Fritz Smith, Developer of Zero Balancing, Passes Away at 94

Fritz Smith, developer of Zero Balancing, passed away at 94.

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Fritz Smith, MD, founder of Zero Balancing. Just days ahead of celebrating his 95th birthday with friends and colleagues, Dr. Smith suffered a heart attack in his California home on Tuesday, May 7.

Smith was a bodywork pioneer who described his work as a hands-on, body-mind system of therapy that integrates body structure and body energy. Smith trained with Ida Rolf and many others during his exploration into the work that would eventually become Zero Balancing.

Smith’s friend and colleague David Lauterstein, who also wrote a biography of Smith, reported the news of his mentor’s death on Facebook:

“I have known and studied Zero Balancing with Fritz since 1983 . . . He immediately impressed me with his gracious nature. He was another interested explorer of the body, mind, and spirit realm. After becoming a doctor of osteopathy, he went on to become one of the first certified Rolfers, then got his masters in acupuncture with J. R. Worsley in England. He also studied with Swami Muktananda—from each teacher he was able to deepen his practice and theory until it manifested in the early 1970s as Zero Balancing . . . Fritz Smith has been a healing influence on many thousands of people. He was one of the kindest, friendliest, and most inspiring teachers. We will miss him but even more will appreciate the positive impact he has had on the world of body-mind work through everyone he touched and taught. We will mourn him now and celebrate him for all our lives.”

According to a message sent by the Zero Balancing Association board to its community, at the time of his passing, Smith was excited to start work on future projects and was still engaging with students: “On Monday, Dr. Smith zoomed into the Art of ZB [Zero Balancing] class and spoke with each of the 30 students, looking his radiant self. He moved all the way to the very end of his life with vitality and grace; a beautiful example of, and testament to, the power of Zero Balancing. Please put Fritz in your prayers. And celebrate the gift of Zero Balancing and this community that he founded. And all the ways we have each been touched and enriched by it.”

Smith had great hope that his work could find even deeper purpose, beyond the benefit of an individual’s therapeutic relief. “Developing Zero Balancing many years ago, I had no idea where it was going to go,” Smith said in 2019. “It started out as a biomechanical system that was very good at stopping pain and helping function. But now I’m seeing it as a holistic system. I think it is a therapy that really belongs in this world because it helps a person become awake and break away from their old habitual patterns toward self-actualization.

“There is a movement in the culture to raise the consciousness of the world. I think Zero Balancing is totally in accord with that movement. I think, and hope, Zero Balancing will contribute to a future in which we see a higher level of healing and self-actualization—not just for individuals, but for our whole world.”1

Note (and further reading)

1. David Lauterstein, “Zero Balancing: A Conversation with its Founder Fritz Smith, MD,” Massage & Bodywork 34, no. 5 (September-October 2019): 84–89,



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