P. Rolf—Pioneering Science
Structural Integration was developed by the late Dr. Ida P. Rolf
over a period of intensive research that spanned more than 20 years.
She recognized that a suitable physical structure is essential both
for effective movement and for providing a spacious internal
environment to support vibrant, well-functioning organs.
In 1920, Dr. Rolf
graduated with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University’s
College of Physicians and Surgeons. She went on to work for the
Rockefeller Institute’s departments of Chemotherapy and Organic
Chemistry for twelve years. In the 1930’s, challenged by a friend’s
disabilities, and dissatisfied with the available medical
treatments, she explored extensive studies in a variety of fields
ranging from osteopathic and chiropractic medicine to the Alexander
Technique, Homeopathic medicine, and yoga.
Dr. Rolf was devoted
to advancing a more comprehensive and beneficial scientific
understanding of the body. Realizing that the physics of the
body are just as important as the biology and chemistry, she was
very interested in the body structure’s relationship with gravity as
a basis for greater overall performance, wellness, and fulfillment
Dr. Rolf had
revolutionary insights. She recognized that it is not the
responsibility of muscles to support the bones—the muscles and
skeletal frame are suspended in space by and within the body’s web
of connective tissue. Fascia (connective tissue) holds the body in
its shape. Through her research, Dr. Rolf discovered that the
connective tissue has a quality of plasticity that, with proper
touch, can be made soft and malleable to form a healthier structural
web that stands stronger and easier, balanced and in harmony with
the earth’s gravitational field.
By the 1940’s she had
experienced many amazing breakthroughs with chronically disabled
people who were unable to find help anywhere else. By the
mid-1950’s, she had developed and refined the foundation of her
ten-session process that is still being used to help people today.
Dr. Rolf continued to
teach her work until the time of her death, in 1979, at 83 years
of age. Her original method, true to her teachings, is being passed
on at The Guild for Structural Integration, in Boulder, Colorado.