What is the Rolf Institute®?

The Rolf Institute® in Boulder, Colorado, was founded in 1971 to carry on Dr. Ida P. Rolf's work. Its major purpose is to train Rolfers and Rolfing Movement teachers, to carry on research, and to provide information to the public.  It is also an international organization with classes held in Munich, Germany, Sydney, Australia and Brazil.

Only individuals trained and certified by the Rolf Institutes may use the Rolfing® service mark. Today there are more than 1,000 Rolfing practitioners in about twenty six countries throughout the world.  It is estimated, that over one million people experienced the process of Rolfing until now.

Research on Rolfing

Many scientific researches have been conducted and confirm the effectiveness of Rolfing structural integration. These are a few examples:

Research 1

Ida Rolf performed a study entitled “Project Breakthrough” in 1963 and discovered children that had received Rolfing exhibited better muscle tone, better alignment, and improved social responsiveness.
Research 2
A group of Rolfers led by Robert Toporek, conducted a three year pilot study in Philadelphia, PA and published their report “The Promise of Rolfing Children” in 1981. The report showed childrens’ photographs before Session 1 and after Session 10, and two to three years later, parent’s interviews and Rolfer’s comments further documented the changes. This pilot study with children demonstrated:
  • A dramatic improvement in the children’s physical, psychological and behavioral patterns had occurred.
  • Parents reported consistently that the children had increased confidence, better verbal expression, more self-control and less destructive behavior.
  • The study concluded that Rolfing is an effective way to address conditions such as cerebral palsy or scoliosis.
Research 3

UCLA's Department of Kinesiology, Drs. Valerie V. Hunt and Wayne W. Massey, conducted a five-year controlled study completing in 1977 entitled "A study of Structural Integration from Neuromuscular, Energy Field and Emotional Approaches".  They found that the subjects, after receiving Rolfing, demonstrated:

  • Smoother, larger, and less constrained movements.
  • Greater movement efficiency and improved neuromuscular balance.
  • More dynamic and energetic body movements.
  • A more erect carriage with less obvious strain to maintain held position.
  • Increased emotional calmness, a greater sense of well-being, and decreased anxiety.
Research 4

Conttinghas, M.S., Porges, Ph.D., and T.Lyon, M.D. at the Frances Belson Health Center, 1987 studied “the Effects of Soft Tissue Mobilization (Rolfing Pelvic Lift) on Parasympathetic Tone in Two Age Groups”  Parasympathetic tone was assessed by 1) quantifying the amplitude of the respiratory sinus arrhythmia from the heart rate pattern and 2) measuring the heart rate.

  • The result of the pelvic lift increased the tone of the parasympathetic nervous system.  This is usually associated with decreased levels of stress.
Ida P. RolfIda P. Rolf, a native New Yorker, graduated from Barnard Collegein 1916.

Annette Pearsall
Rolfing has been the best manipulation therapy for me. I no longer have a frozen shoulder and my muscles and joints are feeling much better.
Lee Wei Seong
Catherine Fong has helped me to regain the use of my right knee after a few sessions of Rolfing.
Jan Signell
I have tested many types of sport massages, gym sessions and Pilates in order to improve my posture and to reduce back pain.
David Yong
After seeing many doctors and numerous pairs of "new technology" shoes the pain at my left heel not only persisted but got worse.
Celine Ooi
I never thought of doing Rolfing because I do not have any injuries or body pains. I was pre-occupied, "hooked" actually with my private Pilates sessions with Cat.