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What is Rolfing ®?

Imagine living in a flexible and balanced body that is free of pain, stiffness and chronic stress. Imagine your body at ease with itself and able to meet life’s physical, mental, and emotional challenges.

This is what you can expect from Rolfing, the highly respected process of soft tissue manipulation that balances and realigns your body by releasing tension and strain.

If you think your body should feel better and move more easily then Rolfing may be right for you.  Rolfing can resolve pain and discomfort from many different causes, including those related to the lingering effects of accidents, illnesses, trauma, repetitive motion injuries, and aging.  


What is Rolfing®?

Rolfing, also known as Structural Integration, is a form of hands-on therapy and movement education. It generates structural, functional and energetic changes within the body that help free mind, body and spirit from limitations, injury and pain.

Physical conditions (injury, habitual postures, and repetitive movements), as well as psychological attitudes and beliefs can introduce strain into your body’s structure, compromising your vertical balance. Over time the force of gravity exaggerates the strain and forces the body to use more energy to compensate for its imbalances.

Rolfing releases the accumulated strain in your body. Because your body is better balanced after Rolfing, you will expend less of your vital energies struggling against gravity. This energy efficiency is often experienced as a higher level of physical, mental and emotional vitality.

Where does Rolfing come from?

When she pioneered her work more than 50 years ago, Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., first called her work Structural Integration. The genius of the work rests on Dr. Rolf’s insight that the body is more at ease and functions most effectively when its structure is balanced in gravity. She observed that, over time, the field of gravity actually accentuates the body’s imbalances and diminishes its flexibility. Based on these core observations, she developed her groundbreaking methods of hands-on manipulation which later became known as Rolfing – to reduce gravity’s adverse effects on the body

How does Rolfing work?

Rolfing works on the seamless, three-dimensional network of tissues that begins just beneath your skin, penetrates into your bones and is continuous from head to toe. This tissue is called fascia and is the primary focus of Rolfing.

Why do people seek Rolfing?

Most people come to Rolfing for help with pain, discomfort or impaired mobility. Others come to Rolfing because they just want their body to feel better and to improve their quality of life. Rolfing improves performance, enhances posture, and augments personal growth.

Does Rolfing Improve Posture?

Even life-long postural habits can be dramatically improved with Rolfing.The Rolfing process systematically realigns the segments of your body structure and teaches you how to maintain balanced positions during your daily activities.

Good posture results from a well aligned, balanced structure. Posture that requires attention or effort to maintain will never be sustained– as soon as you stop thinking about it you slip back into a misaligned position.

First we distinguish between structural restrictions and limiting habits.

Next we work to release, balance and realign the structure.

Then, as your structure improves, we teach you how to recognize and maintain better, balanced positions.

Rolfing is famous for its positive effects on posture. Schedule a free consultation today!

What does Rolfing feel like? Is it painful?

Because Rolfers™ are interacting with tension and strain patterns that reside in the body, there are sensations of varying intensity associated with the process. The client always defines the limits of their comfort zone.

Every Rolfing intervention is adjusted to specifically meet the client’s needs.

One client made the following comment:

“The work feels incredibly subtle and precise. The surprising thing to me is how deep the work can go and how impacting it can be, without pain.”

Who can receive Rolfing?

People of all ages can benefit from Rolfing. The sooner strain patterns are addressed the easier they are to work with and the more rapidly they can change. Only a few conditions are contraindicated for Rolfing.

Why is Rolfing helpful with the aging process?

As we age, health and quality of life are directly related to how easily we are able to move and do the things we enjoy. Because Rolfing helps restore suppleness, balance and fluid movement, it is one of the most effective therapeutic manipulation methods available for aging. It creates balance through alignment and ease of movement in stiff joints.

“I can sit down (after Rolfing) with comfort and remain there! Such a mundane experience had been denied me for years due to extreme pain in the hamstring area. I had seen my primary care physician, orthopedists, chiropracters, anosteopath, and acupuncturist for treatment of this problem.

“Then I heard about the rolfing method and eventually came to Russell, and in one session I found relief!. It was an amazing, astounding experience. I finally found relief with his Rolfing manipulations.

“Continuing with monthly visits has always brought some new insight regarding how the body can function to its optimum capability. What joy.

“Rolfing is a unique experience, and Russell Stolzoff is one of the most experienced practitioners. His thoughtful questioning always leads one to be more of a whole person, balanced in mind, spirit and body.”

Paula B. -retired high school teacher


Where do Rolfers get their training?

All Certified Rolfing Practitioners are trained at the Rolf Institute for Structural Integration. Rolfing®, Rolfer™, Rolf Movement® and the Little Boy Logo are service marks of The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration®, Boulder, CO.

How is Rolfing different from Massage and Chiropractic?

Certified Rolfers are trained to detect and improve the structural aspect of many bodily discomforts. Rolfers employ individualized treatment plans tailored specifically to each client’s needs. The results of Rolfing are lasting and permanent.

In general the term massage is a broad term that refers to many styles of bodywork. The focus of most massage therapy training is relaxation not structural balance. Some “deep tissue” massage works to release local patterns of structural strain, but this is not usually done as part of a strategy to balance the whole body.

Chiropractic is primarily concerned with freeing spinal joint restrictions and promoting nerve flow to and from the spine. It does not address the soft tissue patterns of the whole body and their influence on structural balance. The Rolfing method uses gentle soft tissue techniques to treat osseous restrictions that are a part of the overall body pattern.

Rolfing, massage and Chiropractic care can be used together in a complimentary way.

Can Rolfing help Children?

Children’s bodies are more plastic than adult bodies, so changes in their structure are easier to effect. When children’s strains are eased, the path toward verticality has been cleared and children have the potential to grow in a more balanced way.

