Rolfing is a brand of structural integration. Ida Rolf, the person from whom the term “Rolfing” is derived, used a few different names for the therapy now known as structural integration over the course of its development. The name that she finally settled on was structural integration, but people liked calling it “rolfing” or describing the experience as “getting rolfed over.” So you had a proper name (structural integration) and a colloquialism (rolfing).
Today, the use of the word “rolfing” and its derivatives is a bit more touchy because of intellectual property rights.
The term Rolfing is now a registered service mark of the Rolf Institute that describes the type of structural integration taught at the Rolf Insitute. Because the formerly colloquial term “rolfing” has been legally servicemarked, it is no longer legally proper to say “I rolfed him” in the same way it is not technically legal to say “I googled this.” People still do it, of course because the English language just operates that way.
Only graduates of the Rolf Institute’s program are legally allowed to call their work Rolfing Structural Integration and themselves Rolfers. Students of other schools for Structural Integration may not legally call themselves “Rolfers” or their work “Rolfing Structural Integration.” They may call themselves structural integrators and/or practitioners of the (Rolf method) of structural integration.
Recently, an organization called the International Association of Structural Integrators was formed to unite Structural Integrators of all schools under an umbrella organization to advance structural integration as a whole and to ameliorate the factionalism of years past.
Post by Matt Hsu, Certified Rolfer™ – San Francisco