Structural Sessions

Rolfing structural integration approaches the body by evaluating overall alignment of the body’s structure and how that alignment relates to movement of that structure. This initial approach is broken up into ten separate structural sessions and is commonly referred to as the Ten Series. These ten structural sessions can be subdivided by overall objective into three categories. Each structural session builds upon the themes of the previous sessions.

While it is very common for clients to seek Rolfing to address patterns of pain or discomfort, the Certified Rolfer will look at how these symptoms are related to the greater alignment and movement restrictions that present themselves in the body. It is through improvements in this alignment and reduction of restrictions that clients will often report long lasting relief from their patterns of discomfort.

It is important to note that specific areas of focus listed in the individual session descriptions may vary depending on the patterns of the individual client.



Sessions 1-3 are commonly referred to as the “superficial” sessions. The general objective of these sessions is to address the outer layer or “stocking” of fascial tissue that lies just beneath the surface of the skin. Releasing and lengthening this layer of tissue is important prior to proceeding into deeper structures of the body. Each of the “superficial” sessions will also include back work, neck work and a pelvic lift to connect the work in the session together.

Session 1
There are several themes of the first session. Attention will be placed on breathing and how areas of restrictions in the shoulders, neck and torso can be opened to facilitate freer breathing. This can begin to provide lift and let the torso lengthen out of the pelvis. Attention will also be given to the relationship of the hips to the legs, beginning the process of allowing the pelvis to move towards a more neutral balanced position. Clients often report feeling lighter and being able to breath more fully after the first session.

Session 2

The main theme of the second session is to create functional support in the legs and feet for the upper body. The function of the joints in the feet, ankles and knees will be evaluated and addressed to increase movement and balance. Clients typically report having a greater sense of ease when they walk and a greater sense of connection to the ground.

Session 3
In the third session focus shifts to connecting the first two sessions together via the superficial layer. It also addresses the lateral aspect of the body. Attention is given to enhancing the front-to-back balance and dimension of the body. Areas of the body that receive focus in this session can include shoulder and rib cage, hips, and upper thigh. Many clients say that they feel taller and more stable after this session.


Sessions 4-7 are commonly referred to as the “core” sessions. Certified Rolfers tend to think of “core” layers as those lying closest to the spine and the body’s midline. Opening these deeper patterns of holding can allow structures to settle into a more neutral state. Each of the “core” sessions can also include back work, neck work and a pelvic lift to connect the work in the session together.

Session 4
The theme of fourth session is the inner leg and its relationship to the pelvis. During this session attention will be given to multiple fascial compartments and to increasing the sense of connection between the foot and the pelvis. Clients may report an increased sense of support through their pelvis.

Session 5
The fifth session builds on the previous session to increase balance of the pelvis and movement through the core. Focus is given to the relationship between movement of the thorax, abdomen and pelvis. Often clients will report an increased sense of space and ease of movement.

Session 6
In session six the theme is to balance the length in the front of the body, which was created during the previous session, with the back. Attention is given to the relationship between the lower and upper leg, along with their connection to the spine, through the gluteals and sacrum. Clients typically report a sense of weight shift, along with movement and stability in the low back.

Session 7
The main theme of session seven is to tie the previous core sessions together and to create a bridge to the final three sessions. During this session focus is placed on restrictions in the neck, skull and face. This session also marks the transition from focusing on individual areas of the body to focusing on the connection between areas. Many clients report an increased sense of rest and openness after this session.

Sessions 8-10 are commonly referred to as the integration sessions. The previous sessions were focused primarily on differentiation. The final structural sessions focus on integrating areas of the body to each other and to their functioning in gravity. Each of the integration sessions can also include specialized back work, neck work and a pelvic lift to connect the work in the session further.

Sessions 8-9
The eighth and ninth sessions work together to improve the support and adaptability of the body through the pelvic and shoulder girdles. Areas that are still limiting movement and connection are addressed during these sessions. The order of the actual work will depend on the individual client. The ultimate goal is to improve movement through both girdles by facilitating support and adaptability in the body.

Session 10

In session ten the primary theme is reinforcing the functionality and connections that have been created during the series. Awareness of different layers of the body is accessed through movement. The client receives reinforcement of the changes, and techniques to use to maintain those changes after the initial series is complete.