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“Why isn’t Rolfing® structural integration more popular?”

The title question came from a long-time client who came in for a session 2 days ago. I had just “fixed” her “achilles tendonitis” caused when she fell and twisted in her strap sandals and she was very happy. (Let the record show this was my second attempt at it.) (Also let the record show that a post by a fellow Rolfer™ on our members-only bulletin board reminded of how to conceptualize the “fix”.) Then, I balanced her up.

Anyway, I caused the client a fair but brief amount of pain when I slowly replaced the tendon where it belonged and removed the adhesions from the sub-cutaneous nerve which was caught in the event. She said, “Ooomph! at one brief point.
As the client was walking around, in jubilation, she asked, “Why isn’t Rolfing® SI more popular?”

She answered her own question. “I suppose it is the horror stories of pain.” Then, “If they think this is pain, they don’t know what pain is.”
“They never had back surgery.” “They never had a broken finger.”

I told her my version of another story that slowed down the development of Rolfing SI as a profession: at the beginning Ida Rolf was really picky about who became a Rolfer™, and in a way which wasn’t all that conducive to advancing the profession.

One of the main categories of her pickiness was wanting the candidate to have big hands. Another category was that Rolfers should be men, except in a few cases of women who begged their way in. She really didn’t think women could do the work.

Another category was that they were available to her work, thusly mostly being in residence at Esalen.

There you have it: most of the early day Rolfers and Rolfing SI teachers were men who had big hands who were students of Fritz Perls’ Gestalt therapy at Esalen. This is a fairly restrictive population.

These Senior students of Ida Rolf, these mellow (remember it was California and a certain percentage of California was dreamin’ as they are dreamin’ now that there will be certain de-regulations) students of mysticism, personal growth, and Rolfing SI, got involved in a total fight as to who would control the Institute after she died in 1979.

They already had a lot of practice keeping most folks out of their pantheon, richly populating our world with “failed” would-be Rolfers and “failed” would-be Rolfing teachers who in one case was a “failed” class applicant who had picked up some class notes from hanging around outside a Rolfing SI class.

Of course, these “failures” defined themselves in terms of Rolfing® SI, there was no other comparison.

Then, the Seniors, the anointed, each more anointed than the other (legends in their own minds) turned on each other, for good reasons on each side. Rolfers behaving badly. The ’80’s and we had our own Vietnam and repercussions.

Ha. I personally heard one of our elected board members say that he offered to one of the fightees to have his students have full access to the trademarks and the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (RISI), and the fightee didn’t even consider the offer.

Of course, that fightee is a for-profit school, and I expect that some part of his students may have wanted to take courses at RISI.

A lot of the publicly- represented as “enlightened” (each side was “enlightened” in their own mind) fight was about money and who got the students at RISI
, both sides.

Fortunately, RISI has stayed in business. Guidelines for admission have improved. Guildlines for teacher training and for the courses have improved. You can even get a government loan to go to RISI now.

Will this make Rolfing Structural Integration more popular? Who knows, but if so, it would at least prove Radical Transcendental Existentialism exists.>

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