The Heart’s Evolution by DAVID LAUTERSTEIN

The Heart’s Evolution


by David Lauterstein

The current war and the events of 9/11 continue to be a clarion call. Perhaps the most important message is that the world has reached a new limit of how far we can proceed with only the education of the mind. Because as long as mental prowess is the main focus of our education, the heart is left behind. Abandoned, the undereducated heart remains comparatively barbaric. So while we think we are proceeding intelligently, we are actually sustaining comparatively ever-greater emotional lack of development. As long as unchecked mental emphasis dominates our education, we are in ever-increasing danger of barbaric action.

The unexamined desire for revenge remains in the heart of fundamentalists of all persuasion. Prejudice and genocide are imbedded in violent, revengeful counter attacks. Sexual hypocrisy, exposed throughout the Catholic priesthood, points to the contrasting sweetness and truth within most religious doctrines, alongside the sourness of, again and again, the failure to behave in concert with those ideals. Corporate greed for evermore income with little regard for ethics or social impact is certainly one of the taproots of heartless action – witness the Enron and WorldCom scandals. And real people suffer everyday from politicians’ allegiance to the self-interest of corporate profiteers – enabling, for example, politicians to deny global warming as a fact and not take action to assure a livable world for our descendants.

What do these point to? A group heart that is stunted! Is there any more desperate need than the education of the human heart?

It is said, “to be (a blues singer) you don’t have to play the guitar brilliantly or have a beautiful singing voice – blues singers don’t, as a rule – you have to be open enough about your emotions to make them important to whoever happens to be listening. The more direct the path from your heart to your fingers and throat, the better you are.” The corollary holds true for the kinds of education and touch we need, the more direct the path from one heart to another’s, the deeper the learning.

How do we educate the part of us beyond the mind? Well, my experience is that massage is possibly the best way. The experience of receiving and giving high quality touch is an experience that largely bypasses the thinking mind. High touch is direct and loving. It reminds us that there is a world out there and in here, with which we must reconnect. We are alive! This is such a fundamental miracle that it should give us occasion to pause in wonder each day. Of all the particles and waves in the universe how unlikely that they should coalesce in planetary life and equally in your own conscious, living breathing self!

To evoke the experience of this unlikely embodied soul with kindness and skill is the heart of massage therapy and teaching. When our students encounter the kindness and skill of our teachers, when they touch with clarity and compassion, we see again and again, a dramatic and rapid evolution. And most of the students say it with eyes wide with wonder – “Boy, everybody should learn this!!!” Convincing the hard-hearted with contrary opinions is just about impossible. But touching the hard-hearted (and we all have some of this hardening) and watch what often happens almost all at once. They begin to relax. They become more balanced in their nervous system, dropping out of the fight or flight response. They become more kind to themselves because they are being treated more kindly. They remember that the greatest gift is simply being alive. They drop the focus on acquiring things and gratification from without. They drop the fixations of rage, envy, hopelessness, and their excessively mental emphasis. They regain an experience of their health and their wholeness in just an hour that seems to last an eternity. They realize that they had somehow lost touch with their inner worth and health. Often there is a rededication to remembering the health that lives within each of us – we just have to be aware that wholeness is always there.

Reason plays a secondary role in the heart’s evolution. Science, reason’s handmaiden, does even not recognize the existence of spirit! Art, while compelling, sends a rather general message. But massage is an art (based on the science of the body) and a spiritual exercise that uses as its medium not of tones or strokes of paint, but uses the very substance of life itself, the individual person, with their unique tissues, thoughts, and feelings as the medium. Massage is manual evolution. The only art truly and desperately needed now is the art of evolution. How can we as a people make as much progress in the human heart as we have with, say, computers? Isn’t it obvious how necessary this next evolutionary step is?

As they explore anatomy and massage and the psychophysiology of stress, our students and clients truly appreciate the deep, original meaning of kindness. Beyond all our differences, we are the same “kind”, we are “kin.” This lesson is communicated to some extent in every massage. The kinship of all life is something that is immediately known by the enlivened heart.

