The Rolfing Lineage: First Rolfers to trademark nightmare

Emmett Hutchins was one of Dr. Ida Rolf’s first students. Dr. Rolf appointed Emmett as one of the first teachers of her work. As Dr. Rolf requested, in the 1970s Emmett moved from California to Boulder to focus on the work that would eventually bring into being the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration. In the early 1990s, after teaching in Boulder for years, Emmett and his partner Richard Stenstadvold (former Executive Director of the Institute), left the Rolf Institute and re-established the Guild for Structural Integration  (Dr. Rolf’s original name for teaching her work)

“Dr. Rolf appointed Emmett and Peter Melchior as the first teachers of her work. As Dr. Rolf requested, in the 1970s Emmett and Peter moved from California to Boulder to focus on the work that would eventually bring into being the Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration.”

Moshe Feldenkrais was one of only 80 people to have completed training entirely under Dr. Rolf and to have received diploma from her. Additionally, Ida Rolf served as Chair of Moshe’s PhD committee.

Moshe Feldenkrais was instrumental in creating the “Guild Certified Rolf Trainings” which are still taught today. In addition, he served as the first president of the Ida Rolf Guild, from 1984-1986 and in various positions on the Rolfing Training and Accreditation Boards.

Hadidjah Lamas – In the 1970s, Hadidjah was pioneering the subtle aspects of Rolf’s legacy that many practitioners today are discovering. Structural Integration Journal (PDF)- March 2018

Mary Bond, Certified Advanced Rolfer™, Rolf Movement® Practitioner

Lloyd Kaechele – NASA scientist, turned Rolfer – Structural Integration Journal (PDF)- March 2018

The Offshoots:

1965 – Ida Rolf started her own Guild for Structural Integration (Confusing information has been found on this – the chart on the SI Directory Website shows there was a Guild started in 1965 )

1971 – The Rolf Institute created by Ida Rolf. Jan Sultan, Michael Salveson, Jeffrey Maitland. Later became renamed Dr. Ida Rolf Institute Nov 2019.

1977 – Soma Institute – Soma Neuromuscular Integration® was developed by Bill Williams, Ph.D. and his wife, Ellen Gregory Williams, Ph.D. Karen Bolesky (author of Bony Landmarks) took over the school in 1986 and has handed it over to her nephew Jesse Guerrero and Denise Foster Scott, Lanii Chapman and Kelsi Giswold are core instructors in the program.

1979 – Joseph Heller, creates Hellerwork

The Hellerwork Structural Integration Practitioner Training Curriculum comprises 1025 Clock Hours offering a blended learning environment and experience deeply grounded in the theory, principles, science and hands-on skills which make up Hellerwork Structural Integration. The curriculum consists of seven sections with each section containing 3 courses. Each course is designed to progressively educate and deepen your knowledge and expertise as you advance through your training. Our training program is presented in Five 15-day onsite classroom intensive. In between classroom intensives are Four 3-month online classroom distance learning segments.

The Soma Institute is recognised as one of the major schools of SI by the International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI), it is also a State and National Massage licensing program. Soma is also accredited and a CE provider with the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and is licensed by WA State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board and the Washington and Oregon Board of Massage. Select programs at the Soma Institute is VA approved by the WTECB/SAA for enrollment of those eligible to receive benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, USC.

1989 – Guild for Structual Integration – Started Peter Melchior, Emmett Hutchins, Neal Powers

CORE Institute School of Massage Therapy and Structural Bodywork. – Started by George Peter Kousaleos and Gary Genna in 1979. George then enrolled in the charter class of the SOMA Institute of Neuromuscular Integration, where he studied under Bill M. Williams, one of the early instructors of the Rolf Institute. George started his clinical practice in SOMA Structural Integration in 1979 and by 1980 he established practices in a chiropractic office in New York City and in a psychological center in Munich, Germany. At the same time he worked with the SOMA Institute developing and teaching seminar courses in the basic concepts and strategies of Structural Integration.

CORE Myofascial Therapy is a 48-hour certification program that focuses on improving structural alignment, balance, flexibility and movement patterns, while reducing chronic pain and soft-tissue restrictions.

CORE Structural Integration is a 350-hour certification program in the study of the 10 sessions of Structural Integration. 

IPSB – Maupin

Zentherapy – William “Dub” Leigh

ISI – Latz

Postural Integration – Painter

Utah School – Cohen and Crowe

KMI – Tom Myers

Institute for Structural Medicine – Donna Bajelis

Guild for Therapeutic Bodywork – Mintz

Mana – Petersen and Grey

Aston Patterning – Judith Aston

Muskuolskeletal Dynamics – Eric Dalton

Rossiter –

Variations in Ida’s Recipe (PDF) – Tom Myers. AISI

1988 – Battle over the use of the trademark Rolfing and Structural Integration is a thorn in their side. According to this article by Ed Maupin, There was a split in 1988 in which certain of the older teachers left the Rolf Institute and formed the Guild for Structural Integration. There was a lawsuit resulting, I am told, in the Guild not being able to use ‘Rolfing.’ I think this was a seminal disaster for the entire profession, dividing it into conflicting parties unable to promote the field together or to pursue common goals.Ida’s first students: Lloyd Kaechele, NASA scientist who met Ida and ditched his career to change to being a Rolfer. John Lodge and Charles Siemers from LA were teachers. Jan Sultan.

Ida Pauline Rolf, PhD (1896–1979) – The woman, The Researcher and bodyworker extradonaire: Where did the The Line and The Recipe come from? Why did she choose 10 sessions? Why did she pick gravity and the line?

The Rolfing Lineage. A few of the early students of Ida Rolf, went on to create their own variation of the 10 Session protocol, always with her blessing. After her death, a battle of the Rolfing Trademark ensued.