«When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through, then spontaneously, the body heals itself» Ida Rolf

«An effective human being is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.» Ida Rolf

«Form and function are a unity, two sides of one coin. In order to enhance function, appropriate form must exist or be created.» Ida Rolf

«Strength that has effort in it is not what you need; you need the strength that is the result of ease.» Ida Rolf


Rolfing is a method that influences connective tissue using a special manual technique. Connective tissue, also called «fascia», is the center of attention.

What is Rolfing?+

Dr. Ida Rolf developed Rolfing while working with people who came to see her because they were in pain or had other physical difficulties. She developed a manual method that reshapes the connective tissue of the body.  During this process, which she called «Structural Integration», the body reaches a new state of balance and is able to realign in the field of gravity.

The aims of the treatment are a relaxed and upright posture, graceful movements and freer breathing. This physical shift can also result in emotional changes: the new consciousness of one’s body can evoke curiosity for further transformation in life.

The Technique+

Rolfing is a method that influences connective tissue using a special manual technique. Connective tissue, also called «fascia», is the center of attention. The interconnected fibers of connective tissue are tough and elastic, and surround all the bones, muscles and organs in the body. This three-dimensional net, which holds our body together, forms and determines our basic structure. Fasciae support the musculature and help to optimize tonus in the body.

Circumstances in life such as a heavy workload or accidents can deform the fascial net and affect its supporting function. This may lead to structural problems in the body, which eventually lead to postural imbalances. Rolfers transform the fasciae by putting pressure or giving directions to the tissue. This allows that the fasciae gain more elasticity and eventually rearrange in a new order.

Rolfing uses gravity as a tool. If gravity can flow directly through the body, the clients experience a sensation of upwards lift.  If the balance of tension in the fasciae improves, bones also change their orientation. This support gives the body stability and flexibility.

The Effects of Rolfing+

After a Rolfing session, most clients feel effects such as warmth or a change in volume in the areas where they received treatment.

The tensions in muscles and tissue are more balanced and make it possible to move in a relaxed, graceful and effortless way.  A person with an integrated body structure is well supported from the ground. This can be perceived as a balance around the inner axis or the plumb line of the body.

In an integrated body, joints and connective tissue are not overloaded.

Rolfing is a holistic process, which supports the development of body and soul. The therapy has effects on the entire physical and mental wellbeing.

(Picture of different body structures with plumb line).

A Description of the Rolfing Process+

A Rolfing treatment covers about ten sessions, which last approximately one hour each and are carried out at an interval of one to four weeks.

The number of sessions varies from person to person, depending on the client’s personal goals. If a client mainly wants to get rid of tensions, one to three meetings may suffice. For those who are looking for more sustainable changes of the body structure as well as of the mental state and general wellbeing, the process requires more time.

During a session the client is in a lying, sitting or standing position. The structure of the body achieves better balance step by step throughout the process, as each session builds up systematically on the previous session.

To offer the best possible support to each client, the Rolfer always searches for individual solutions.  Exploring everyday movements during the sessions allows clients to apply what they have learned in their daily life.

Rolfing requires active cooperation between the client and the Rolfer.  A prerequisite for success is the readiness to explore one’s own body and its movement, and an active openness to discover different ways to work with one’s own body.  The Rolfing process also enriches one’s capacity for perception, which is internalized and awakened.

Rolfing and Health Insurance Companies+

Rolfing is formally recognized as an approved therapy in Alternative/Complementary Medicine, and is registered in Switzerland as a “Natural Healing Method”. Rolfers are trained and certified by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in Boulder (Colorado, USA). They are required to take part in continuing education seminars regularly.  The Swiss health insurance registries EMR and ASCA annually verify that all registered Certified Rolfers fulfill the continuing education requirements.

The supplementary insurances of most health insurance companies cover a part of the costs for Rolfing sessions.

Please inquire about the coverage of your health insurance before the first meeting.

The Swiss Rolfing Association provides a complete list of all Certified Rolfers in Switzerland: E-mail info@rolfing.ch or telephone 044 844 22 74.

The History of Rolfing+

Rolfing was developed and taught by Dr. Ida P. Rolf (1896–1979).

In 1920 Ida Rolf was one of the first women in the USA to receive a doctorate in biochemistry and physiology.  During her search for solutions to treat common chronic illnesses, she encountered various approaches, such as yoga and osteopathy, which explore the relationship between the structure and function of the body.

She developed a method called «Structural Integration» based on the observation that posture and movement of the human body are subject to the laws of gravity.

Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, invited Ida Rolf to teach her method at the Esalen Institute in California. This was when Ida Rolf and her method became better known. In 1970 Ida Rolf founded an institute in Colorado and taught there until her death in 1979.

It was only later that her method was named «Rolfing Structural Integration».

Related Links+

Swiss Association for Rolfing™ & Structural Integration (IDA)


European Rolfing™ Association (ERA)


Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Rolfer in Basel

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