Esalen®Massage was developed in 1962 at the beautiful Esalen® Institute in Big Sur, California. It seeks to stimulate the body’s own healing potential by shifting the nervous system from fight or flight to relax and restore.
Esalen® massage is a deeply soothing therapy that allows the client to sink deeply into the practitioners touch in order to create a heightened sense of body awareness, inviting a letting go of holding patterns. Deeper more specific work can be applied, but the focus is not on digging into the tissues.
The Esalen® practitioner ideally moves from head to toe, right to left and back again in a seamless dance, creating a sense of integrated body awareness. To create a seamless, integrative massage, multiple areas of the body are often worked simultaneously while always prioritizing the clients comfort and modesty. The style uses long, flowing strokes, gentle rocking and energetic pauses. There is an implicit honor for the clients breath and energy.
Esalen® massage never includes any type of sexual stimulation and strictly follows the Georgia Massage Therapy guidelines. In my practice, I never perform massage without draping.
“An Esalen® Massage is an inward journey rather than a therapeutic treatment. Through long strokes, a slow pace, and pauses, you are invited to return to your natural state of balance and alignment. Transformation occurs not through deep-tissue work but rather through an active participation between giver and receiver.” - The Esalen® Institute
Neuromuscular Therapy is a form of touch therapy that helps correct pain and dysfunction by treating trigger points, muscle adhesions, and fascial patterns. These trigger points, adhesions and fascial patterns can form due to a specific trauma, long standing postural patterns, or series of repetitive movements. NMT is not a full-body deep tissue massage. The therapy is concentrated and localized in a specific area.
Neuromuscular therapy does not rely on massive amounts pressure. Its effectiveness derives from the ability of the therapist to feel what’s happening with the tissue and apply poignant and nuanced pressure to just the right spot. It’s also important not to rush and to only work a specific area so that the tissues, trigger points and fascia have plenty of time to respond.
The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes this form of massage therapy as an effective treatment for back pain caused by soft tissue injury.
"Jennifer worked on me exclusively for over 14 years. She saw me for many years as a healthy client who adored massage, and then as a client going through tough cancer treatment needing her massage with a gentle touch. Jennifer was a huge part of bringing me and my life force back to health. When I decided to move to Charleston, I begged her to move there too. Her intuitive, beautiful bodywork is consistently amazing" - Signed a forever fan - JSW
Pregnancy massage is a wonderful way for a woman to nourish her own body during pregnancy. Studies have demonstrated a host of benefits including:
• A decrease in anxiety
• Improved ability to sleep
• Lower levels of stress hormones such as norepinephrine
• Reduction in pain in the back and legs
• Increases in hormones related to mood improvement such as dopamine and serotonin
• Reduced levels of cortisol
• Improved mood and energy
• Improved immune system response
• Reduced swelling, particularly in the joints
• Reduction of nerve pain associated with sciatica
• Lowered levels of muscular tension
• Relief from headaches
• Better oxygenation of muscles and soft tissues
Devoting time for regular appointments thru the course of pregnancy increases these benefits.
How Prenatal Massage Differs From Regular Massage
Pregnancy massage is performed with the client lying on their side. Obviously, there will be a point when it’s no longer comfortable, relaxing or beneficial to lay on the stomach. Lying on the back for long stretches is also not advised as it puts pressure on the Vena Cava. Side lying massage, however, is a wonderful way to receive therapeutic touch.
Deep tissue massage, which increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, is contraindicated during pregnancy. Pregnant women are, unfortunately, 5 times more likely to develop DVT. Therefore, the focus is more on moving circulation/lymph and creating a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. Superficial lymphatic drainage and gentler styles of massage are great ways to alleviate edema, swelling and discomfort. Some deeper pressure can, however, be used on the low back, shoulders and hips. Coincidentally, women should not be massaged on the abdomen as it can lead to placental or uterine rupture; both critical conditions.