Rolf, Ida P.

ida_rolf_nr_35Dr. Ida Rolf

Ida Rolf (1896-1979) spent her life exploring the healing possibilities held within the human mind and body.

At about the age of 20, Ida graduated from Barnard College in New York in 1920. She was a gifted student and at 25 she had earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Over the next seven years Dr. Rolf applied her expertise at the renowned Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and attained – at the time unusually for a woman – the position of Associate Professor.

Still hungry for knowledge and personal development, in 1927 Dr. Rolf left the US and travelled to Europe. She studied mathematics and physics in Switzerland – and furthered her interest in homeopathy by studying homeopathic medicine in Geneva.

Throughout the 1930’s Dr. Rolf used her knowledge and experience to seek answers to the health concerns of her loved ones. Unwilling to accept the limitations of medicine at the time, Dr. Rolf embraced a wide range of approaches including osteopathy, chiropractic medicine and disciplines of the mind including yoga and Korzybski’s study of consciousness.

Bringing together such a rich variety of perspectives, Dr. Rolf finally developed Structural Integration. Her ambition to introduce Structural Integration to as many people as possible took her all over the world. Her desire was not simply to help others but to teach future generations the fruit of her life’s work. Indeed Dr. Rolf dedicated the rest of her life to teaching and passing on the technique that was to later take her name. Structural Integration became and remains recognised worldwide as ‘Rolfing’.

Rolfing is a system of structural integration that aligns and balances the physical body within its gravitational field.  This rebalancing is accomplished through systematic manipulation that that loosens and reorganizes the myofascia, or connective tissue, that surrounds the muscles.  After a rolfing session, you not only stand taller, and move with greater ease, but also have more vitality and an enhanced sense od psychological well-being.

Two of her many famous quotes that stick in my mind are “Structure and function are two sides of the same coin,” and “First, put everything back where it belongs, and then introduce movement.”