This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
Rolfing is a form of deep-tissue, structurally oriented bodywork that was created by Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., a Columbia University trained biochemist in the 1930s. When she developed this therapy, Dr. Rolf was influenced by her knowledge of Hatha yoga, the Alexander technique, osteopathy, and homeopathy. She called her own approach structural integration because it dealt with the way the body's structure affects its function. It didn't take long, however, for the public to start calling it Rolfing--and the nickname stuck.
In 1971, Dr. Rolf established the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, now located in Boulder, Colorado, with adjunct institutes in Munich, Germany, and Sao Paolo, Brazil, to oversee the standardization of the Rolfing method and the training of practitioners, known as Rolfers.
Today, Rolfing is employed primarily to help reduce stress and ease mobility, address posture problems, and reduce musculoskeletal and back pain. Proponents suggest that it can relieve a variety of other ailments as well.