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Dr. Ida 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 in life.

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.

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This site was last updated 07/10/12