Esalen Massage

Information on Esalen Massage

Information on Esalen Massage

Definition of Esalen Massage

Esalen massage is a form of relaxation massage that has incorporated many techniques of other massage styles over the years. Many describe it as a slower, gentler form of Swedish massage, but Esalen practitioners also use techniques commonly found in Acupuncture, Feldenkrais, Craniosacral Therapy, Deep Tissue, Shiatsu and Thai Massage. A true definition of the style requires more than just a description of the types of strokes, since many believe that the philosophy is just as important. Esalen massage requires that the practitioner develop an intuition about what the client needs, based upon monitoring breathing rhythms and other subtle physical cues. Because of this connection, both the client and practitioner often report a heightened sense of awareness during a session. Esalen massages are often performed outside, within earshot of the ocean, providing a gentle rhythm that guides both the client’s breathing and the practitioner’s strokes.

How Does Esalen Massage Work?

Since there are such a wide variety of styles and techniques to choose from, Esalen Massage can vary greatly from one practitioner to another. Each client is different in their specific needs as well, making the Esalen experience as dynamic as the tides that guide it. Because of this less structured approach to the massage process, the client is often encouraged to relate their preferences to the practitioner. All of these aspects of Esalen massage, when combined, ensure that the client receives a very personalized regimen that is designed to address their specific needs.

How to Perform Esalen Massage: Tips and Techniques

  1. Warm up the affected tissue before beginning the massage. Heat packs or hot showers are recommended, but gentle compressions with the heel of the hand can also be an effective warm-up method.
  2. Knowledge is power. Because so many types of massage strokes are incorporated into the Esalen style, you are free to learn techniques that work best for you in order to build your own unique style.
  3. Pay attention to your own breathing and level of relaxation in order to better understand how it affects the client. Because of the connection that develops during an Esalen massage, you must learn to be as relaxed as your clients.
  4. In the case of serious illness, be sure to recommend that the patient visit a doctor in addition to their regular massage treatments. Esalen Massage should be complementary to other medical treatments, not a replacement for them.
  5. During treatment, look for subtle, nonverbal cues that the patient may give in response to pain stimuli. Some patients will attempt to hold back from vocalizing the pain, which may cause you to miss problem areas.
  6. Ask the patient to drink plenty of water, both before and after the treatment to aid in the flushing of toxin from the body. Without proper hydration, the released toxins will have no way of leaving the body.

Is Esalen Massage Safe?

Because Esalen Massage incorporates many different styles of massage, it is important to check for any contraindications that may exist for the strokes that you plan to use. People with some conditions, such as osteoporosis, open wounds, infections, broken bones, blood clots, bleeding disorders, food poisoning or heart conditions should generally avoid most types of massage.

Benefits of Esalen Massage

The benefits of Esalen massage depend almost entirely on the style of the practitioner. Someone using a combination of Swedish massage and Feldenkrais might see have their clients report relief from muscular tension, improvement in circulation and immune system function,  reduced levels of stress, greater ease and efficiency of movement, increased range of movement, improved control of the body, improved balance, and enhanced performance in sports, music, dance, and daily activities. Another Esalen practitioner may wish to combine Shiatsu techniques with Neuromuscular therapy in order to help patients who have problems with Headaches, Migraines, Scoliosis, TMJ, Whiplash, Herniated Disc Syndrome, Back Pain, Sciatica, Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, Hip Pain, Knee Pain, Foot Pain, Osteoarthritis, Plantar Fascitis, Torticollis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Shin Splints, Tendonitis, Muscle Spasms, Cramps and Strains, Postural Distortions, Fibromyalgia, Trigeminal Neuralgia or Post-Polio Syndrome. The versatility of the Esalen massage style gives both the client and the practitioner a wide range of options for treatment.

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