Some people think of massage as being the brutal beating that is so often portrayed on television. But, in reality, it doesn’t have to be. In fact there is a type of massage that involves a gentle touching, rubbing and caressing and leaves the receiver feeling relaxed and comfortable. This is called Esalen Massage, and the technique was developed to improve circulation and body tone, to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Esalen Massage was popularized in the early 1960’s and 1970’s at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. The slow, flowing strokes produce a pleasurable, weightless feeling. A session usually lasts an hour and the masseuse will ask you to imagine the tension releasing from your shoulders. They may also encourage you to breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth in rhythm with their motions. They may play soothing background music or a recording of waves gently washing against the beach. All of this increases the feeling of well being and relaxation.
One of the major principles of Esalen Massage is the energy that is generated within your body and that of the masseuse. When these two energies are combined in harmony with each other the muscles have no choice but to relax. For instance, a great way to get rid of a head ache is to have one person rub their hands together creating a positive friction, then place one on your forehead, and one at the base of your skull. Have them hold their hands in that position while both of you breathe slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth. Both of you need to focus on only your breathing. Soon the headache will subside.
So, how can Esalen Massage help me in my relationships? Knowing some basic massage techniques can help you to feel closer to your partner. Being able to help them to relax in a very personal way will strengthen the bond between you. It will let your partner know that you feel their pain and want to help relieve it.
The Back Rub
The back is the area of most tension for a lot of people. My favorite massage is the back rub.
Have your partner take off all of their clothes and lay on their stomach, on the bed (this is more comfortable than the floor).
Straddle their body with your knees on the bed and their knees between yours. You can gently sit on their legs if you wish. Be sure you are facing toward their head.
Now, get the massage oil. This can be baby oil, massage oil, or even salad oil. I have some rose scented oil that works very nice for this. Put some oil in the palm of your hands, don’t worry about dripping, but also don’t just pour it on your partner, the stuff is cold. Rub your hands together to warm up the oil. Gently spread the oil all over the back.
Begin at the middle of the back; place your hands on either side of the spine with the fingers pointing upward. Lean forward using your weight to apply pressure as you glide your hands up along the small furrow on either side of the spine to the top of the shoulders. Don’t touch the spine itself.
Once you reach the shoulders massage the shoulders and shoulder blade by slowly moving your hands back and forth around the shoulder, using firm pressure. The make small circles along the same path using just your fingertips. Do this slowly and with strong pressure.
Next move slowly down to the middle of the back, keeping your hands on your partner the whole time. This touching heightens the experience and strengthens the bond between giver and receiver. Move your hands back and forth in along the sides of the back all the way to the hips. Be sure to keep firm pressure.
Continue this way back up to the shoulders again and back down to the hips.
Be sure to keep in mind that this is to be fun and relaxing. If it hurts, lighten your touch. The receiver must tell you if you are hurting them, or if you can press harder. By all means, experiment. Work with one another until you get a technique that works for you and makes both of you feel great at the end.
The best thing about massages is the wonderful feeling you get when you share them.