Accelerated Foundation of Rolfing Structural Integration does not entitle the student to use the terms "Rolfer" or "Rolfing."
Please see Tuition and Costs
Phase II: Embodiment of Rolfing Structural Integration and Rolf Movement® Integration
244 Hours ~ Eight-week intensive for students preparing to become Certified Rolfers
- Successful completion of Phase I.
- Submission and acceptance of two essay assignments due four weeks prior to the start of Phase II.
- Documentation of 50 hours of Skillful Touch completed during the study interval.
- Passing grade on The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration's Life Sciences Exam.
- Verification of having received three Rolf Movement Integration sessions from a Certified Movement Practitioner prior to the start of Phase II.
- Completion of any Learning Agreement assignments (if applicable)
Students learn the skills required to recognize simple structural and functional patterns. They learn to perceive structure and function in relation to gravity and to develop a working knowledge of the basics of Rolfing Structural Integration and Rolf Movement’s principles and interventions.
The first segment of Phase II: Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement Integration is Principles Week. During this week, students focus on the overarching Principles of Rolfing SI work and on the functional aspects of somatic patterns.The focus of the week works with personal exploration and basic level techniques, building awareness, perception, and therapeutic skills. This class teaches a beginning understanding of how to design a session that responds to client needs. These skills are reinforced and cultivated over the next seven weeks of the training.
There is a required study interval between completing Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement Integration and Clinical Application of Rolfing Theory during which time students work on integrating and assimilating the skills and information from Embodiment of Rolfing SI and Rolf Movement Integration.
Mentoring with a Certified Rolfer during this interim period is highly recommended
After successful completion of Embodiment of Rolfing SI and Rolf Movement Integration and all other requirements, students may enroll in Clinical Application of Rolfing Theory.
Students will be introduced to:
- The foundational paradigms and principles of Rolfing® Structural Integration and Rolf Movement® Integration.
- A beginning level of understanding of the dimensions of the training: theoretical, practical, and exploratory.
- A different paradigm of learning, where it is understood at the cognitive level but also experienced and somatically enhanced.
- The differences between a process oriented therapy and a goal oriented therapy.
- The importance of creating a safe learning environment facilitated through the cultivation of the coming together of class members in a mature and relational manner.
- Their own movement patterns and embodiment.
- How to evaluate their ability to work with a quality of "touch" using both physical contact and language intervention.
- The ability to identify the various bodily systems through touch, including the differentiation of muscles, bone, nerves, organs and fascia and an understanding of proper function vs. dysfunction, as applicable to Rolfing Structural Integration and Rolf Movement Integraton.
Format & Methods
Faculty:Student ratio is limited to 1:8.
This eight-week intensive class meets Monday-Friday during the first week and then Monday-Thursday, generally from 8:30 a.m.– 6 p.m. During this phase of their training, students both give and receive a Rolfing Ten-Series and three Rolf Movement sessions. Lectures, demonstrations and clinical applications will provide students with a broadened perspective on the Rolfing experience. Students will integrate structural and functional approaches to Rolfing SI, learning how to determine when each kind of session is appropriate. The subjects of fascial anatomy, efficient body use, client/practitioner communication, and structural analysis are critical to this phase of
As the format of Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement Integration is an intensive, experiential environment involving immersion in the process of Rolfing Structural Integration & Rolf Movement Integration, students are put in touch with mental, physical and emotional states which may be challenging. However, the class is designed to provide a safe container for students to learn all aspects of Rolfing Structural Integration & Rolf Movement Integration. This includes learning to manage their own emotions, while attending to the needs of their classmate client.
Most class days include lecture, with one to two days each week devoted to supervised sessions. A good deal of class time is devoted to pattern recognition. Students will observe one another and instructor models in order to facilitate perceptual skills. Learning to identify structural and functional patterns and effectively addressing them in the context of Rolfing Structural Integration & Rolf Movement Integration is?a strong focus. Another significant part of learning the sessions is the experience of receiving the work from a classmate. Students are uniquely qualified to give feedback to their classmate/practitioner, facilitating learning for both.
Students are encouraged to bring a spirit of exploration and open-mindedness to the Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement Integration class. They will discover much about the Rolfing process, and about themselves, during this course. They will also forge lifetime associations with classmates and future colleagues as they prepare for the completion of their basic training, the clinical phase, in Clinical Application of Rolfing Theory.
It is strongly recommended that students receive mentoring between Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement Integration and Clinical Application of Rolfing Theory regarding touch, seeing, understanding and applying the Ten-Series.