We can no longer proceed as a civilization without committing to advances in kindness. These advances include the awareness that all feelings are at one time or another common to all of us. Virulent hatreds, the hunger for power, feelings of uncontainable lust – these are not just the property of our villains any more than great love, courage, ferocious loyalty and compassion are just for heroes. And in each of us as well live the unique mixtures of feeling that take time and insight to sort out – feelings, like nutrients, are rarely unmixed.

The key to advanced kindness is total compassion toward the feelings we have and a vast, measured thoughtfulness prerequisite to our acting, so that both reason and feeling inform our responses. These advances ultimately need to be made part of the everyday challenges within our elementary, secondary and college education. However, the only educational context in which I see this happening is in the few wholistically-oriented massage or psychotherapy training programs. We are exploring a model for the education of the future.

Receiving, giving, and learning about skilled, compassionate touch is one of the keys to a healthy world. In this world the heart is given a chance to catch up to the mind. In this world we recognize that what we know “by heart” is equally or more true than what we know with our head alone. “What the world needs now is love, sweet love,” has changed from being a subcultural sentiment to a socio-political fact. Touch, being the most direct way to actualize love in the physical world, is the key that opens the door to the next step in human evolution.


Join David on October 6, 2016 for Realm of the Heart workshop at the Downeast School of Massage. Call 207-832-5531 for registration


Caring for our Bodies is Sacred Work by Nancy Dail

Caring for Our Bodies is Sacred Work
Love of Self
For Broad Bay Congregational Church on August 23, 2015 in Waldoboro, Maine
With Nancy Dail

When I think of sacred my mind automatically shifts to the sacrum……
“The sacrum is one of the most fascinating bones in the body – beginning with the spiritual clue in its Latin root from “os sacrum” meaning “sacred bone”.” The sacrum is a v-shaped bone that is the foundation of your spine and links to your pelvis on both sides.
“Irene Dowd likens the sacrum to a keystone arch in a church. The downward force of the arch keeps the columns in place. Of course in the body the columns are our legs and far more subtlety is needed to adjust to the constant micro movements we make even when we are still. Add to that the 19 ligaments in and around the pelvis plus the 57 muscles that have a connection to the pelvis and you have a cross over area where there is a translation of the heaven to earth forces…the sense of the spine connecting from the sacrum up to the brain and the doorway to allowing our grounding forces to flow.” – Jeff Lennard (private correspondence) From David Lauterstein author of Deep Massage Book.
I am going to give you permission to stand if you want to. If you are uncomfortable sitting, please feel free to get up. I will not take offense. My students lay on the floor, bounce on balls and stand up. Freedom of movement is self-care.

I want to thank Nancy Duncan for inviting me to speak here today at Broad Bay Congregational Church. It is a daunting task to speak about Self-Care in a way that does not make one feel guilty if you do not participate in an activity. It is my goal today to shed light on how one can “Care for our bodies and insist on taking time to enjoy the benefits of prayer, reflection, worship, and recreation in addition to work.” But I also want to link back to number 10: “Claiming the sacredness of both our minds and our hearts, and recognizing that faith and science, doubt and belief serve the pursuit of truth.”

It is daunting to speak to this congregation as I know that you are a group of caregivers and being one myself, I know we are probably the toughest group to propose self-care to. Care of self usually comes last on the list of the caregiver, so whether you are a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, reverend and I know there are inordinate amount of reverends in this group, being a caregiver does not mean you are supposed to sacrifice yourself in the care of others. It is all about balance and that is often the toughest act to accomplish. We need to remember that we are human. We are our own worst enemy – we judge ourselves for that what we do not do.

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money, then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

There is unfortunately a pile of truth in that statement. I will not get into a discussion of our insurance system however today. But I hope to lead instead to understanding the sacred role that self-care has in your life. I believe that mankind makes most everything more complicated than we need it to be. We need to strike a balance instead of reaching for the extremes.

