Our body is the home of our spirit and as such, it reflects all our joys, sorrows, feelings, stress… everything that goes through our mind is somehow reflected in our body.
The Californian Massage helps you to keep all those positive impressions that have happened in your life and to eliminate little by little the negative ones, that many times are translated in contractures, muscular pains, articular and other times in illness.
Where does this massage come from?
Californian Massage was created at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, in the 1960s. The Esalen Institute emerged as a center of the Human Potential Movement dedicated to research and development of techniques oriented to health and psychophysical well-being. Great masters such as Fritz Perls (creator of Gestalt Therapy), Milton Trager (Trager Method), Ida Rolf (Rolfing or Structural Integration), Stanislav Grof (Transpersonal Psychology), Gabrielle Roth (The 5 Rhythms of Gabrielle Roth) and Moshé Feldenkrais (Feldenkrais Method), among others, worked on it, who introduced their knowledge within the Californian Massage, resulting in a highly relaxing massage of fluid and enveloping movements that prepare the body for a more thorough, more detailed and deeper work, depending on the needs of each person. To all this is added the awakening of sensory awareness, knowledge of oriental medicine, meditation, gestalt psychology … resulting in a unique massage for the giver and for the recipient, fully customized and depending on how the person on the table is.
What is a Californian Massage session like?
When you enter the massage room there is a clean, calm atmosphere, relaxing and harmonious music, candlelight, a salt lamp and the smell of incense. The massage table prepared to receive a body in need of contact, of relaxation, to receive a mind in need of disconnection… everything prepared with the utmost care and attention, without missing a detail, so that the person who is going to receive the massage feels comfortable, cared for, pampered…
When the door closes, a world opens up to the here and now, to the present. We have an hour and a half ahead of us to forget what we have been doing and forget what we are going to do next. An hour and a half to disconnect from the mind, to meditate, to become aware of our body and our state, to let ourselves feel and abandon ourselves to respectful hands that are characterized by an unsurpassed quality of contact, by a conscious and warm touch.
Once the person is on the stretcher, the work on the body begins. The hands are not yet in contact with him, they are separated by a warm sheet that welcomes the person, that wraps him, and little by little with the contact of my hands I ask permission to the body to be able to touch it, to take care of it and to work on it, preparing the body for the subsequent work. Masseuse and client breathe deeply for the entire duration of the massage. Breathing is an important key in the Californian Massage, it helps us to relax, to release the muscles and to disconnect the mind from its thoughts, it helps us to focus on the here and now.
We proceed to uncover the person with care and respect, always leaving the intimate part hidden under the sheet, and begin to take care of the body with almond oil, gradually creating the “Californian wave”. This wave is created with long, fluid and enveloping movements, considering the body as a whole. The body is treated as a whole, as a continuity, the feet continue into the legs, the legs continue into the hips, the hips into the back, the back into the shoulders, the neck, the head, the arms, the hands… Thus the wave is created, the “Californian wave”, running through the body as the waves run through the sea until they reach the shore. The conscious touch, the presence, the sensitivity as a masseuse and the contact with the person gives me the key to know where my hands should flow, how they should dance with the body.
The hands stop in those places where they detect a blockage, there where the tension resides, with a thorough work, at a deeper level and with a lot of listening, the tension is released little by little…
In a massage you can do stretching, twisting, kneading, hammering, trigger points… all combined with long and fluid movements to integrate the body as a whole; an endless number of maneuvers that help the body and mind to reposition, relax, release tension and let the energy flow inside. Without leaving aside moments of stillness, so important and necessary in massage.
Once the massage is finished on one part of the body (supine or pronated), the person is accompanied to become aware of what he/she has felt by wrapping the sheet around him/her again, wrapping him/her with love and allowing time to place the feelings that have had the privilege of surfacing. When ready, the person is asked to change position, always tucked in and accompanied by the masseuse to continue the work and proceed to integrate the rest of the body in the same way as before.
Before concluding the massage, the person is warned that the massage is finished; with small pressures on the sheet, once the person is tucked in and settled, I gradually separate until my hands are resting on their body, transmitting peace, love, tranquility, accompaniment, containment?
Again, we allow time for the person to become aware of what they have perceived, time for them to gradually come out of their meditative state.
After the massage the person is welcomed, and with all respect I listen to their impressions and feelings and we share a very enriching feedback for both of us.
These are some of the benefits of the Californian Massage:
- Reduces stress and promotes relaxation.
- Relieves muscle tension and joint pain.
- Increases joint mobility and flexibility.
- Relaxes muscle spasms and cramps.
- Increases blood circulation and improves venous return.
- It helps to stabilize hormones, calming anxieties and depressions.
- Increases the elimination of toxins through the skin.
- Exercise deep breathing.
- Increases mental clarity.
- Increases body awareness.
- Stimulates the senses.
- Helps to release unexpressed emotions.
- It helps and accompanies the process of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.
To conclude, we must keep in mind that when massage is used to improve circulatory function, relieve or reduce pain, optimize sensory awareness, provide human support, relaxation and well-being, and thus aid in the recovery and maintenance of health, it becomes, even unintentionally, a therapeutic act.
Although relaxation is one of the effects of massage, the main objective of Californian Massage is to increase body awareness through conscious touch, breath and presence.
Dedicating time to oneself and taking care of the body helps us to harmonize the whole body and relax the mind.
Begoña Fuster Molines.
Article published in the October issue of Espacio Humano Magazine.