Dr. Louis SChultz, In Memoriam 

Dr. Louis Schultz was a teacher for over 50 years including classes in Biology, Embryology, Endocrinology, Physiology, and Anatomy. He was an Advanced Certified Rolfer Emeritus, a Rolf Movement Practitioner, and an emeritus member of the Life Science Faculty of the Rolf Institute. Louis studied and taught with Dr. Ida P. Rolf from 1973 to 1978. His basic Rolfing training was in 1973 and in 1976 he did his advanced training with Dr. Rolf. He trained in Structural Patterning with Judith Aston from 1974-1976. He founded the Anatomy Program of the Rolf Institute in 1974 and has presented Rolfing-Related Workshops in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Italy, England, Brazil, and Australia.

He received his PhD in Physiology from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to becoming a Rolfer he was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Human Biology at the University of Colorado Dental School.

Louis authored nearly fifty scientific publications and wrote two authoritative books on the science and techniques of Rolfing including Out in the Open: The Complete Male Pelvis, and (co-authored with Dr. Rosemary Feitis) The Endless Web: Fascial Anatomy and Physical Reality.  Louis and Dr. Rosemary Feitis also co-edited Remembering Ida Rolf.

If you have a special remembrance of Louis that you would like to share on this memorial page, please contact Marcelo at marcelo@villagerolfing.com.


The following remembrances originally appeared in Structural Integration Magazine, The Journal of the Rolf Institute:

On December 1st, a couple of weeks after his eightieth birthday, my friend and colleague Louis Schultz died. He had been in failing health for some time - lung problems from years of smoking as well as problems connected to his neck, which resulted in weakness in his legs. He was strong – good Norwegian (maybe Viking?) stock, but eventually there were too many burdens. He lived his life on his own terms, going forward, not complaining or repining. I miss him; many of us in the Rolfing® community will miss him.

Louis had a greater intellectual influence on Rolfing and the functioning of the Rolf Institute® than perhaps even he realized. He was an embryologist by training - a researcher and teacher. He brought that rigorous mode of thinking to Rolfing, specifically to the teaching of anatomy for Certified Rolfers™.

Ida Rolf knew a good thing when she saw it. She asked Louis to create an anatomy training appropriate for new Rolfers and her did so. He emphasized the role of connective tissue in the physical changes of Rolfing. He was adamant that “muscle anatomy” was not an accurate picture of the body that Rolfers were working with. Bone and muscle anatomy were useful as landmarks but they did not give the most precise picture. It was a new view of anatomy, and Louis taught it to all in that “first generation” of Rolfers. And then he trained some of them to understand and teach what he was teaching - the first generation of Rolfing anatomy teachers. That was in the 1970s.

Our book, The Endless Web: Fascial Anatomy and Physical Reality, was born out of Louis’ ever-expanding insight into the role of connective tissue in the often surprising changes brought about by Rolfing. There were cognitive and emotional changes that apparently were based in memories lodged in tissue. As the tissue changed, the memories emerged into consciousness and often dissipated. In addition, Louis saw that there were ways in which the body re-sculpted itself, creating bands like buttresses in response to stress and misalignment. These bands were described in the book. The drawings and photographs documenting the bands are still startling, still new.

Out in the Open was written out of Louis’ abiding interest in all aspects of human function and out of his feeling that no part of human experience should be shunned. The book brought him a population of clients who often felt there was no other place to take their difficulties.

In his later years, Louis continued to teach in the U.S. and overseas. He liked meeting and talking with each new generation of Rolfers, offering them his point of view and discussing their problems and insights. He was a natural teacher, easygoing yet precise about what he wanted to convey. He inspired affection and loyalty. As I said, I’ll miss him - his sly sense of humor, his offbeat slant on things, his good heart.
— Rosemary Feitis

Louis Schultz was a very bright man, an independent thinker whose mischievous (and occasionally wicked) sense of humor blended well with his kindness and innately gentle nature. His contributions to our work over the past decades are more important and enduring than is generally known.

He was the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration’s® first instructor of anatomy, which is how I first encountered him. The lead-in class he taught was relaxed but thorough, and he helped us find the knowledge we sorely needed as we prepared to do the hands-on work we’d previously only observed. Even more important, though it was years before I realized it, he offered us an intellectual context to use in ordering and appreciating the world of experiences we would encounter in our practices. Though
anatomy is an efficient language for helping students map some of the territory of Rolfing, Ida Rolf and Louis continually reminded us: “The map is not the territory.” Louis prodded us to look beyond the incompleteness of classical anatomy and work toward knowledge of the complexity of living anatomy, especially the continuity of the connective tissues that contain and relate muscles, bones, organs and nerves. Happily, he saw his ideas affirmed at last October’s Fascia Research Congress.

