Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Founder of Structural Integration – Pt. 2

In 1942, Ida started a two-year period of work with Grace, a friend who had been crippled since childhood. “That day I started working with Grace,” said Ida, “was the day I really got Rolfing going. That was when the first principle of Rolfing was really born— moving the soft tissue toward the place where it really belongs.”

Ida developed original ideas regarding work with the human body. She noted how the body is comprised of segmented parts. She also knew the body could change because of the malleability of its connective tissues. And she realized the human body had a relationship with the gravitational field.

“Ida P. Rolf was not interested in curing symptoms, said Rosemary Feitis, Ida’s secretary and friend. “She wanted nothing less than to create new, better human beings. The ills would cure themselves; the symptoms would melt as the organisms became balanced.”

From 1965 to 1968, Dr. Rolf taught at Esalen Institute in northern California. She called her work Structural Integration, which she felt described the process of her work. At Esalen, her enthusiastic students coined the word “Rolfing” to describe her work. In 1967, Dr. Rolf began writing her book, Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structure. It was completed in 1977. Dr. Rolf died at the age of eighty-three in 1979. In describing her accomplishments, Dr. Rolf said with modesty, “One does not get very far in one lifetime.” We beg to differ!

In 2002, Dr. Rolf’s work continued to emerge when the International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI), was founded as the professional membership organization for Structural Integration. IASI has recognized many schools of Structural Integration from around the world that are compliant with their current educational standards for Structural Integration. They are listed on the IASI website, www.theiasi.net. Each of the schools has similar and yet different focuses of attention. Three early schools of Structural Integration include:

Dr. Ida Rolf Institute® (DIRI): www.rolf.org. The (DIRI) was formerly known as the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration® and was founded in 1971. Its practitioners are known as Rolfers®, who do Rolfing®. The vision of the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute is to provide “A quality training program in Rolfing® Structural Integration, certifying Rolfers® and providing them with continuing education, promoting research and educating the public about the value of Rolfing® SI.”

Hellerwork Structural Integration International: www.Hellerwork.com Hellerwork Structural Integration International was formed in 1978. Its practitioners are known as Hellerworkers. The Hellerwork website states “Hellerwork is a system of bodywork that combines structural alignment, body movement education, and verbal dialogue. It is designed to realign the body’s structure for overall health, improvement of posture, and reduction of physical and mental stress.”

Guild for Structural Integration: www.rolfguild.org The Guild for Structural Integration was founded in 1989. Its practitioners are called Rolf practitioners of the Rolf Method of Structural Integration The web site states, “Association with the Guild implies not only a commitment to professional excellence in the performance of Dr. Rolf’s standard ten session series of Structural Integration, it also indicates a resolution to explore a path of personal growth which includes the transcendental vertical line.”