In the process of learning self-care there is no right or wrong. One should not judge yourself with self-care. Chastising yourself for not doing something beneficial is counterproductive. It wastes time on the negative. Having a positive attitude helps. Applaud yourself for doing one thing for your self-care. Avoid the guilt trip. There is a poem I would like to read in its entirety by Thomas Merton called “Great and Small.”

Great And Small
The Way of Chuang Tzu
By Thomas Merton

When we look at things in the light of Tao,
Nothing is best, nothing is worst.
Each thing, seen in its own light,
Stands out in its own way.
It can seem to be “better”
Than what is compared with it
On its own terms.
But seen in terms of the whole,
No one thing stands out as “better”.
If you measure differences,
What is greater than something else is “great,”
Therefore there is nothing that is not “great”;
What is smaller than something else is “small,”
Therefore there is nothing that is not “small,”
So the whole cosmos is a grain of rice,
And the tip of a hair
Is as big as a mountain-
Such is the relative view.

You can break down walls with battering rams,
But you cannot stop holes with them.
All things have different uses.
Fine horses can travel a hundred miles a day,
But they cannot catch mice
Like terriers or weasels:
All creatures have gifts of their own.
The white horned owl can catch fleas at midnight
And distinguish the tip of a hair,
But in bright day it stares, helpless,
And cannot even see a mountain.
All things have varying capacities.

Consequently: he who wants to have right without wrong,
Order with disorder,
Does not understand the principles
Of heaven and earth.
He does not know how
Things hang together.
Can a man cling only to heaven
And know nothing of earth?
They are correlative: to know one
Is to know the other.
To refuse one
Is to refuse both.
Can a man cling to the positive
Without any negative
In contrast to which it is seen
To be positive?
If he claims to do so
He is a rogue or a madman.

I use this poem when I teach ethics for a basic understanding that if there were no wrong, we would not have to worry about being right and be ethical. It also speaks to the balance of positive and negative. Just like trying to balance on a see saw, somehow we need to reach a balance in our lives.

From my perspective, as a massage therapist, when I touch someone, I am working on the whole person. For me there is a spiritual acceptance that there is a whole person, body, mind and soul on my table. The emotional component is every bit as important as the physical. I have worked on individuals who were so wrapped in the emotional plane that letting go and relaxing is not an easy feat. I can tell when I touch someone whether there is still voluntary tension being held versus straight forward tight tissue. We carry around levels of tension and stress, and are often are not even aware we are emotionally supporting physical tension. I am constantly reminded that I work on human beings. My job is to help you help yourself, and I do not fix anything. The human body is capable of doing that all by itself, but often with a nudge or catalyst.

I have prepared for you a Self-Care Wheel that is divided into four separate parts. (It is just a big circle with four parts if you wish to recreate it). Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual and Emotional. The best way to fill in the blanks is with a group of people, because we learn from others and it opens our minds to possibilities. For example, physical for you may only be taking a walk. To someone else, it might mean dance, Tai Chi, or any type of movement. Getting enough sleep is also part of the physical. Discussing self-care in a group might lead to walking in pairs or in a group. You do not have to do pushups to get physical exercise. These categories can be combined and you will see that they lend to each other, for example, if you put nature in the spiritual and you go for a walk in the woods, you might stop under a tree and have a moment as you listen to the wind as it rustles through the leaves.
I have a birch tree outside my office window and sometimes I will ground myself by listening to the tree make natural music.
This chart represents self-care for the whole body, Body, mind and spirit. Seeking someone to help you find your self-care is honorable. I recommend it. It is your personal journey.

Besides this chart, I have a few recommendations to help you with your journey of self-care.

