„Practising, and experiencing over and over, is what makes a Rolfer™ a really good Rolfer™: the trial and error and learning from it, learning from clients, from instructors…and having a positive spirit.”
France Hatt-Arnold is a Certified Rolf Movement™ Practitioner (1986), Certified Rolfer™ (1990) and a Certified Advanced Rolfer™ (1996). In 1986, she established a practice in Geneva, Switzerland, and she has been teaching Rolf Movement™ at the Rolf Institute since 1994, and Rolfing® since 2007 for the European Rolfing Association.
Career before Rolfing®
After graduating from secondary school in Geneva, Switzerland, France worked at a psychiatric clinic for the elderly. A year later, in 1983, she went to Boulder, Colorado, to study different massage techniques at the Boulder School of Massage Therapy, gaining a diploma. France attended courses in Swedish massage, shiatsu, neo-Reichian massage, reflexology, biofeedback, hydrotherapy, dietetics, anatomy, physiology, pathology and basic counselling skills.
It was in Boulder that France first came across Rolfing®, Rolf Movement™ and The Rolf Institute of Dr. Ida Pauline Rolf.
On what inspired France to train in Rolfing®:
“From a very young age, I was intrigued by and keen to learn about a touch that can heal. I grew up in an environment where music, Dalcroze Eurhythmics and body improvisation were part of my basic education. Early on, I practiced yoga, different types of dance, Tai Chi and Qi-Gong.
Feeling the changes in my gravity organization after Rolfing® and Rolf Movement™ sessions, I was particularly impressed by the effect on posture, presence and gesture. It left an internal and vivid space in my organism, and a feeling that everything is possible. I then decided to train in Rolf Movement™ and then Rolfing®.
What France most enjoys about teaching:
“Encountering the new, getting to know the students, their particularities and seeing their curiosity for the work. I like to find a rhythm and a dynamic for the class, which ensures that each student feels comfortable and free. I love it when students integrate gravity: such grace, beauty and power manifest. I am even happier when I see that they own that experience and can transmit it through their hands to others, the general resiliency and flexibility of their being.”
France on her teaching method:
“I like to gather certain information from the students in order to set up priorities for the content of a class: what needs to come forth for a message to travel through. As I am someone who needs to understand, I put logical frames into the foreground. I also make lots of time for embodiment: finding the keys for each student to find a valuable and nourishing relationship with gravity.”
Ida Rolf’s recipe has been such a support over the years, helping me keep my approach to the organism holistic. I can teach the recipe in the way it was taught to me – the traditional way – but I have also developed my own ways to read someone’s organism. Osteopathy has very much inspired me in that regard by giving me tangible ways to test the organism and refine my touch interventions.
Studying 20 years with Hubert Godard clarified the importance of tonic activity for postural organization and functional balance that we call “Tonic Function”. Postural pre-movement and how to address it became visible and clear, as well as biomechanics and the role of perception in changing coordinative habits. For this reason, I enjoy teaching Rolfing®, Rolfing Movement™ and blending the two.
On what makes a good Rolfer™
Some students are deeply motivated to learn and then practice Rolfing®: they pursue their objectives no matter what it takes. It is like a drive that they nourish. Each step of learning brings a sense of fulfillment that leads on to the next step.
Practicing and experiencing over and over is what makes a Rolfer™ a really good Rolfer™: the trial and error and learning from it, learning from clients, from instructors…and having a positive spirit.”