Structural Integration

Structural Integration

What is  Ida Rolf ‘s legacy?

“Rolfing” (a trademark word of the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado) is a deep tissue hands-on manipulation technique developed by Ida P. Rolf approximately fifty years ago.

It works on the web of connective tissue known as fascia that surrounds muscle fibers and muscle groups, positions the bones, determines the direction of movement, and gives the body its shape. Fascia is spoken of as the tissue of posture.

The practitioner of Structural Integration frees the fascial holding patterns, allowing the muscles and bones to return to healthier balanced relationships. When the fascial system is organized through the ten session series, the body’s major segments come into improved alignment.

Instruction in sitting, standing and walking is an integral part of the series.  People who complete the Rolf Method of Structural Integration series often report effortlessly improved posture and as much as half an inch or more in additional height.

Structural Integration can both dramatically resolve your pain and discomfort and have a transformative effect on how you experience your body and your life. Many people report a new bounce in their step, greater ease in relating to others, and an inner exuberance not experienced since childhood.

You can find more information about the Rolf Method of Structural Integration on the following websites:

The Guild for Structural Integration

International Association of Structural Integrators



The work of Ida Rolf  Press Coverage, Articles, and Research

Press Coverage of the Work of Ida Rolf

Vogue Magazine: Vogue Magazine published an article, “Back In Style” by Heidi Julavits. “Like yoga, Rolfing is one of those practices that your body instantly tells you makes a lot of sense.” March 2007. PDF.

Dr. Andrew Weil’s “Daily Tips” newsletter: “Daily Tips” featured “Four Reasons to Try Rolfing.” July 4, 2008.

“I tried it: Rolfing Structural Integration” Healing Lifestyles Magazine, May/June 2008. Short article written by a former athlete who tries Rolfing to help reduce the effects of aging.

“Rolfing Revealed” Chicago Tribune, Feb 2010. Describes the experience of Rolfing. PDF.

“Everything You Know About Muscle is Wrong” by Christopher McDougall. Men’s Health, Sept 2009. Author of the popular book Born to Run gives insight into how Rolfers look at body patterns.

Science Magazine: Science magazine published “Biomedical research: Cell Biology Meets Rolfing” by David Grimm, deals with the 2007 Fascial Research Congress. November 23, 2007. PDF.

“Rolfing: The Anti-Gravity Device” by Mike Papciak, published in Climbing Magazine. Gives an overview of Rolfing, and explains why Rolfing is great for rock climbers.

“Deep Impact” by Linda Knittel. Published in Yoga Journal, July/August 2002. Detailed discussion of how yoga and Rolfing support each other.  PDF.

“Spiraling Babies” by Ray Bishop, Certified Advanced Rolfer, on Rolfing for children.  PDF.

Somatics Article Library: Articles for clients and Rolfers.

Ida P. Rolf Library of Structural Integration: Articles for clients and Rolfers.


Research on the work of Ida Rolf

Project: UCLA Department of Kinesiology; five year study conducted by Dr. Valerie Hunt and Dr. Wayne Massey; “A Study of Structural Integration from Neuromuscular, Energy Field and Emotional Approaches” completed in 1977. There were measurements before and after Rolfing of anxiety states, brain hemisphere activity, energy field photography, DC recordings of energy flow in electrical voltage readings, EMG recordings from sixteen separate muscles, electromyograms of neuromuscular patterning of energy, and electronic auric field study.Result: This five-year study produced extensive evidence demonstrating the benefits of Rolfing, such as:

Greater physical skill; Emotional calmness; decrease in anxiety state; Improved social interaction; Feelings of well-being; Memory recall; Enhanced ability to access different states of consciousness; Increasing right hemisphere brain dominance when needed for right brain activity; Evidence of changes in ways of processing data and the nature of thought processes; Greater movement efficiency; More energy; less fatigue; Improved neuromuscular balance; Greater energy flow and balance distribution of energy


Project: J. Cottingham, M.S., S. Porges, Ph.D., and T. Lyon, M.D. studied the “Effects of Soft Tissue Mobilization (Rolfing Pelvic Lift) on Parasympathetic Tone in Two Age Groups” at the Frances Nelson Health Center, 1987. Parasympathetic tone was assessed by 1) quantifying the amplitude of the respiratory sinus arrhythmia from the heart rate pattern and 2) measuring heart rate.

Result: The pelvic lift increased the tone of the parasympathetic nervous system. This is usually associated with decreased levels of stress.


Project: Children’s Project; three year pilot study in Philadelphia, PA conducted by a group of Rolfers led by Robert Toporek, 1978; monograph “The Promise of Rolfing Children” reported on this study published in 1981. Each child’s photograph before Session 1 and after Session 10 and some two and three years later were shown. A summary of results gathered from interviewing the parents and Rolfer’s comments documented the changes.

Result: This pilot study with children demonstrated that:

A dramatic improvement in the children’s physical, psychological and behavioral patterns had occurred.

Consistently, parents reported the children had increased confidence, better verbal expression, more self-control and less destructive behavior.

Rolfing is an effective means to address conditions such as cerebral palsy or scoliosis.