1. Take charge of your health care. Make sure that when you have a diagnostic test or surgery that you have a copy of every report. Do not put all your faith of your health care in the hands of one person. When you go to a physician, write down your questions before you go, so the time you spend with your health care professional is profitable to your health and to your understanding of your health. If you cannot read the report you are given, find someone else who can. Understand your condition before you do something that is irrevocable. Think of yourself as being the center of health care. What health care professionals do you need to help you find optimal health? I know that this is bold, but this is the idea behind holistic health. (recent airport experience)
2. Pay attention to your symptoms. Signs and symptoms are what Doctors use to give you a diagnosis. Only you can report on symptoms as they are only felt by you. Pain is a symptom. Headaches are a symptom not a diagnosis. Look at symptoms as warning signs! Get maintenance checkups!
3. Take a close look at your posture and the repetitive actions you do daily. Your head weighs about 10-12 pounds. Because our head sits on top of our cervical spine, it is kind of like carrying around a bowling ball on a stick. Just our tendons, ligaments and muscles act as guy wires to keep our head upright. If your head is on top of your spine you will have 12 pounds of pressure on your posterior cervical muscles. For every inch that you head is in front of your spine you multiply that times the weight of your head. So if your head is 3 inches forward or your head is flexed forward and suspended, you will have 36 pounds of pressure on your posterior cervical muscles. This leads to headaches, neck pain and discomfort in between your shoulder blades. It could also lead to pain and discomfort down the upper extremities. We know have syndromes from technology: Computer vision syndrome, Digital vision syndrome, and Text neck.
4. Sleep posture is as important as day posture. Try to not sleep in a fetal position all night long. Hug a pillow. Do not sleep with your arms over your head, it will cut off your circulation and nervous innervation to your upper extremities.
5. Take more breaks during all kinds of repetitive actions.
6. Have a care as to how you lift things. Use your legs, not your back. Balance yourself first; try not to lift things in awkward positions.
7. Include some form of movement in your life. Like the exercises we did with the children. Warm your body up before you do exercise.
8. Try to find something that will decrease stress in your life. The stress hormone is cortisol. Find something that counteracts stress. It could be walking, massage, exercise, dance, laughter, or listening to the wind.
9. Hydrate! The brain is a selfish organ – it requires so much water that if you are dehydrated, the brain will steal water from your other organs.
10. Breathe. Be conscious about breathing fully, expanding not just your chest but also your abdomen. Breathing done consciously can exercise your internal organs as well as support good posture.
11. Include beauty, art, music, and anything cultural in your life in some form.
12. I believe that caring for your soul can mean that you are enlisting ways to unite your body and mind. Thomas Moore says: “Care of the Soul requires craft – skill, attention, and art. To live with a high degree of artfulness means to attend to the small things that keep the soul engaged in whatever we are doing, and it is the very heart of soul-making.” He also says, “No one can tell you how to live your life. No one knows the secrets of the heart sufficiently to tell others about them authoritatively.” We all have to experience life ourselves, so you all have your own personal journey. Combining the sacredness of both our mind and heart, accepting faith and science, pursuing truth to take care of your body in a variety of ways achieves a balance that we all need in our lives.

Robert Browning said:
“Truth lies within ourselves; it takes no rise from outward things, whate’r you may believe. There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness and to know rather consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape than in effecting entry for light supposed to be without.”
You will all find your own truths in your own time. Have confidence in your abilities. Thank you for this opportunity to talk with you today and enjoy your journey.

Nancy Dail, BA, LMT, NCTMB, Director Downeast School of Massage
542-6207 ,

CORE Structural Integration and Myofascial Therapy: A Lifetime of Improving Structure and Function George P. Kousaleos, LMT

CORE Structural Integration and Myofascial Therapy:
A Lifetime of Improving Structure and Function
George P. Kousaleos, LMT

