Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2010

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reader forum WHAT YOU ARE SAYING Is Swedish Massage Dead? By Anne WilliAms Swedish Very Much Alive I just received my online edition of Massage & Bodywork magazine, and Anne Williams's article "Is Swedish Massage Dead?" [November/December 2009, page 36] immediately caught my eye. I wanted to express my appreciation for sharing the research and experiences. I've been having some similar soul searching—mine was triggered by some wonderful eight-hour workshops on Esalen massage basics. While Esalen massage is not Swedish, per se, it is very much based in Swedish technique, with emphasis on presence, slowing down, passive movements, and fl ow. I fi nd it as wonderful to give (almost) as to receive this modality, and I cannot practice it without going back to my Swedish roots. I've had my clients comment on the sense of well-being it gives them. Maybe I don't fi x every complaint they come in with, but I give them a session that perhaps replenishes and benefi ts them as a whole. And isn't that what massage is supposed to be—a holistic form of treatment? I do a lot of integrated massage. And more and more, I am reintegrating deep, slow, mindful Swedish strokes back into my routines. One client, who has been a regular for about four years, made a comment on how my work has evolved since I began working 36 massage & bodywork november/december 2009 connect with your colleagues on 37 A with him. He was so impressed with the full-body effl uerage strokes, and passive movements, that he offered to pay for his sessions a year in advance if it would help me continue to train in the Esalen tradition. My conclusion? Swedish massage is the mother of massage—it nurtures, cleanses, purifi es, and refreshes. How much healthier can it get? And how much better a foundation can any other style of bodywork have? I fi nd the fl uidity of strokes, in a natural progression, actually helps me live up to the motto of my practice: "It's about letting go." It enhances the body-mind connections, which enables the body to unclench and relax guarded muscles, which all the trigger-point therapy and myofascial release in the world won't do until the mind lets go, too. I suddenly feel very validated in standing my ground with the basics and letting those around me chase after their "specialties." REBECCA ADAMS NORTH WILKESBORO, NORTH CAROLINA good friend of mine came for a visit recently. He's a massage therapist and structural integrator who works on the East Coast. During his stay, we exchanged massages, and I noticed he didn't do any Swedish massage strokes. So, I asked him, "What's the deal?" "Swedish is dead," he said. I just fi nished reading "Is Swedish Massage Dead?" It was very thought-provoking and I agree that I have had to reexamine the way I give a "real" Swedish massage. After reading your article, it made me realize that even when I was in school taking a Massage 101 class, the routine was not entirely true Swedish massage. It was sprinkled with other modalities. TANYA SISSOYEV CHINO HILLS, CALIFORNIA I read your article in Massage & Bodywork magazine. I could not agree with you more. The art of Swedish massage is defi nitely on the decline. Here, in Baltimore, Maryland, I work in a Massage Envy and have a small private practice. While I still try to practice massage using Swedish principles, I do fi nd that some of the work I do connect with your colleagues on 13 Massage & Bodywork noveMBer/deceMBer 2009 swedish Massage aBMP.coM nurturing body, mind & spirit november/december 2009 Is Swedish Massage Dead? MASSAGE FOR ANIMALS THEIR NEED FOR TOUCH Hydrotherapy in Your Practice BUSINESS PLAN BASICS THE ESSENTIAL STEPS Isolated Stretching Discover Active Cover1_MNB_ND_09.indd 1 9/24/09 1:39:23 PM

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