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Rolfing® Structural Integration is the science whereby the body’s soft connective tissue, the fascia, is manipulated through an interactive process of touch, movement and awareness to integrate the whole body in gravity. It brings about more efficient movement and supports greater awareness of embodiment for the client.

man in rolfing session

Rolfing usually involves ten sessions. Each session has specific goals which work together resulting in an integrative approach that addresses the whole body.

A wide variety of highly skilled, gentle, slow, sometimes subtle, sometimes deep touch is used to bring about changes in the soft connective tissue or fascia in the body. As the fascia responds to this type of touch, the alignment of the whole body improves.

In the process of Rolfing, new habits of the neuro-muscular kind are promoted giving the client improved options of movement, posture, breathing, gesture and expression.

The effects of Rolfing are often described by clients as a feeling of lightness, of being more upright and more comfortable in one’s body, of relief from long term stress and tension and relief from long term aches and pains, and of greater ease and range of movement, feeling free and more in the present.

child in rolfing session

Scientific research has demonstrated that Rolfing creates a significant improvement in the quality of life of people who have had the treatment. Not only do they have more efficient use of muscles which allows the body to conserve energy, more economical and refined patterns of movement are also created. Research also shows that Rolfing significantly reduces chronic stress. For example, a study showed that Rolfing significantly reduced the spinal curvature of subjects with lordosis (sway back); it also showed that Rolfing enhances neurological functioning.

woman in a rolfing session


Dr. Ida P. Rolf

Dr. Ida P. Rolf, (1896-1979) the founder of Rolfing, received a PhD in biochemistry from the Rockefeller Institute (later Columbia University).

ida rolf
Photo by Ron Thomson

Her basic question, ‘What conditions need to be present for the human body (structure) to be integrated in gravity, and for the most efficient movement (function),’ led to the development of Structural Integration by her from the 1920’s to her passing in 1979. She presented her first trainings in the 1950’s, and it was only in the early 1960’s that her work took root among practitioners as an original, comprehensive system of working holistically with the whole person.


The Rolf Institute of
Structural Integration

Dr. Ida Rolf established the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (www.rolf.org) in Boulder, Colorado, USA in 1971. This remains the headquarters of the Rolfing community. In addition to the Rolf Institute, there are Rolfing schools in Munich, Germany (European Rolfing Association www.rolfing.org ), Brazil (ABR), Japan (JRA), Australia (ARA), and the newly established South African Rolfing Association that will host the first Rolfing training in South Africa.

The first South African Rolfing training will be hosted in the picturesque University Town of Stellenbosch.


Updated 26 November 2008, www.rolfing.co.za, editor: Eugenie Grobler




















gravity posture

Dr Ida P. Rolf
The Rolf Institute

Rolf Institute
European Rolf Institute
Dr. Ida P. Rolf bio
Demonstration (YouTube)