It is interesting that a cervical injury during a college rugby match lead me to my first Swedish massage. After four weeks of treatment the massage therapist sent me to my first Iyengar Hatha Yoga class, where I experienced more discomfort during exercise than I had ever felt in my lifetime. Six weeks later the Iyengar teacher gave me an article on Rolfing, and in a few short weeks I received my first session of Structural Integration. Each step of the way I experienced significant improvement in decreasing my pain levels, improving my overall flexibility, and becoming more aware of my optimal physical alignment and balance. It took three years to realize that I was ready to change my life even further and started my training as a professional massage therapist and Structural Integration practitioner.
From the earliest days of my study of the disciplines of Structural Integration and Myofascial Therapy I was fascinated with the importance of recognizing the foundational relationships between structure and function. Indeed, over many years and decades of practicing and teaching this incredible work, I never lost sight of those relationships that not only improve structure and function, but increase neurosomatic awareness and restore a sense of physical and mental confidence.
From the early 1980’s I worked in New York City with leading ballet dancers, opera singers and classical musicians. They quickly appreciated the performance benefits of this precise work and cherished the added level of skill mastery they acquired through regular clinical treatment.
Later that decade I practiced and taught in Germany, applying this work to patients at a holistic center for homeopathic medicine and psychiatry. Through various seminars I taught Myofascial Therapy to European massage therapists and physiotherapists in 13th Century Bavarian castles, on the Greek island of Santorini, in the oldest yoga school in Vienna, Austria and at the healing warm springs of Passau. I appreciated even more the effects of slow, powerful, and carefully orchestrated pressure that changed the pliability of even the densest tissues, the most hardened of bodies.
After opening the CORE Institute in Tallahassee, Florida in 1990, and creating an entry level professional massage therapy program that included structural and myofascial education, I looked for opportunities to help prepare my students for the day that each of them would embark on their professional journey. I was thrilled when the British Olympic Association decided to hold their warm-weather preparation camps at Florida State University to prepare their athletes for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. British Olympians from 13 sports received regular treatments from CORE students during three weeks of strenuous two-a-day practice sessions during the summers of ’95 and ’96.
The Atlanta Olympics lead to my involvement as a Co-Director of the International Sports Massage Team of the 2004 Athens Olympics & Paralympics. One hundred and eighty therapists were chosen from 18 countries to provide therapeutic massage to over 15,000 athletes and coaches. Many athletes had never experienced massage therapy in their home country and relished at the improvement to form and function at the most meaningful time of their life. An Italian gymnast, who came to the clinic daily, won the gold medal in the horizontal bar in one the biggest upsets of the Athens Olympiad. The next day he came to the clinic to take photographs with the therapists who helped him prepare for his “lifetime moment”.
Later that decade I began teaching in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland from 2009 to 2011. Many of those students from London, Manchester, Chelsea, Bath, York, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Galway and Dublin assisted their Olympic teams at the 2012 London Games. Each of them took their place with those who preceded them in offering a sports and performance therapy that increased balance, responsiveness, ease of movement, and kinesthetic agility.
At the same time I was engaged in creating Myofascial Therapy protocols for the leading athletes of the Florida State University Football Team. From 2011 to this day these athletes receive twice a week treatment from 10 CORE Institute graduates during the regular season as well as during all spring and summer training camps. During this time, soft-tissue injuries decreased by 75% and FSU won three ACC Championships and the 2013 National Championship. Over 30 of these athletes are now playing in the NFL, with many of them continuing their commitment to regular myofascial therapy.
Last Fall I was honored to travel to Sydney, Australia and teach leading sports therapists from all across Australia and New Zealand. Many of these therapists work in allied medical fields, including physiotherapy, podiatry and acupuncture. On the ninth and final day of the intensive seminar we invited current and former professional and Olympic athletes to a special clinic. Each athlete responded favorably to their sense of improvement from a 90-minute full body session, with several emailing us later in the week with amazing stories of how their training had improved. The common theme we heard was “I feel more awareness of my body and how integrated my movements have become.”
I am more than satisfied that during the past four decades I have represented one of the finest approaches to structural and functional improvement from the disciplines I studied 37 years ago. Each year I look forward to introducing this work to curious and dedicated therapists who are searching for the keys to providing long-lasting health and wellness to those they serve each day. Each day I enjoy my clinical sessions with professional and amateur athletes who want to maintain elite athletic levels, with clients rehabbing from serious injuries and disease, and with those who simply yearn for a deeper sense of self. Each day I find happiness.

Join us at the Downeast School of Massage to welcome George at his Core Myofascial Therapy Seminar on July, 10, 11, and 12, 2015. See description of his workshop at:  Register on line or call 207-832-5531.

