The Rolf Method of Structural Integration is a discipline that approaches the body as a whole. The 10-session process balances and aligns the body by lengthening and repositioning connective tissue, or fascia. It was developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf.
Patterns of tension and stress are systematically unravelled, and the body’s healthy function is restored. The effects of gravity, physical injuries, stress and repetitive activities can cause misalignment and imbalances in the body.
Overtime fascia tightens and shortens to accommodate and adjust to the body’s imbalances. When the body is out of alignment, it functions inefficiently, wastes energy, and causes discomfort and chronic pain. Rolf Structural Integration reestablishes balance in the body. The benefits of Structural Integration can include improved posture and balance, increased flexibility and efficiency of movement and decreased discomfort and pain.
Sessions are 75 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on how the body responds to treatment. Clients should bring a tank top and shorts for each session. Sessions can take place once a week to once a month.
Rolf Structural Integration is a discipline that is within the scope of practice for Registered Massage Therapists. If your insurance covers Massage Therapy, then a receipt will be issued. You should always make sure that your therapist is registered in the province that they practice in.
After completing ten sessions with a Rolf practitioner, a client can expect to experience a greater range of motion, improved posture, and increased ease of movement. An enhanced understanding of how the body operates in harmony with gravity will be developed through the sessions.
More about the founder Ida P. Rolf
Dr. Ida P Rolf May 19, 1896 – March 19, 1979
Ida P. Rolf, a native New Yorker, graduated from Barnard College in 1916; and in 1920, she earned a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. For the next twelve years, Ida Rolf worked at the Rockefeller Institute, first in the Department of Chemotherapy and later in the Department of Organic Chemistry. Eventually, she rose to the rank of Associate, no small achievement for a young woman in those days.
In 1927, she took a leave of absence from her work to study mathematics and atomic physics at the Swiss Technical University in Zurich. During this time, she also studied homeopathic medicine in Geneva.
Returning from Europe, she spent the decade of the 1930s seeking answers to personal and family health problems. Medical treatment available at that time seemed inadequate to her; this led to her exploration of osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, yoga, the Alexander technique and Korzybski’s work on states of consciousness.
By the 1940s, she was working in a Manhattan apartment where her schedule was filled with people seeking help. She was committed to the scientific point of view, and yet many breakthroughs came intuitively through the work she did with chronically disabled persons unable to find help elsewhere. This was the work eventually to be known as Structural Integration. For the next thirty years, Ida Rolf devoted herself to developing her technique and training programs.
During the 1950s, her reputation spread to England, where she spent summers as a guest of John Bennett, a prominent mystic and student of Gurdjieff. Then, in the mid-60s, Dr. Rolf was invited to Esalen Institute in California at the suggestion of Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Therapy. There she began training practitioners and instructors of Structural Integration.
The more Structural Integration classes Ida Rolf taught, the more students sought admission to training. Newspaper and magazine articles began featuring the person and work of Ida Rolf, and soon the necessity for a formal organization became apparent. As early as 1967, the first Guild for Structural Integration was loosely formed and eventually headquartered in a private home in Boulder, Colorado.
Until her death in 1979, Ida Rolf actively advanced training classes, giving direction to her organization, planning research projects, writing, publishing and public speaking. 1977 she wrote Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structures (Harper and Row, Publishers). This book is the major written statement of Ida P. Rolf’s scholastic and experiential investigation into the direct intervention with the evolution of the human species.
Another book compiled by Dr. Rolf’s close associate and companion: Rosemary Feitis, is Ida Rolf Talks About Rolfing and Physical Reality. It is truly a jewel: giving us insights into Dr. Rolf’s unique and incredible mind.
The Guild for Structural Integration still teaches her the Method of Structural Integration.
If you are interested in learning more about the Rolf Method of Structural Integration, check out the suggested readings:
Suggested Reading List
*R. Louis Schultz Ph.D. and Rosemary Feitis D.O., The Endless Web and Remembering Ida Rolf, North Atlantic Books, 1996.
Bond, Mary, Balancing Your Body; A Self Help Approach to Rolfing Movement, Healing Arts Press, 1993
*Bond, Mary, The New Rules of Posture, How to Sit, Stand and Move, Healing Arts Press, 2007
*Feitis, R., Ida Rolf Talks About Rolfing and Physical Reality. Harper and Row, 1978
Foster, Maryann, Integrative Movement Systems, (Beginning Manual) This is an unpublished manuscript you can obtain directly from Ms. Foster: (303) 964-8532
*Heppe, Wilhelm Ferdinand, Structural Integration – Evolving Wholeness from the Core. 1990
*Anson, Briah, Rolfing: Stories of Personal Empowerment. North Atlantic Books, 1991
Schwind, Peter, Alles im Lot. Whilhelm Goldman, Munich, W. Germany, 1985
*Maupin, Edward W., Ph.D. et al., A Dynamic Relation to Gravity Vol I – II. Dawn Eve Press, 2005
Johnson, Will, Balance of Body/Balance of Mind (a Rolfer’s Vision of Buddhist Practice in the West) Humanics, 1993
*Johnson, Will, Aligned, Relaxed and Resilient, The Physical Foundations of Mindfulness, Shambhala, 2000
*Anson, Briah, Growing Right With Rolfing. Video, 1996
Kolber – WilmKing, Anne, Children Are Special Cases. Video
” Rolfing: Reestablishing the Natural Alignment and Structural Integration of the Human Body for Vitality and Well-Being” Ida P. Rolf Paperback October 1, 1989
The complete book of rolfing: Using the new physical therapy to restructure your life
Rolfing: Stories of Personal Empowerment
Jul 1, 1998
“Fascia in Sport and Movement”
Feb 1, 2016
“Rolfing: Stories of personal empowerment”
by Briah Anson
“Fascial Release for Structural Balance”
Nov 9, 2010
“Bodies, Health and Consciousness: A Guide to Living Successfully in Your Body Through Rolfing and Yoga”
“Rolfing Structural Integration. What It Achieves, How It Works and Whom It Helps by Hans Georg Brecklinghaus (2002-03-10)”
“Ida Rolf Talks About Rolfing and Physical Reality”
By Ida P. Rolf Ph.D. “Rolfing: Reestablishing the Natural Alignment and Structural Integration of the Human Body for Vital (Revised)”
Oct 16, 1989
“Rolfing and Physical Reality by Ida P. Rolf (1991-02-04)”