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Rolfing was originally developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf who was born in New York City in the Bronx in 1896. In 1920, Rolf earned her PhD in biological chemistry from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. After graduating, Rolf worked at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.From 1919 to 1927, she published 16 scholarly journal papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


In 1926, Rolf left her academic work in New York, to study mathematics and atomic physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and also biochemistry at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. Rolf began development of Structural Integration in the 1940s.


In the mid-1960s, she began teacher her Structural Integration method at Esalen Institute. Her main goal was to organize the human bodily structure in relation to gravity. Rolf called her method "Structural Integration," now also commonly known by the trademark "Rolfing." 


Rolfing®, aka Structural Integration, is a form of bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissues, called fascia, that permeate the entire body. These connective tissues surround, support and penetrate all of the muscles, bones, nerves and organs.


Rolfing® Structural Integration works on this web-like complex of connective tissues to release, realign and balance the whole body. For example, the legs are aligned to the hips, shoulders to rib cage, the body is positioned over the feet, and then all of these joints and related tissue are integrated to one another.

A Rolfer® uses mild, direct pressure to melt or release stuck fascia. It is currently believed that the slow, deep strokes of Rolfing® stimulate intra-fascial mechanoreceptors (sensory neurons of the muscle nerve), which in turn trigger the nervous system to reduce the tension of the related muscles and fascia.

Put another way, Rolfing® allows the brain and nervous system to “re-boot” areas of the body that are receiving too much electrical stimulation (chronically tight or sore muscles). Once a healthy level of muscle contraction is established, the person’s entire structure is free to express a pain-free form.



The hallmark of Rolfing Structural Integration is a standardized "recipe" known as the Ten-Series, the goal of which is to systematically balance and optimize both the structure (shape) and function (movement) of the entire body over the course of ten Rolfing sessions.

Each session focuses on freeing restrictions or holdings trapped in a particular region of the body. A practitioner also maintains a holistic view of the client's entire system during each session, thus ensuring the transformational process evolves in a comfortable and harmonious way.

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Called the "sleeve" sessions, sessions 1-3 strive to loosen and balance surface layers of connective tissue.

Specifically, the first session is devoted to enhancing the quality of breath with work on the arms, ribcage and diaphragm. Opening is also started along the upper leg, hamstrings, neck and spine.

The second session helps give the body a stable foundation by balancing the foot and muscles of the lower leg.

The third session typically involves a "side view" for an understanding of how the head, shoulder girdle, and hips are positionaly related to one another when standing under the influence of gravity. Then, the body is addressed within the context of this new vision.

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