The History of Rolfing
Dr Ida P. Rolf founded the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in 1971 in Boulder,
Colorado, USA, after over 40 years of research and practice. She held a PhD in biochemistry
from the Rockefeller Institute (later Columbia University). Her scientific and experiential
enquiry into the optimum functioning of the body, led to the development of a highly
effective ten session process of realigning and integrating the body.
Currently Rolfing is spreading throughout the world. Since the founding of the Rolf
Institute of Structural Integration, additional schools have opened in Germany,
Brazil, Japan, Australia, and South Africa. There are approximately 1 500 practising
Certified Rolfers in 26 countries. The Rolf Institute continues to develop its curriculum,
with forty instructors, teaching Rolfing, Advanced Rolfing, Rolfing Movement and
The future of Rolfing
Rolfing is a rapidly growing profession worldwide; there is also a growing recognition
of Rolfing through publicity on international television and the printing media.
The amount of articles published in magazines has been growing significantly. Oprah
Winfrey featured Rolfing in 2007/8, Rolfing was discussed prominently in the Academy
nominated documentary film ‘Two Hands’, about pianist Leon Fleischer who could resume
his career after receiving Rolfing.
Scientific research focussing both on fascia and its implications for posture and
movement, as well as on studies verifying the positive results of Rolfing, support
the vast scope for the profession and its application in a diversity of fields.
The Rolf Institute has been at the forefront of scientific research by sponsoring
the first ever Fascia Research Congress (www.fascia2007.com), held at Harvard Medical
School in 2007. Rolfing instructor Dr. Robert Schleip was one of the presenters
on his groundbreaking research at the University of Ulm in Germany on the discovery
of the contractile cells in fascia – a major contribution to the understanding of
the body. In the future, the Rolf Institute will continue to fund and organise scientific
The concept of the changeability of the body through this method of work is highly
topical and will continue to spread as more and more people seek out Rolfing as
clients and as an exciting profession in an expanding field of enquiry.
Uploaded 6 April 2008, www.rolfing.co.za, editor: Eugenie Grobler