Ida Rolf

(Founder Structural Integration, also known as Rolfing, New York 1896-1979 )

Structural Integration is a system of manual therapy and sensory education. It is aimed to improve the human biomechanical structure as a whole in stead of treating certain symptoms. Ida Rolf began developing her system in the 40s of the last century. Its purpose was to organize the human body structure relative to the force of gravity.

Ida P. Rolf earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1920.  During the following 12 years, she worked at The Rockefeller Institute in the Department of Chemotherapy and later in the Department of Organic Chemistry.  During her time at the Institute, she took a leave of absence to study mathematics and atomic physics at the Swiss Technical Institute in Zurich.

For many years she explored alternative medicine such as homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, yoga and the Alexander Technique. Ida Rolf took a scientific standpoint, but also recognized the value of the solutions found through intuition. She believed that imbalances in the body structure are stressful for the whole network of muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments, creating compensations throughout the body.

Ida Rolf asked this fundamental question: "What conditions must be fulfilled in order for the human body-structure to be organized and integrated in gravity so that the whole person can function in the most optimal and economical way?"

Answering that question was a central theme to her life's work and is at the basis of the soft tissue manipulation and movement education now called Rolfing. Ida Rolf discovered that remarkable improvements in body posture can be accomplished by manipulating the myofascial system of the body. One of her greatest contributions to the body work was the discovery of the importance of gravity for the body structure, movement coordination, spatial perception and human expression.

To pass along her work to others and make the education process accessible, she developed a series of ten sessions now called the"Ten Series". Ida Rolf's in-depth research into the improvement of the whole person and to organize the body in gravity has inspired generations of body workers around the world.

"When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself."