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Massage > Learning Massage

Massage is the world's oldest healing art stemming from when we bump ourselves, with a little rubbing the ouch is often quickly alleviated. It is because massage has been a part of human history extending back beyond any recording that it is considered an instinctive gift that everyone contains.

There are thousands of different massage schools around the world that teach ways of rubbing and pressing into the body to affect the release of stresses and discomfort, and to improve the sense of comfort and function.

Because massage has been an important part of human history for a long time, there is a vast treasure of anecdotal and scientific evidence that supports most claims made about massage. So there is no doubt that massage when performed properly will have beneficial effects for the receiver and may also include beneficial effects for the person giving.

So how do you learn?

One of the best ways is to massage yourself. In fact you probably do a little self massage every day. Every time you wash your face, your hands or any body part you are rubbing the body with the intent primarily of cleaning, but the rubbing effect also stimulates the tissues underneath the skin.

Many people when they wash their face or their hair find the feeling is so nice that they will rub a little more than is absolutely necessary to complete the task and you can extend those basic touching and rubbing strokes everywhere on your body that you can reach in order to understand what feels nice.

Self massage of the head, face hands and feet is commonly practised all around the world, but when it comes to massaging someone else you can simply begin with what you know feels nice being done to yourself. This means that some of your rubbing and pressing techniques will be limited to the parts of the body that you are familiar with touching and this can be extended by reading a book or taking a course.

There are thousands of books on how to massage and many people have the academic skills to translate the theory and instruction into movements on someone else's body. Now days with the phenomenal growth of youtube, there are hundreds of thousands of massage videos that can be watched and copied.

When it comes to books and videos in the public domain, the quality and integrity of the massage you are learning is often something of a lucky dip. You may select a good book or a good set of video instructions which will work well for your intended purpose, but there is always a possibility that some public domain materials will convey unsafe or even damaging techniques, or you may not completely understand them and apply them wrongly.

Therefore, it is a very good idea that if at all possible you take the time to attend classes in person. Any organisation that teaches massage should first cover everything you need to know in terms of health and safety because when you are touching and pressing on someone else's body, even though they might appear healthy there is no guarantee that they are.

There are scores of massage institutions that teach massage in a way that supports people's limitations and suffering, but there are some institutions that teach massage as a holistic science which supports healing on many levels beyond just a simple muscle rub.

Unfortunately today, most massage therapy and most massage institutions support and promote limitation and only a few schools teach from a truly holistic perspective. Therefore you have a choice, you can learn massage that supports limitation and bondage in suffering or you can learn to massage that sets people free.

If you would like to indulge in massage simply for the simple relief of stress and the sharing of pleasure, you are well served by books and videos while attending mainstream American style massage institutions that are governed by laws that prohibit massage from being used as a full-fledged healing art.

But if you would like to be effective in not only relieving day-to-day stressors, but also helping individuals to become more self-aware and responsible members of society, you must seek out a school that offers that holistic perspective.

How are classes structured?

Every school has a slightly different approach, but generally there will be a classroom set up with several tables. The class participants will be required to partially undress and the students will practice on each other. Some people who are shy are a little fearful of this, however there is rarely any full nudity and one's private parts are well covered. Typically in class, the tutor will explain the theory then demonstrate massage techniques which the students then practice on each other. The students would also receive support and correction as required.

Within the USA the closest people may come to the holistic perspective is the Esalen Institute in California and a few highly educated and skilled individuals who may teach privately.

Holistic schools are very few and far between, but there is a small school in Christchurch New Zealand where individuals and small groups are taken on human journeys. The actual hands-on massage techniques are similar to all schools, but what is different is the holistic perspective and the evolutionary path that massage can be a part of.

For people living anywhere in the world, the Holistic Bodywork Manuals (Website) are an online guide to holistic bodywork, but for those who are able to travel and be in Christchurch for a few days or a few weeks, there are many comprehensive learning options at The Quiet Mind Body Shop in Christchurch, New Zealand, Website.


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