What is Esalen Massage®?

Published: Nov 16, 2020 | Updated: Jul 9, 2021

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What is Esalen Massage®?

Esalen Massage® was developed in the 1960s in California, at the Esalen Institute. It’s a holistic full-body massage treatment blending a broad range of massage techniques and modalities, such as Swedish Massage, sensory awareness training, Craniosacral therapy, Applied Kinesiology, Yoga, Tai Chi, Shiatsu, and Gestalt Awareness, among others.

The primary aim of Esalen Massage is to induce relaxation, integration of body and mind, and enhancing total body awareness. Typical with Esalen Massage is that the therapist applies long flowing strokes (using oils or creams as a glider) that travel from the top of the body all the way down, and back up again.

Massage techniques used include rocking, passive joint movement, stretching, deep tissue massage, acupressure, cranialsacral work, and energy work.

Another specific aspect of Esalen is that it’s highly intuitive, that is, the therapist doesn’t follow a fixed set of techniques or sequence but applies massage techniques and flow “as needed.”

Apart from deep relaxation, benefits include improved blood and lymph circulation, reduced blood pressure, relief of tension, anxiety and stress, and an improved digestion, flexibility and range of motion, among others.

Sessions are done on a massage table and usually take between an hour and an hour and a half.


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