Ida Rolf

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Ida Pauline Rolf (born May 19, 1896 in New York ; † March 19, 1979 there ) was an American biochemist. She was the founder of Rolfing , a complementary medical treatment named after her .


Ida Rolf grew up in the Bronx , New York. She studied biochemistry at Columbia University and was one of the first women to graduate with a doctorate in 1920. For the next twelve years she worked at the Rockefeller Institute , first in the department of chemotherapy , later in the department of organic chemistry , and eventually rose to the rank of associate at the institute. As a scientist, she mainly studied the properties of human connective tissue . In addition, she dealt with yoga , osteopathy and homeopathy . From this range of perspectives, Ida Rolf finally developed the concept of structural integration.

Motivated by professional interests and by chronic illnesses in the family, she began to counsel and work with people. Over the years she discovered that the human body and its structure, which is expressed, among other things, in posture, can be changed much more than previously thought through a certain type of connective tissue manipulation. At first she only passed on her experience to interested doctors. Ida Rolf was convinced that manual treatment could influence the connective tissue and the entire body statics. In doing so, she largely assumed mechanical factors, because she knew the connective tissue as a collagenous, plastic material and wanted to influence it in particular through its physical properties through pressure and massage. In addition, she believed in the psychological effects of her manual stimulation: after a successful Rolfing series, not only should the wrong posture disappear, but also fears, a lack of self-esteem and depression.

In the mid-sixties, Ida Rolf treated the founder of Gestalt therapy , Fritz Perls . He invited her to work in Esalen , the then Mecca of the Human Potential Movement, where she soon began to train students. This is where Rolfing's encounter with the methods of humanistic psychology took place. From then on, Rolfing became more and more popular in the USA, and in 1971 Ida Rolf founded the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in Boulder / Colorado as a training facility and professional organization.

Ida Rolf died in 1979 at the age of 83.

Structural integration

Ida Rolf's work is known today under the term "Structural Integration", which she originally coined and preferred. The term "Rolfing" is a registered trademark of the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, founded in 1971 in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Two basic assumptions distinguish Rolfing from other body therapies: First, physical balance, equilibrium, fluid movements, lightness, grace and, ultimately, the wellbeing of a person require good adaptation to the gravitational field. Second, the basis and organ of the structure is the fascia .

Individual evidence

  1. About Ida Rolf
  2. ^ Biography of Ida Rolf
  3. ^ Hans Georg Brecklinghaus "Rolfing - Structural Integration". Lebenshaus Verlag 2014, ISBN 3-932803-07-8 , page 64ff
  4. Homepage of the institute. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on December 31, 2010 ; Retrieved December 30, 2010 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Monica Caspari "Rolfing - Structural Integration" from "Textbook Fascia". Urban & Fischer Verlag 2014. ISBN 978-3-437-55306-6 , page 228
  6. ^ Hubert Ritter "Rolfing - Structural Integration". Noema Verlag, ISBN 978-3-9812781-1-8
  7. Monica Caspari "Rolfing - Structural Integration" from "Textbook Fascia". Urban & Fischer Verlag 2014. ISBN 978-3-437-55306-6 , page 228