Esalen Massage

Origin of esalen massage

The origin

Esalen Institute is located in a paradisiacal spot on the California coast. The site is within the Big Sur Natural Park, about three hours south of San Francisco, and is a fantastic 11-hectare estate, with the Pacific Ocean on one side and a mountain range on the other.

Esalen Institute was founded by two Stanford students: Michael Murphy and Dick Price in the early sixties, and was born as a reaction to the prevailing academic dogmatism of the time. In Murphy’s own words, “It is a learning organization dedicated to the ongoing exploration of human potential”. The founding members counted on an important network of collaborators to be able to move their project forward, among them the following stand out: Fritz Perls (Gestalt Therapy), Aldoux Huxley, Allan Watts, Stanislav Grof (Holotropic Breathwork), Moshe Feldenkrais, Ida Rolf (Rolfing), Gabrielle Roth (5Rhythms), Claudio Naranjo (Transpersonal Therapy).

The Esalen Massage

As a result of the creative intensity experienced by the Esalen Institute at that time, the Esalen massage was created, and it was precisely the Gestalt psychologists, such as Fritz Perls and Dick Price, who developed this type of massage as another tool in their therapies.

With the passage of time, Esalen massage followed a different path to that of Gestalt psychology, and became a massage technique practiced all over the world, although in its essence it still respects the philosophy and the way of understanding the person of Gestalt psychology.

It is believed that the creators of this technique were strongly influenced by the constant roar of the waves of the Pacific Ocean on the cliffs of the farm where the Institute is located. This swaying of the sea was, little by little, polishing the way of working of those pioneers, making their hands move with exquisite fluidity, subtlety and beauty, leading them to make a smooth and rounded work, full of an infinite number of details, and in which the common denominator is love.

This careful and detailed massage technique reaches us today, thanks to the work of professionals who continue to preserve this way of working, this way of understanding the person as a whole, as does the Gestalt psychology.

I transcribe the text of one of the flyers I found in the massage area of the Esalen Institute: “The Esalen massage consists of a wide variety of manipulations, kneading, tractions, stretching, twisting, pressure, etc., but what constitutes its essence are the long movements, pressure and special rhythm. All of which produces a sensation of waves or caresses that plunges the patient into a state in which he or she “forgets everything“.

There is little left to say after this magnificent description. Perhaps I should emphasize the strong influence that the location of the Institute itself had on the development of the “Esalen Massage” (Registered Trademark).


The Esalen certification

Why do the Esalen International Certification in Massage?

There is a natural instance in which we want to know more, to know more subtle aspects, to deepen our talent, to be and feel beyond what we know. For this reason, every year we offer the International Certification in Esalen Massage.

In a paradisiacal place, accompanied by the teachers and your peers, you will develop and discover the most intimate sensibility of your being. During this wonderful experience you will be able to share, experiment and learn in a safe environment. You will be part of a like-minded community that will accompany you on your journey.

Having the opportunity to live this experience is a gift for the evolution of your being.