Ida Rolf was born in 1896 and obtained her PhD in biochemistry and physiology from Columbia University in 1920, at a time when women were rarely given the opportunity for a university education. She worked at the Rockefeller institute in the departments of chemotherapy and organic chemistry. Her life was dedicated to helping others and she formed the principles of Structural Integration whilst searching for resolutions to family health problems.
In the photos below you can see her with Toby, a little boy who had severe structural problems which caused him great pain. As you can see she was a homely kindly lady who was good with children.
Dr Rolf taught classes in Rolfing for over 40 years, but in 1972 – so when she was 76 – she established the The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (also referred to as "RISI") which now continues her work . The Institute is based in Boulder Colorado, but there are centres worldwide – Europe, South America, Australia and so on.
She died in 1979 aged 83.