With a deft combination of expertise and playfulness, Louis drew on his research in embryology to help us recognize the fascial elements that are the medium of our art, showing us a body that was warm and flexible, quite different from the vacant, cold cadavers of our anatomy books. He brought into focus a body that was continually responding to the impetus of emotional and existential events as well as to physical forces. One very striking suggestion he offered was that just as we develop in utero as embryos, when we’re born we simply move our continuing development out into a much vaster container, the wide world. These ideas, coupled with Ida Rolf’s advice, “If you really want to understand this work, every time you work with a person, ask yourself how he or she got this way”, have been immensely influential in my work to understanding Rolfing®.

Years later, during Rolfing classes in Boulder, Munich, and Adelaide, Australia, I saw a lot more of Louis’ students light up with that “Aha!” that made the work so much more accessible. I also enjoyed getting to know him much better as a colleague and friend. My late wife Janie and I loved having the opportunity to explore new territories together and it was immediately obvious that Louis was eager to join us, so when the three of us had the luck to be sent to teach the anatomy (Louis), movement (Janie) and manipulative (me) portions of the same classes, we sought out the best museums, hiking trails, shops, beaches and wineries we could find. Just as in his classes, there was never a lack of highly animated conversation or of laughter.

Rolfing® was as much a part of Louis as his bones. He was always ready to help whether students, colleagues, or exhausted emergency providers between shifts at “ground zero” right after 9/11. Fortunately, though he’ll be missed, we still have the lasting help of those fine books he and Rosemary Feitis wrote. I recommend them to you.
— Nicholas French

In my mind, Louis still sits in his apartment on 11th Street in his beloved Greenwich Village. I’ve just finished a great mystery that I want to share with him, and I know he has several to trade with me, so a dinner is in order; maybe a short walk to the Elephant and Castle, a light dinner, a glass of wine, and always a shared dessert, and maybe just a touch of gossip.

I look at him and admire him for the way he gets through the rough twists and turns of his physical life. He never complains, always seems to enjoy himself, always works things out, and always looks forward to the next interesting event. He has gathered around himself people who care about him and care for him.

Good job, Louis. Good life, well lived. Now about that last mystery you gave to me...
— Dorothy Hunter

The following remembrances originally appeared in The Guild for Structural Integration Magazine:

If Ida was the face that launched a thousand elbows, Louis was the voice that launched a thousand anatomy geeks - and I am definitely one of them! After his four day Anatomy class - optional in 1974 when I started training - I was hooked, and everything that has flowed to and fro in my
travels was birthed in the curiosity and wonder that he created in that wide sandbox of his mind and heart.

Generous, kind, open, pragmatic and true to himself, Louis Schultz was an inspiration to us all.
— Tom Myers

Few people realize the contributions towards the development of SI Richard Louis Schultz made in the seminal 70’s and throughout the years. Louis was the first anatomist for SI classes, as well as a Rolfer and Structural Patterner. He was central to the development of the movement work. A great author, mentor, practitioner, teacher, and guide. He fostered talent whenever he could, and made himself available to the SI community. He was my friend for 33 years, and I could always call him for information, help, and camaraderie. I remember going for my first selection interview at the RI in 1975. Thirteen people were on the committee, and the only one I knew was Louis, who sat in the back of the room, looking out the window. The interview was brief, as he had already done his work of opening the hearts and minds of the committee. That was Louis. He will be missed by all.
— David Davis
I went to New York City in November to attend Louis’ and Rosemary Feitis’ birthday party. That morning Louis had just returned from the hospital with pneumonia. He was on oxygen from his emphysema and it was difficult for him to put on a happy face to hide his struggle. Louis spoke of his compassion for Dr. Rolf’s struggle in her eighties. He talked about his lifestyle choices of smoking and diet with no regret.

