Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2011

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ten for today BY REBECCA JONES ASIAN BODYWORK TRENDS 1. From energy work to exotic massage techniques, many traditional, Asian- born health practices are now attracting a generation of Western spa clients. In fact, "ancient" may well be the hottest trend in massage therapy today. Miami-based spa consultant Steve Capellini, author of Massage for Dummies (For Dummies, 2010) and The Complete Spa Book for Massage Therapists (Milady, 2009), among other titles, last year designed a series of treatments that combine a variety of Eastern and Western techniques, including Thai herbal balls, shiatsu, Hawaiian lomilomi, and Swedish strokes. Now this "Global Traditions Massage" is one of the most popular packages available at the upscale Spa at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, California. "It's certainly a trend in spas," says Capellini about incorporating Eastern techniques. He cautions, however, about the importance of ensuring that massage clients still receive a pleasurable experience. Whether you're interested in learning new skills to make yourself more marketable to a spa, or just want to expand your knowledge and incorporate some Eastern-inspired modalities into your existing practice, here are some things to ponder as you explore Asian bodywork. WHY WOULD A WESTERNER WANT TO EXPLORE ASIAN TECHNIQUES? "There's just a more transcendent feeling—an energistic feeling—about Eastern therapies," says Capellini, who trained in Thailand. "I think a lot of people in the massage world are artistic or creative or spiritual, and maybe less mechanical. Yet mostly what we learn in Western massage schools is mechanical technique." Tsy Schupack, a reiki instructor and co-owner of A Way of Wellness in Arvada, Colorado, points out that the integration of Eastern mind-body-spirit philosophy into the Western mainstream has already happened. "What hasn't been seen on Oprah?" she asks. Reiki, developed in the 1920s in Japan, doesn't actually involve massage at all, but rather is a form of energy work. Still, massage therapists flock to Schupack's classes. "If I had to pick one aspect that is most often mentioned by therapists during their training is that it just knocks their socks off to discover that energy can be used as a structural tool in their sessions," Schupack says. "And the one that brings tears to their eyes is when they say they never knew it was possible to feel so connected to themselves, others, and the work." 80 massage & bodywork january/february 2011

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