Adovacy for Client Health

Advocacy for Client Health
By Nancy Dail

When I graduated from massage school in 1974, I came back east with every intention of returning to the Southwest to work with Dr Scherer at his massage school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Life and changes got in the way, the death of my mother on the heels of my return home, and somehow I melted into the Maine landscape and built a massage practice here. Jay, still directing me from the Southwest, expected me to explore emergency medicine and so I became an EMT. I actually had a “red emergency phone” in my house that was hooked up to the town of Waldoboro. This was even before pagers! I was glued to that phone and could only go as far as I could hear it when I was on call for the ambulance service.

I learned a lot being an EMT. I saw first-hand what trauma would do to the human body and how necessary immediate emergency care can make the difference between life and death. I performed CPR on human beings sometimes saving lives, but always working within the scope of emergency medicine. I got to know all the trauma physicians, respect emergency medicine in general and befriended RNs and the medical community. Our team would assist the physician if necessary in the ER and on several occasions with the permission of the patient, I was able to observe the subsequent surgeries in the operating room. Truly, this was the start of my thirst for anatomical knowledge.

Emergency medicine is where I first started taking blood pressure readings. So when I started a school in 1980, it made sense to me that massage students should know First Aid, CPR and should learn to take blood pressure readings. As an EMT, I did not diagnose. The blood pressure reading was an evaluation that was noted at the scene of the accident or trauma. A health professional or anyone for that matter, cannot tell if someone has high or low blood pressure by looking at the individual. Truly, the blood pressure reading may vary the very next time you measure it. Medication usually normalizes blood pressure readings so they do not vary much from each time it is measured. Individuals who have high blood pressure but who are on medication, need to be referred back to their physician. All clients who have multiple signs and symptoms, like headache, edema, and high blood pressure, need to be referred to medical.

Part of what we do for our clients is to help them help themselves. My Anatomy Coloring Book that I colored with my first class is held together with duct tape from showing clients muscles and bones in living color in those early years. Later on, I graduated to Travell, the Atlas of Anatomy, and to my own text Kinesiology for Manual Therapies. Knowledge is power, and the client is better able to advocate for themselves with more information.

In my practice, I strive to integrate with the health professional community around me. In our student clinic, we have clients who are seeing physicians, PTs, acupuncturists, chiropractors, etc who are more than willing to see the combination of massage therapy and health care for the benefit of their patients. I do take blood pressure readings in my practice and our students provide that service in the student clinic. We have been known to refer clients to their physicians for evaluation and diagnosis. Recently, we had a client who had just been in the hospital for low blood pressure. The bottom line is that our clients are not coming to us all normal and healthy. They are coming in with their new normal which may include diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, and a slew of other pathological conditions. We, the massage therapists are the ones who will have to come up to speed.

If we are going to accept clients who walk in the door, then it is our responsibility, with this direct access, to decide who has the ability to benefit or not. The BP cuff is a simple tool, easily mastered, that is another way to give information back to the client. We do seem to all agree that there are benefits and that there are contraindications for massage therapy and for bodywork. If those statements are true, than simple assessments to provide information would add to our tool belt. Science is the foundation of your art. Taking a blood pressure reading should just be part of our process to advocate for our clients.

What is Your Legacy?