Please see Tuition and Costs
Phase III: Clinical Application of Rolfing Theory
269 Hours ~ Eight-week Intensive for Students who have Completed Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement and are preparing to Become Certified Rolfers™
- Successful completion of Phase II.
- Submission and acceptance of a written paper due four weeks prior to the start of Phase III.
- Completion of any Learning Agreement assignments (if applicable).
- During the study interval, completion of a Business Plan to be submitted during the first week of Phase III.
In this class students work on actual clients from the community under instructor supervision. Upon successful completion of Clinical Application of Rolfing Theory, students have completed The Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration's basic Rolfing Certification Program.
Students will gain:
- An understanding of the theoretical/ practical basis of Rolfing® Structural Integration and Rolf Movement® Integration.
- A deepened understanding of how a pattern – structural and functional – develops, as well as the ability to explore these patterns from different perspectives.
- The opportunity to utilize the paradigms and principles of Rolfing Structural Integration and Rolf Movement Integration through clinical practice with clients from the community.
- The ability, with instructor assistance, to elicit the goals of Rolfing SI as a practitioner through the performance of a series of sessions with a client under instructor supervision.
- The ability to learn how to refine the application of Rolfing clinical work under instructor supervision.
- A demonstrated capability to take responsibility for their actions and accept and integrate feedback from instructors and other students.
- The experience of participation in a class environment that requires cooperation by all students and instructors to establish the class rules and expectations for the group and for creating a safe space and environment for learning.
- The ability to conduct a complete Rolfing 10-Series and Rolf Movement sessions.
- The ability to identify any contraindications or pathologies within the various bodily systems as applicable to Rolfing Structural Integration when working on actual clients from a diverse population.
Format & Methods
Faculty:Student ratio is limited to 1:8.
This class meets Monday-Friday for eight weeks. Class may start as early as 8:30 a.m. and end as late at 7:30 p.m. depending on the student clinic schedule. During Clinical Application of Rolfing® Theory students apply the knowledge and techniques learned in Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration or Accelerated Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration and Embodiment of Rolfing SI & Rolf Movement® to clinical and practical situations. Each student will perform the Rolfing Ten-Series on two clients from the community, in the classroom, under instructor supervision. In addition, students will give Post-10 and Rolf Movement Integration sessions to Community Client Clinic clients, further preparing them for the diverse needs of a "real world" clientele.
Ongoing attention will be given to students developing efficient body-use and self-care while working, as well as improving client-practitioner relationship skills, quality of touch, and body-reading. Professional ethics, business and practice building skills are also taught in this class, along with public education practices, which help prepare students to develop independent Rolfing practices.
Clinical Application of Rolfing Theory is the clinical phase of training. Students will deepen their understanding of the Ten-Series and Rolf Movement sessions by practicing under instructor supervision on various clients. The educational focus shifts from the student's personal process and experience (taught in Phase II) to the client’s process as they experience Rolfing Structural Integration and Rolf Movement sessions. Students will learn to assess and strategize using the principles of Rolfing SI, while developing various skills required for attending to clients, including attention to seeing, discussion, touch and technique. Therapeutic relationship will be a large part of the learning process as well. By the end of the final week, students should be able to perform the Ten-Series and basic Rolf Movement sessions competently with confidence.
This class consists of lectures, demos and practicums designed to deepen the understanding and ability to perform each session according to the individual
Those who successfully complete Phase III will receive a certificate of completion upon graduation. The following requirements must be completed prior to graduation in order to receive a diploma:
- Completion of all coursework with a passing grade.
- Payment in full of all tuition and fees.
A graduation ceremony is held for students who have completed the program.
Clinical Work with the Community Client Clinic
Students in Clinical Application of Rolfing Theory perform Rolfing Structural Integration and Rolf Movement Integration on two Community Client Clinic clients. Working under instructor supervision, students are challenged to put into practice all that they have learned in the training. Students develop relationships with their clients, assess their clients' actual and perceived needs, and create and execute personal treatment plans. Students report that the individualized attention they receive from instructors in the Clinic, plus the "real-world" nature of this client contact, is often the high-point of their Rolfing training at The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration and is essential in preparing them to be successful, professional Certified Rolfers™.
Please see Tuition and Costs
PLEASE NOTE: Students who graduate from The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration’s Rolfing Program receive a certificate. By affiliating with Membership Services you become a Certified Rolfer.
Accreditation: Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
This Basic Rolfing Certification Program is accredited by The Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation. In order to graduate from an accredited program all three class of the program must be attended at the Rolf Institute in Boulder, CO. International school programs are not accredited by COMTA.
RISI is approved by the State of Colorado, Department of Education, Division of Private Occupational Schools.