About Dr. Rolf

Who was Dr. Rolf?

If you can imagine how it feels to have a fluid, light, balanced body, free of pain, stiffness and chronic stress, at ease with itself and in the gravitational field, then you will understand the goals of Structural Integration.        Dr. Ida P. Rolf


Ida Rolf 1896-1979

Ida Rolf graduated from Barnard college in 1916 and then earned a PhD in biological chemistry in 1920 from Columbia University.  For the next 12 years she worked at the Rockefeller Institute where she rose to the rank of Associate, no small achievement for a young woman in those days.  In 1927 she took leave of absence from her work to study mathematics and atomic physics at the Swiss Technical University in Zurich.  During this time she also studied homeopathic medicine in Geneva.

Returning from Europe, she spent the decade of the 1930's seeking answers to personal and family health problems.  Medical treatment at that time seemed inadequate to her.  This led to her exploration of osteopathey, chiropractic, yoga, the Alexander technique, and Korzybiski's work on states of consciousness.

By the 1940's, she was working in a Manhattan apartment where her schedules was filled with people seeking help.  She was committed to the scientific point of view, and yet many breakthroughs came intuitively through the work she did with chronically disabled persons unable to find help elsewhere.  This was the work eventually to be known as Structural Integration.  For the next 30 years, Ida Rolf devoted herself to developing her technique and training programs.

The more Structural Integration classes Ida Rolf taught, the more students sought admission to training.  Newspaper and magazine articles began featuring her work and soon the necessity of having a formal organization became apparent.  The first Guild for Structural Integration was headquartered in a private home in Boulder, CO.

After her death in 1979 and over the next 20 years several schools of Structural Integration developed - Rolf Institute for Structural Integration  (trademarked Rolfing), Hellerwork, Kinesis Myofascial, Core Somatics, among others.  All of these schools teach a variation of the 10 session protocol.  The only school that adheres to her original work is the Guild For Structural Integration.  Two books worth reading to understand the work and Ida Rolf are:

Structural Integration: The Integration of Human Structures, and Ida Rolf Talks about Structural Integration and Physical Reality