Dr. Ida P. Rolf
Dr. Ida P. Rolf

Ida P. Rolf was a remarkable woman of her time, who earned a PhD in biological chemistry in 1920. Over the next decade she worked at the Rockefeller Institute, in the Department of Chemotherapy and later in the Department of Organic Chemistry. She rose to the level of associate, a wonderful achievement for a young woman in those days.

In 1927 she took a leave of absence from her work to attend the Swiss Technical University in Zurich, she studied atomic physics and mathematics there. During this time she also studied homeopathic medicine in Geneva.

In the 1930’s she returned to New York from Europe. She was seeking answers to personal and family health problems. From early childhood she had a marked swayback, and a pre-diabetic diagnosis. She went looking for answers to both these problems. Medical treatment available at the time seemed inadequate to her. She spent the next decade studying osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, the Alexander technique and Korzbski’s work on the state of consciousness.

But the cornerstone of her thinking was yoga which she studied intensely.

In the 1940’s Dr. Rolf began working in a Manhattan apartment where her schedule was filled with many people seeking help. She worked with many chronically disabled people who could not find help elsewhere.

She relocated to Los Angeles to study with Amy Cochrane DO, and other Osteopaths. It was at this time she began to formulate her own work which she originally called Structural Integration. During summers in the 1950s she taught her work in England, initially at the European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone, where she met and studied with additional Osteopaths.

In 1964 Gestalt Therapy founder Fritz Perls invited Dr. Rolf to work and teach at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. It was here that she first had a significant number of students. During her years at Esalen she founded The Rolf Institute and trained several teachers of Structural Integration, as well as over a hundred individual Structural Integrators. Her Institute moved its headquarters to Boulder, Colorado in 1972. Ida Rolf died in 1979 in New York City.

Rolfing is a registered service mark of the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration. Many students went on to find individual schools in which graduates were called Structural Integrators. A listing of these practitioners can be found through the International Association of Structural Integration.(IASI)


Ditchfield Physical Therapy
516 Bloomfield Ave, Suite #5
Montclair, NJ 07042

email: rditch@gmail.com
phone: 201-888-0444
quote from Ida P. Rolf