Where does Rolfing® S.I. come from and how was it developed?
Dr. Ida P. Rolf was born in 1896 in New York, and grew up in the Bronx. She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1920 while working at the Rockefeller Institute (now named Rockefeller University).
Passionately inquisitive, Dr. Rolf broadened her understanding of the human body through an extensive study of yoga, osteopathy, homeopathy, Alexander technique, and other approaches to wellness. Dr. Rolf analyzed her eclectic studies, as well as her own experiences, so that she could distill principles of those techniques which were effective at changing human bodies and improving human functioning.
In 1940, Dr. Rolf met a piano teacher whose arms and hands had been severely injured in an accident, so much so that she could no longer teach. Dr. Rolf told her, "I'll make a bargain with you. If I can get you to the place where you can teach music, will you teach my children?" The music teacher accepted the bet, and after about four sessions, she began to teach Dr. Rolf's kids.
From that point on, Dr. Rolf continued her rigorous studies, refined her approach to the body, and developed the 10-series as an effective method of teaching structural integration (which was later nicknamed "Rolfing"). In 1971, Dr. Rolf and some of her students founded The Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado so that her work would continue after her lifetime.
Much of the beauty of Rolfing® Structural Integration is that it is an adaptable method of observing, analyzing, and intervening, rather than a static technique applied to all clients. This allows the Rolfing community to continue to adapt to new information, new contexts, and new clients, without diluting the brilliance of Dr. Rolf's insights into the human body. Even after Dr. Rolf's death in 1979, her work is continued, expanded, and clarified by a diverse community of structural integrators.