Young children often benefit from a few short sessions per year to keep their growth on track and unimpeded by the strain of injury, imbalance and misuse. During the teenage years Rolfing can be of great assistance to the challenges of living in a body that is rapidly maturing.

Since Rolfing provides beneficial enhancement to the body’s structure and function, there is no need for your child to have specific problems to receive help from Rolfing.

Can Rolfing help Babies?

Gentle Rolfing following birth can be of great assistance to babies. It’s an excellent way to improve babies’ comfort and facilitate unimpeded growth. Excess strain from the in-utero environment or birth process can otherwise accumulate and compromise unrestricted growth and movement. If you are curious to know if Rolfing can help your baby please contact me to discuss it.


Rolfing is unique because it works with fascia, the continuous, three-dimensional web of connective tissue. It’s a process of gradually and progressively easing the body’s strain to evoke order, support, spaciousness and efficient movement. Strain in fascia is often what perpetuates aches and pains, and limits balance and alignment.

What does 'Certified Advanced Rolfer™' mean?

The ‘ Certified Advanced Rolfer™’ title designates completion of post-graduate continuing education and an additional advanced training course. During this course of study Rolfers deepen their understanding of Rolfing’s essential aspects and learn new ways to resolve deeper imbalances in the body.

Receiving Rolfing sessions from an Certified Advanced Rolfer means your Rolfer has been in practice longer and has progressed beyond basic levels of competency and ability. Advanced Rolfing does more than following basic protocols. It addresses your body’s unique patterns according to its specific needs.

“I experienced three [Advanced Rolfing] sessions with Russell Stolzoff, and it was quite an amazing experience. Even though earlier Rolfing experiences were great, this was bliss.

“After the first session, I felt so extremely grounded, both mentally and physically. My knees, a major problem zone, felt much more open and light, and I felt as if I was moving much more freely. The ground just totally supported me.

“In the next session, Russell worked on my legs again, but this time included the core of my body. This made the connection between ground and my legs even stronger, and it allowed me to breathe much more deeply.

“The last session included spine, neck, shoulders and head, and completed the feeling of being whole and totally in balance from top to toes. My whole body felt more spacious, as did my mind.

“I was very impressed by Russell’s great intuition for exactly where to touch. It always felt just right. I think his work with my body will last a lifetime!”
-Louise F., Physicist Boulder, CO


What is a first session like?

Typically, a first session begins with an in-take interview where we discuss why you want to receive Rolfing, your physical history, and how you are currently feeling. This is also a time when your Rolfer can answer any questions you have about the Rolfing process. Next your Rolfer will analyze your body structure and its functioning. To do this your Rolfer looks at you in standing or walking, places hands on your shoulders and hips to feel the alignment of your body and how it is balanced. From the analysis, they form an outline of a treatment plan. At each step of the process the Rolfer is evaluating the progress of treatment based on your body’s response, and your feedback.

Rolfers use hands, knuckles and the occasional elbow to discover and relieve places of strain, they are both discovering and correcting your body’s physical pattern. Your Rolfer is looking to see how muscles and other connective tissue are balanced around bones and across joints.

What are follow up sessions like?

At the beginning of each session your Rolfer forms a plan for that session by reassessing your body structure.They find out how you have felt since your last session and how effective the treatments are feeling to you. We re-analyze your body structure, taking into account where we are in the process and the work we have already done. From this your Rolfer forms a strategy for each successive session.
Each Rolfing session concentrates on different aspects of your body’s structural and functional pattern. The results become cumulative as each session’s results add to the previous ones. Optimum results are achieved within a series of sessions that are individually tailored to meet your specific needs. The average spacing is two to three weeks between sessions.

How many sessions are needed to achieve optimal benefit?

At the beginning of treatment, we establish goals and evaluate the progress together as we go along. Usually a basic series of sessions consists of eight to twelve sessions.
As an Advanced Certified Rolfer™ Russell prefers to design a custom Rolfing series that will meet your specific needs. Steph works with clients in the classic 10-session protocol. Because Rolfing treats the whole body systematically, a thorough treatment plan does require a series of sessions, the exact number is hard to determine from the outset. The classic Rolfing series is based on a ten-session protocol, which on average, allows for a relatively thorough process.

Deciding to follow the process to completion is different for everyone. During your initial session an assessment can help define the scope of the work you need. Some people know they want to complete a series of sessions before they begin. If you are unsure, it is best to try one session to see how it feels to you.

Does Rolfing require an ongoing commitment?

Usually, it is best to complete a series of sessions and then wait a period of time to allow the full effects of Rolfing to manifest before receiving further work. During the first six months to one year after a basic series of sessions the body continues to change from the work that has been done. In some instances however it may serve you best to return sooner for additional sessions, or to receive on-going work on some regular basis.

When are 'Tune-Up' sessions indicated?

After completion of your initial series, tune-up sessions help to refresh the effects of Rolfing. Tune up sessions are recommended every 3-6 months, whenever problems seem like they are becoming chronic, or when the impact of injury or illness does not seem to be resolving on its own.

Does Insurance Pay for Rolfing?

Under some circumstances you may be eligible to receive insurance reimbursement for Rolfing. The most typical possibilities are:
1) Medical payments associated with Auto Accidents.
2) If your health insurance reimburses for massage therapy, it may cover Rolfing.

Please note Rolfing®Works is not a preferred provider under any Insurance plan.

What do I wear?

Skin contact is preferable so most people wear underwear, a bathing suit, or loose fitting shorts. Women usually wear a bra/sports bra and can be draped with a top sheet (it is never necessary to be completely unclothed).

How much do sessions cost?

Effective April 1, 2024
Sessions with Russell Stolzoff cost $220. Sessions with Steph Thurman cost $175. Sessions last 75 minutes.