Big Sur, on the northern California coastline, is a place of stunning natural beauty and an appropriate location for the Esalen Institute. The non-profit Esalen Institute is oriented toward the development of human potential. Many luminaries have gathered at Esalen to explore innovative ways of thinking and being that include the arts, the body, the spirit, the essence of the individual and of the community. The center currently acts like a retreat and offers a wide selection of alternative classes and experiences ranging from yoga, massage, and meditation through art, music, and more.
Esalen massage is focused on being fully present (both the practitioner and the client), with an open heart acceptance and awareness of each other, and working together with intention. The massage style uses long, connected strokes somewhat reminiscent to the ongoing audible presence of the ocean turf, like nature’s heartbeat moving in rhythm with expert hands. According to Charles Tuchtan’s book Foundations of Massage, touch was integral to Esalen’s philosophy of the interconnections of mind, body, and spirit, making it a perfect platform for the launch of the massage expertise and practices of Ida Rolf and Moshe Feldenkrais.
The benefits of an Esalen massage include: stress and wellness management; tension release; health renewal and a reinvigorated sense of vigor; the release of emotions; sensory awareness; an awakening of the mind; a renewal of connectivity with nature; a regained sense of harmony, reverence, and balance; an empowered learning of the meaning of safe touch and an awakening of the inner resources of personal healing and growth.
Other benefits include: activation of the immune system by stimulating the skin and tissues, reduction in headaches, reduction in eye strain, removal of tension in the neck and shoulders, improving sleep disorders, rebalancing and realigning the body with a calm and soothing effect.
Esalen massage is based on classic Swedish massage, and in addition to Esalen specific benefits the massage technique also provides all of the benefits of Swedish massage. These include such things as increasing circulation and lymph fluids, relaxing overextended muscles, improving recovery time and outcomes from surgery, reducing spasms and cramps, releasing nature’s pain killers (endorphins), improving range of motion, assisting with shortening labor for expectant mothers and more.
Patricia Benjamin’s 2002 article published in Massage Therapy Journal notes that in the 1960s, Esalen massage turned the mainstream on to massage. To some extent, the popularity of modern massage in America can be traced back to the counterculture movement and inspired idealism of Esalen’s early practitioners and founders. By believing that touch was important, perhaps essential to health, Esalen was at the forefront of the human potential movement. The greatest benefit of Esalen massage is that, today, in almost any city in America, a good massage can be enjoyed.
This article was supplied by Mallory from Constant Content.