The History of Rolfing®
starts with Dr. Ida P. Rolf (1896 – 1979)
Way ahead of her time, Ida Pauline Rolf received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1920. She furthered her knowledge of the body through research in organic chemistry at The Rockefeller Institute.
Looking for help with some health issues for her two sons, Dr. Rolf spent many years studying and experimenting with different systems of healing and manipulation. She explored homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and yoga. Many of these healing modalities acknowledged proper alignment, physiological function and anatomical structure as the basis of their methods.
Dr. Rolf observed that the body functioned best when bony segments were in proper alignment with gravity. Imbalanced structure placed demands on the soft tissue, which is made up of muscles, tendons, ligaments and most importantly, fascia. To create lasting improvement in the total organization of the body, she explored manipulation and movement over a period of fifty years.
Dr. Rolf was devoted to the investigation of finding organization for the human body, integrated in gravity, which created optimal function for the whole person. The ten session series, the cornerstone of modern day Rolfing® was the answer to how she could pass on her work. She founded The Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration in 1971 in Boulder, Colorado and trained a series of teachers to further her work and theories. Dr. Rolf died in 1979 at the age of 83 and continues to be recognized as a pioneer and leader in soft tissue manipulation and movement education. In 2018, celebrating her life and work, the Institute was renamed in her honor to the The Dr. Ida Rolf Institute®.
"This is the gospel of Rolfing®: When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself."
- Dr. Ida P. Rolf