I worked on him for hours that weekend talking, sharing, crying, and got a wonderful opportunity to say “thank you” for everything, and for making my journey easier, wiser, and a whole new depth. Louis gave me confidence after he watched me struggle teaching my first anatomy class. He was always my mentor. The hundreds of hours we spent together in classes, with five years of dissections, have immeasurably shaped my life. It seemed appropriate that his battle with his health had come to an end. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
— Ron Thompson

I met Louis back in the early 70’s. He had the aplomb of a professor and the heart of a king. I remember his many letters to the Rolf Institute Board in coordinating a New York Rolf School. His charm, along with Rosemary’s intellect, forged the establishment of a New York class. Patrick Clough and I taught it, and to this day I thank both of them for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their dream. Louis was a sensitive and determined individual in our early community of practitioners. His work and writings continue to offer many of us inspiration. His life, like his passing, was gracious and complete.

Fare thee well, good man. Fare thee well.
— Love, Neal Powers

Louis (Richard) Schultz inspired so many people with his teachings. He trained in the movement work I taught (early 1970’s). I loved having the chance to see him at the IASI symposium and told him how pleased I was to have shared this journey. Over the two conventions Louis was very pleased to have had so many people express their gratitude to him. Thank You, Louis.
— Judith Aston


I hate it that my Rolf community friends are dying and leaving this physical plane. Louis was kind, loyal, a constant presence, a good teacher and a creative anatomist. It will be hard to think of the Rolf community without him. We had some time together at the Boston Conference, and I am very grateful that he made the effort to be there. I did not make it to his birthday party, but he was determined to be there - even if he had to get out of the hospital to go. That’s Louis for you. I loved him and I will miss him.
— Love, Annie Duggan

December 1, 2007. It is a sunny day, the winds are very strong and cold. Louis Schultz left his physical body early this morning.

For the last few days his cousin, Tom Groenfeldt, and I stayed by his side and held his hands, ever watchful of his dreamy demeanor and tired eyes. Sometimes he spoke of how fulfilling his life was, or we’d reminisce of funny moments and stories, affirming our mutual love. And sometimes we simply enjoyed the companionable silence.

When we first met in 1993, I was a young professional dancer searching to expand my self expression and trying to find a balance in my life that I felt was lacking. Louis introduced me to the first 10 Rolfing sessions, and I found that the work transcended my mere physicality. I had no way of knowing it then, but that would mark the beginning of our relationship as student and teacher, eventual business partners, and for the rest of his life, my mentor and close friend.

Louis possessed a profound knowledge of the human body and its development. He was a teacher of biology, endocrinology, physiology, anatomy, and of course, Rolfing. Our sessions inspired me to a life change, I was hooked, and I wanted to know all that he knew. It was decided that Louis would be my teacher. He would train me to become a practitioner of Structural Integration. His lessons were our daily project; the daily project became our way of living. I felt honored, humbled, and so fortunate for the opportunity to learn from one of Ida Rolf’s first generation of teachers. Louis’ dedication towards my schooling was extraordinary.

Louis generously embraced me into his New York City family - a very special network of Rolfing peers and companions - who, to this day, I have the privilege of calling my friends and loved ones.

In 1997, Louis needed an operation for a lifelong spinal birth defect, in hopes to prevent a multiplegic condition. The success was limited, and Rolfing helped him maintain some mobility for a few more years. Miraculously, he continued to work and we formed a working partnership - Village Rolfing, where, working side by side, I continued to learn from him.

His ability to teach and understand the fascial network’s effect on every aspect of a person’s life was a true blessing. His unique style of Rolfing, crossing joints with long strokes, his fascial anatomical precision, and his expertise of the pelvic region were remarkable. I will always remember his words. “You need to learn anatomy of the human body, in order to forget it”, and, “Trust your hands, and you will know where to go.”

Together we ran our practice, taught workshops in Europe and throughout the US, gave lectures in community centers, did volunteer work (Louis’ actions after 9/11 were tireless), and attended countless peer meeting and conferences.

Louis was a sincere bon vivant. He enjoyed good conversation (what an amazing listener he was!), a glass of wine in Greenwich Village with a friend, the arts, and people-watching wherever he traveled.

He was as strong-willed as he was wise. In all of our travels together he never allowed his physical impairments or ailments to stop him, rarely complaining of the pain that he clearly endured on a daily basis.

I will miss him. For the last fifteen years he has served as my mentor, my life anchor, and my most beloved friend. I will miss his companionship, his encouragement, his respect, and his constant care.

But for now in my mind, I will stay with the image of Louis floating on the Atlantic Ocean in Rio de Janeiro - holding him in my arms, because his own legs could no longer carry him... a modest token of my thanks for all he had given me, this was a moment I could give back to him... tears of happiness, laughter, and a smile lighting his face. This is a joyous memory.
— Marcelo Coutinho