Dr. Rolf was one of the first women to receive a PhD in biochemistry and physiology in the USA.
Dr. Rolf was a pioneer and ahead of her times in multiple ways: in the field of body therapy she contributed the finding that gravity, as an organising element, is particularly important for the structure of the body, coordination of movement, spatial perception and for human expression. Rolfing leads to a structural rearrangement of the body and, therefore, gravity can be used as a positive, strengthening power.
Ida Rolf developed a series of 10 consecutive sessions, in which the ideal structure, posture and movement pattern for the client is acquired.
Her ambition to introduce Structural Integration to as many people as possible took her all over the world. In the early 1970s Ida Rolf founded the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado. She dedicated the rest of her life to teaching the technique, which was named after her later on. Structural Integration became known as “Rolfing” all over the world.
When she died in 1979 she left behind a vital method which is applied by more than 1600 Rolfers all over the world today.
Connective Tissue and Gravity
It was Dr. Rolf‘s theory that the cause of human discomfort, both physical and emotional, may lie in our internal connective tissue and its relation to the earth’s gravitational field.
There is, she argued, an optimal, more natural body alignment for each of us, which eases interaction between the self and gravity. When this alignment is lost through external factors, it causes internal stress which can manifest in real discomfort. Prevent, or correct, the misalignment and the strain may be eliminated, or at least limited. This is the central principle underlying Rolfing.
The organ linking all internal structures within the human frame is called the fascial web. This connective tissue unites and connects all inner parts of the human body and separates its functioning units.
Fascia is constantly changing and adapting in response to demands placed on the individual‘s body. It reacts to particular physical change – to a joint for example – by producing extra material to provide stability and support. However, it can produce more material than necessary. In time, rather than stabilizing movement, it can actually reduce mobility, resulting in a change of postural position and patterns of movement.
Dr. Rolf called fascia the “Organ of Form” and suggested that through deliberate, accurate and precise movement of this tissue, over-all relief and well-being could be achieved. Through the Rolfing touch, the elasticity and sliding capacity of the tissue can be restored and the body realigned in such a way that it can function with more ease. By introducing the influence of gravity on well-being, Dr. Rolf broke new ground. Latest Scientific findings support her theory.