Ida P. Rolf, a native New Yorker, graduated from Barnard College in 1916. In 1920 she earned a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Dr. Rolf worked for twelve years at the Rockefeller Institute, first in the Department of Chemotherapy and later in the Department of Organic Chemistry. She rose to the rank of Associate, a rare accomplishment for a young woman in those days.
In 1927, she studied mathematics and atomic physics at the Swiss Technical University in Zurich and homeopathic medicine in Geneva. Returning to the United States in 1930, she spent the next decade exploring osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, yoga, the Alexander Technique, and Korzybski’s work on states of consciousness. Dr. Rolf was integrating these diverse learning experiences with the desire to find more effective approaches for conditions that conventional medical treatments seemed unable to help. She developed a new approach to working with the body and called it Structural Integration.
Over the next twenty years, she actualized this system in a series of ten sessions, which later became known as Rolfing. She established the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and began teaching basic and advanced training classes. She wrote Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structures (1977) and continued teaching, giving direction to the organization, planning research projects, writing and public speaking.
Her work is continued through the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado and internationally in Germany, Australia and Brazil.
“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