Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Structure, Function, Integration Journal – Vol. 47 – Nº 1

Volume: 47
ABSTRACT The late Rosemary Feitis was an early and influential publicist of Rolfing Structural Integration (SI). She was instrumental in getting Ida Rolf’s books published, in the management of the early school, and in the foundation of the Rolf Institute®. She was also a Rolfing practitioner, homeopath, osteopath, and author. We are indebted to her – and we will miss her.

ABSTRACT The late Rosemary Feitis was an early and influential publicist of Rolfing Structural Integration (SI). She was instrumental in getting Ida Rolf’s books published, in the management of the early school, and in the foundation of the Rolf Institute®. She was also a Rolfing practitioner, homeopath, osteopath, and author. We are indebted to her – and we will miss her.

 

 

On July 5, 2018, the Rolfing community lost the amazing presence of Dr. Rosemary Feitis. One of Dr. Ida Rolf’s early followers, Rosemary was a pioneer who devoted her formidable talents and boundless energy to establish Ida’s work.

Rosemary met Ida at Esalen Institute in 1968, a time when her own professional focus was fine arts. Enthralled by Ida’s insights and personality, Rosemary soon became her friend, secretary, travel companion, and confidante. Having accompanied Ida to her early classes, lectures, and presentations, Rosemary eventually administered trainings from the back of her Volvo station wagon – in which she also secured the material trappings of what would become the Rolf Institute®.

 

Rosemary Feitis and Dr. Rolf in 1977, ready to fly in a small plane from Sky Ranch to LA. Photo courtesy of Joy Beluzzi.

 

With acumen and foresight, Rosemary recognized that for SI to gain a foothold in the culture at large, generally accessible information about the work had to be published. And she made that happen. First, Rosemary transcribed and edited Ida’s dictation into Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structures, (Rolf 1977). This text became the ‘bible’ for practitioners of Rolfing SI, as well as the authoritative layperson’s reference about the nature of Ida’s work.

Rosemary then compiled and edited Ida Rolf Talks about Rolfing and Physical Reality (Rolf 1978). This collection, with its informal feel, consists of extracts from one of Ida’s trainings. The book is divided into three sections: an introduction to Ida Rolf and the creation of SI, as well as a general description of the work, followed by a section for the general public and   a section for practitioners. It was, and remains, a classic of its genre: easy and enjoyable to read, it carried Ida’s voice, her style, and her direct and deep approach to life, the body/mind, and the work.

 

Rosemary Feitis holds a document, for Ida Rolf to sign, that assigns to the Rolf Institute the Rolfing service marks and rights to Ida Rolf’s name. To her left is Peter Melchior. Melchior and Feitis were both Rolf Institute board members at the time.

 

Rosemary also helped to launch the Bulletin for Structural Integration, a periodical sponsored by the nascent Rolf Institute, in which the first peer-authored materials on the work were published. The Bulletin became a forum for recent graduates and young practitioners to share results from their practices and hypotheses about the work.

Much later, in 1996, she collaborated  with fellow practitioner Louis Shultz in yet another pioneer publication: The Endless Web – Fascial Anatomy and Physical Reality (Schultz and Feitis 1996). Presenting for the first time a coherent account of the unity of the connective- tissue system, this work opened the way for the now-burgeoning research and scholarship on the key role of the fascia in human function. In the same year, to honor Ida’s 100th birthday, the Rolf Institute promoted another collaboration between Rosemary and Louis – Remembering Ida Rolf (Feitis and Schultz 1996), a collection of the fond remembrances of from early practitioners and friends.

Rosemary’s efforts were instrumental to the 1971 founding of the  Rolf  Institute as a container for the work as well as to development  of  the  school.  Ida’s vision included  multiple  schools  of  Rolfing SI, each with a different emphasis: one psychological, another metaphysical, and a third biomechanical. While no formal division occurred, these three lines of inquiry  remain  critical  to  the  work, and many instructors and practitioners favor one over the others even today.

Rosemary put considerable energy into bringing Rolfing trainings to New York, where she had established her practice on the Upper West Side. Regardless of which emphasis would prevail, she rolled up her sleeves and, together with Louis Schultz and Owen James, organized the first New York training in 1981. I graduated from that training – and it was there that Rosemary and I began our friendship of many years. Rosemary hosted countless visitors in her New York home, which was a beacon and a gathering place for Rolfers native to the East Coast, as well as those visiting New York.

After several years of Rolfing practice, Rosemary continued her studies and became a doctor of osteopathy and a homeopath. She practiced for over forty years.

Rosemary’s life of service to Rolfing SI is an enduring legacy for our community. She will be missed by her countless friends throughout the world. I am proud and grateful to count myself among them; and in the name of the entire Rolfing community, I honor and thank Rosemary for her sojourn on this planet!

 

Louis Schultz and Rosemary Feitis in 2006. Photo courtesy of Marcelo Coutinho.

 

References

Feitis, R. and Schultz, L. 1996. Remembering Ida Rolf. Boulder, Colorado: Rolf Institute and Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.

Rolf, I.P. 1977. Rolfing the Integration of Human Structures. New York: Harper & Row.

Rolf I.P. 1978. Ida Rolf talks about Rolfing and Physical Reality. R. Feitis, Ed. Boulder, Colorado: Rolf Institute.

Schultz, L. and R. Feitis 1996. The Endless Web: Fascial Anatomy and Physical Reality. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.

Pedro Prado, PhD, is an instructor for the Rolf Institute’s Advanced Training and Rolf Movement training. He also teaches Somatic Experiencing® throughout the world for the Foundation of Human Enrichment. He is a clinical psychologist and a former professor of somatic psychology, and is currently exploring the psychobiological  dimension of SI in his practice, teaching, and research. Pedro has maintained a clinical practice in São Paulo, Brazil since 1981.

 

A Tribute to Rosemary Feitis[:]

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