WHO WE ARE
The Guild for Structural Integration was founded and named by Dr. Ida P. Rolf in the mid-sixties. The word “guild” comes to us from medieval times, perhaps reminiscent of Dr. Rolf’s search into the roots of Western thought and belief. It means a union of persons in the same craft or trade to uphold standards and promote common interests. In 1989, a small group of individuals, dedicated to preserving Dr. Rolf’s traditional teachings, dedicated to preserving the Spirit and Heart of Ida Rolf’s work, started the Guild for Structural Integration.
The Guild for Structural Integration (GSI) is an association of Structural Integration practitioners and associates who are dedicated to preserving Dr. Rolf’s teaching and work. Association with the Guild implies not only a commitment to professional excellence in the performance of Dr. Rolf’s standard ten-session series of Structural Integration, it also indicates a resolution to explore a path of personal growth which includes the transcendental vertical line. Regardless of the constituency of our clientele, the Guild affirms that our primary interest is in human potential and not the palliation of symptoms, and that the miracle of symptom relief is only coincidental with the true goals of Structural Integration. We also vow to promote interest in the “unfinished” aspects of Dr. Rolf’s work and to continue her inquiry into the energy fields of the body and their relationship to balanced structure.
We believe that the scope and importance for Dr. Rolf’s work demand that many philosophical choices be explored. We, therefore, formed the Guild to insure a creative community consisting of individuals who are dedicated to sharing and exploring her work. Following the example of our teacher, we believe we can have our feet planted firmly in physical reality while keeping our eyes fixed on the far stars.
Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D
Ida P. Rolf, a native New Yorker, graduated from Barnard College in 1916; and in 1920 she earned a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. For the next twelve years Ida Rolf worked at the Rockefeller Institute, first in the Department of Chemotherapy and later in the Department of Organic Chemistry. Eventually, she rose to the rank of Associate, no small achievement for a young woman in those days.
In 1927, she took a leave of absence from her work to study mathematics and atomic physics at the Swiss Technical University in Zurich. During this time, she also studied homeopathic medicine in Geneva.
Returning from Europe, she spent the decade of the 1930s seeking answers to personal and family health problems. Medical treatment available at that time seemed inadequate to her; this led to her exploration of osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, yoga, the Alexander technique and Korzybski’s work on states of consciousness.
By the 1940s, she was working in a Manhattan apartment where her schedule was filled with people seeking help. She was committed to the scientific point of view, and yet many breakthroughs came intuitively through the work she did with chronically disabled persons unable to find help elsewhere. This was the work eventually to be known as Structural Integration. For the next thirty years, Ida Rolf devoted herself to developing her technique and training programs.
During the 1950s, her reputation spread to England where she spent summers as a guest of John Bennett, a prominent mystic and student of Gurdjieff. Then, in the mid-60s, Dr. Rolf was invited to Esalen Institute in California at the suggestion of Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Therapy. There she began training practitioners and instructors of Structural Integration.
The more Structural Integration classes Ida Rolf taught, the more students sought admission to training. Newspaper and magazine articles began featuring the person and work of Ida Rolf, and soon the necessity for a formal organization became apparent. As early as 1967, the first Guild for Structural Integration was loosely formed and eventually headquartered in a private home in Boulder, Colorado.
Until her death in 1979, Ida Rolf actively advanced training classes, giving direction to her organization, planning research projects, writing, publishing and public speaking. In 1977, she wrote Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structures (Harper and Row, Publishers). This book is the major written statement of Ida P. Rolf’s scholastic and experiential investigation into the direct intervention with the evolution of the human species.
Another book compiled by Dr. Rolf’s close associate and companion: Rosemary Feitis, is Ida Rolf Talks About Rolfing and Physical Reality. It is truly a jewel, giving us insights into Dr. Rolf’s unique and incredible mind.
Meet Our Faculty & Administration
Amber Leigh Burnham
Amber has been practicing therapeutic bodywork since 1995 after graduating from the Utah College of Massage Therapy (UCMT) Professional Program. In 1999, she also completed the Clinical Career Track and the Structural Integration Track at UCMT. She was fortunate to work with UCMT founder Norm Cohn, and Steven Padgen for her initial training in the 10 sessions of Structural Integration, and later with Andy Crow. In 1999, Cohn asked her to revise and teach UCMT’s movement class. Thus began her love of teaching- a love that has continued to the present.
Norm and Andy, both trained by Ida Rolf in the 1970’s, instilled in Amber a respect for the Guild for Structural Integration (GSI). She completed her Advanced Five Series training with Emmett Hutchins. In addition to her teaching at UCMT, she has gained extensive experience serving on the GSI faculty in Kauai, Hawaii, and Boulder Colorado.
Amber’s approach to Structural Integration comes from the basic principle that the human body is a self-healing organism. When all the parts of the body fit together, move freely and are functioning properly, then health and well being become our natural state instead of pain and discomfort.
Whether she is helping someone with chronic pain or helping athletes increase their performance, this basic principle is the underlying foundation for all of her work.
Amber continually enjoys working the intelligence of Ida’s ten session system while keeping each individual’s goals and concerns in hand to create a unique experience.
When she is not practicing bodywork Amber enjoys laughing with family and friends, traveling, and spending time with her three pugs.
As the oldest of six and having grown up in a military family where travel, changing schools and being exposed to the differences of both people and places were a constant, it was only fitting that Stacy Jenkins pursued education to continue life-long learning for herself and to educate others. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Western Washington University and taught for 10 years in grades 3 and 4 within public and private 501c(3) non-profit schools while continually serving on Parent Teacher Associations and Board of Directors for a variety of public schools and non-profits. After having children, Stacy left the formal education setting to focus on her own family, which naturally led to homeschooling her two girls while always staying active and engaged in the field of academics. She and her husband have recently relocated to Salt Lake City to share their love of the mountains and desert with their girls. The move has allowed their girls to attend one of Salt Lake’s great schools, freeing Stacy to dedicate her time and talents to the Guild. With a sister and friends who practice Dr. Rolf’s Method of Structural Integration, she has received and believes in the work and is excited to help preserve and promote the legacy.
Elisa Jane Noel
Board President & Instructor
Elisa graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Weber State University. Through her tenure in physical education, Elisa has developed a thriving sports and wellness based career – including teaching a variety of physical education courses for her alma mater at Southern Illinois, working as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and conditioning coach for the Women’s Basketball program at Salt Lake Community College.
In 2006 Elisa attended Utah College of Massage Therapy and became a Licensed Massage Therapist. Shortly after, in 2007, Elisa attended the Guild for Structural Integration (GSI) to become a Certified Structural Integration Practitioner. In 2009 Elisa studied again under renowned Emmett Hutchins, earning her Advanced Structural Integration certificate.
While developing a substantive massage therapy and Structural Integration clientele, Elisa has continued in her passion for teaching. In addition to her extensive background in sports and fitness education, Elisa has assisted Basic 10-Series classes, Advanced Training and a wide variety of continuing education workshops. She continues to engage her scientific background in research based writing, the development of continuing education courses, and the creation of cadaver based dissection courses. Elisa looks forward to developing curriculum and incorporating Functional Fitness movement based exercises to support her clients and students at Center For Length. The combination of Elisa’s passion, knowledge and education positions her as a natural and respected leader in the Structural Integration community.