Esalen Healing Arts
Perched on the bluff above the ocean, and nestled beside the healing waters of Esalen’s renowned natural hot springs, a deeply nourishing massage experience was born on California's Big Sur Coastline.
In my experience with Lomi Lomi, having studied under Kahunas in both Hawaii and Germany, I can see similarities with this work when I first experienced and undertook training in Esalen massage. Emerging in the 70's from a movement of free thinkers, part of the Esalen allure is freedom and the outdoors - although it is equally wonderful indoors.
Pioneered at Esalen Institute in California, Esalen massage is a well-respected integration of bodywork and psychology. While nudity is often associated with Esalen, its purpose and requirements are often misunderstood.
A variation on conventional Swedish massage, but in my opinion, also borrowing from Lomi Lomi, Esalen Institute has trained bodyworkers in their unique, psycho-spiritual massage approach for several decades. While many valuable aspects of Esalen massage have been studied and incorporated into bodywork practices across the nation, one native element remains controversial – nudity. Although the clothing optional custom at Esalen Institute is believed to enhance participating individuals’ personal experiences, bringing this routine into the outside world of bodywork poses a great ethical challenge. I write more about this in the link below
Esalen Massage® is best described as the meeting and merging of form, energy, structure, and soul. With its nurturing contact, long strokes, and detailed attention to the whole body, an Esalen Massage provides a state of deep relaxation and healing. The strokes are long and slow and flowing. Gentle, graceful, nurturing. Much as Lomi Lomi has been modernly translated to mean "loving touch" it is the same for Esalen, which based on my training and experience, borrows heavily from Temple style Lomi - although this is not noted in the literature, it is easy for me to see and as well tracking the movements of the early developers / practitioners of what came to be known as Esalen - their time spent in Hawaii, how could it not influence them?
Early on Esalen was often practiced with the receiver being undraped, and at times the giver as well, owing to the naturist aspects of the Esalen Retreat Center, the massage area being proximate to the hot springs and the idea that often this massage was exchanged (in other words giver and receiver took turns). Cultural shifts have left this simple practice seeming to be out of place in the the US in the 2020s. It is not appropriate for most professional massage settings, there is a certain utopian quality to this that can be appreciated.
Like much of my work, it is designed to enhance awareness and balance and achieves therapeutic effects without deep-tissue techniques.
I am extremely pleased to be able to offer this healing experience to you on Martha's Vineyard. If you have experienced Esalen before, please let me know when you book, as we can go over the options best suited to you. Learn More
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A Really Good Massage Blog
I write about things that I myself need to be mindful of. ways in which I would like to improve. It is not from the perspective of preaching - but rather writing helps me work out what I myself need to do - we are all in this together.