Rolfing (™) ®, rolfing, Rolfer ™, rolfer, Ida Rolf and Rolf Method, Structural Integration, and how to use them!
Ida Rolf created her recipe in the late 1950's and at first described it as "Postural Integration" Later it became Structural Integration. When The Rolf institute™ was formed in 1971, the work became know as Rolfing®. Now, many decades later, there are multiple schools teaching their version of her 'recipe'. That, along with the integrating influence of the IASI theiasi.net, have made it a little confusing when discussing our work! Here is my quick spin on this idea.
Clearly the Rolf Institute has delineated itself from the masses by creating a service mark for their graduates hence the ®. Many of the other schools have distinctions in name as well, i.e. The Guild, Hellerwork, SOMA, KMI, Zen Therapy, etc.
I am sure that many of my fellow non rolfing structural integrators had it hammered into them to not say "Rolfing" or Rolfer when describing our work. We were allowed rolf method, structural integration, based on ida rolf, etc. But nope, rolfer was off limits. Oh well, even though many old-school practitioners and clients alike use rolfer with a lower case to describe their structural integration practitioner (see why rolfer is easier), it is important professionally that we are clear about what we call our work!
In 2013 I was in a wonderful training with Sharon Wheeler on bones. She kept referring to all of us as rolfers. Someone questioned her a bit and said that she was from a different school and didn't use the term Rolfer(™) or Rolfing®. Sharon said dismissively that she thinks of us all as rolfers. So here we have one of Ida Rolf's first students calling us rolfers, but all along I'm thinking, "wait Matthew...you are a KMI practitioner, just remember that". so the confusion continues!
So in our confusing and cryptic jargon or in colloquial use by our clients, using rolfer, or rolfing may be ok, but legally and ethically things are somewhat different. I would NEVER say in writing that I am a Rolfer ®, but I might say I know some good ones!! Nor would I use any protected service marks in my marketing or communications. So I will continue to use the somewhat awkward and hard-to-define term, Structural Integration Practitioner, even though inevitably when I'm describing my work as influenced by Ida Rolf, I often get a quick response of "Oh, you mean, its like Rolfing™?!"