"In Rolfing, what we are doing is declaring our faith in relationships.

Look at an individual -- where is there appropriate relationship in his body, where is there appropriate relationship to gravity? Where ever you look, you're mentally relating." -- Ida Rolf, PhD

Ida P. Rolf was born in 1896 in New York City. She graduated from Barnard College in 1916,and in 1920 received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. For the next 12 years, she worked at the Rockefeller Institute in the Chemotherapy and Organic Chemistry departments, eventually attaining an Associate rank. These were all no small feats for a woman in her day.

Taking a leave of absence to study mathematics and atomic physics at the Swiss Technical University in Zurich in 1927, Ida also found time to study Homeopathic medicine in Geneva, and work at the Posteur Institute in Paris.

During the 1930s, Dr. Rolf was challenged with some personal and family health issues. Dissatisfied with standard medical treatments available, she sought alternative answers to these problems. Departing from the traditional modalities, Dr. Rolf explored Osteopathy (from which its founder, Dr. Still, influenced her greatly), and Chiropractic medicine.

Her search for health and wholeness was definitely influenced by her Organic Chemistry background, which led to some fundamental discoveries about the body (particularly the physiological properties of fascia), including its function and form. She was able to envision the connective tissue as a system in and of itself with particular structural and functional qualities. Other influences which contributed greatly to her understanding were Hatha Yoga with Pierre Bernard, Amy Cochran’s Physiosynthesis, the Alexander Technique, and Korzybski's General Semantics.

By the 1940s, she experienced breakthroughs with chronically disabled people who were otherwise not finding relief. In the 1960s Dr. Rolf joined psychologist Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt Therapy) and many other pioneers of the "Human Potential Movement" at the Esalen Institute in California. She trained practitioners there, and the more classes she taught, the more students sought admission to training. Newspaper and magazine articles began featuring her work and ideas, and soon the necessity for a formal organization became apparent. In 1967 the first Guild for Structural Integration was loosely formed and eventually headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.

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*This work should not be construed as a substitute for medical examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should see a physician, or other qualified medical specialist for any mental or physical ailment that you are aware of. Rolf Practitioners are not qualified to perform spinal or skeletal adjustments, diagnose, prescribe or treat any physical or mental illness, and nothing said on this website or during the course of a session should be construed as such.