What is Your Legacy?
By Nancy Waltz Dail
I want to thank Emily Rice, Jill Moran and the conference committee for all their hard work organizing this conference. And to all of the individuals who have served on the conference committee over the years, you have given a legacy of service to our region and to the profession.
Let me also say, it is not possible in this keynote to acknowledge everyone who has left a legacy to this profession. So if I do not personally mention you at this time, it is not because you have not given enough to the profession. What we have done together over the years has been a serious amount of teamwork. I have been personally blessed to have so many wonderful peers in my life – this has given me more than the projects we took to task. These people are all golden in my book and irreplaceable even by time.
What history remembers and what we remember as we live it are two different streets. I am reviewing a history of massage book currently and I recently read a chapter on the time period I have lived. What the author wrote and what I remember as important are two different perspectives. When I brought those points to the attention of the publisher, she said, “ You bring up valid points, Nancy!” What that will mean in the end, is up to interpretation!
This is the interesting thing about our profession. The artistry and craft and how we incorporate the science is so subjective that when we stop doing massage or pass on, our work does not always evolve. Often history tells us, we have to re-invent technique and modalities. Our individual legacies are extremely important to the history of massage.
Most people when you ask them What is your Legacy?, they respond with children, land, physical things that can be passed on, until they think beyond the monetary to what were or are the contributions that you have made while you were alive.
I would be remiss to not mention my family! This my greatest personal legacy! All 3 of my children are Licensed Massage Therapists.
What is your legacy? How does one Create a Legacy? Legacy is defined as “something received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past” (Webster). Gift, land, bequest, inheritance, heritage.
It also means how someone is remembered, and what contributions they made while they were alive.
Professional legacy (Short term and long term) is different from your personal legacy.
Alissa Haines said, “My legacy, so far, is probably a lot like most of my colleagues: People who sleep better. People with less pain. A kid with sensory issues who now hugs his mom. People who have more to give their families & jobs & passions because they FEEL better.”
Your professional practice is providing a memory in all your clients. I love massaging massage therapists. Their bodies are so in tune with receiving massage, your hands can “hear” the relaxation of tissues almost as soon as you touch them. Our skilled professional touch is leaving a legacy of healing to countless clients on a daily basis.
Adjective: denoting software or hardware that has been superseded but is difficult to replace because of its wide use. It was made so well, it is hard to replace. What if we did our job so well, massage therapy as a whole was irreplaceable?
In the last year or so that I have been contemplating this question, I have also looked at why I became a massage therapist and what things I have derived from the experience. I have also asked my friends similar questions. This is what I got from David:
“Why Choose the Life of a Massage Therapist? David Lauterstein
Here’s some of what I got from studying and doing massage therapy:
• I got to learn how to touch people in a way that sometimes made a profound difference in their lives.
• I got to learn anatomy that helps me, my clients and students understand how bodies work.
• I got to learn how to move in a way that is both graceful and strong.
• I got to learn physiology that reveals the miraculous processes in the body and mind.
• I got to work with a fascinating array of clients – from spiritual teachers, to bookies, to dancers and bus drivers, actors to day traders, psychologists, politicians, musical and martial artists, and marital counselors.
• I got to start a school 25 years ago which helped me reach out and touch, through our grads, hundreds of thousands of people we would otherwise never have touched.
• I got to study with some of most wonderful, brilliant, imaginative teachers in the world– Rolfer, Daniel Blake, Dr. Fritz Smith, MD, Paul Brown, Bob King and so many others.
• I got to feel every day that I didn’t need to question the worth of what I did.
• I got to receive bodywork sessions that triggered experiences that were as close to enlightenment as I’ve ever come.
• I got to meet what must be the kindest, brightest, most hopeful people there may be in any profession – massage students and therapists.
• I got to feel, no matter what missteps the world seems to make around me, that I am on a path that is absolutely positive for me and for others.
There is no good reason to persist in work that makes one less than happy. And there is every reason to begin, now rather than later, a happier, healthier life.”

Thomas Moore said Care of the Soul “ In a sense, all work is a vocation, a calling from a place that is the source of meaning and identity, the roots of which lie beyond human intention and interpretation.”
“To me massage therapy is a calling that makes me happy on a daily basis. I believe in safe touch..that it will reduce violence..I think massage therapy provides an avenue for security that we have perhaps been missing.”

I remember the first massage I received in 1972 from Dr. Jay Victor Scherer. I used to back pack horses into the Carson National Forrest in New Mexico and had at one time 14 horses. An incident with a horse’s front hoof connecting with my skull fractured my frontal and nasal bones, gave me a concussion, two raccoon eyes, and headaches.
I went to Jay specifically because of the headaches, but was quickly intrigued by massage therapy, his school, his hands, his touch, and his healing aura that surrounded the school and permeated the environment. There was purple light everywhere. Jay was an old school therapist and he gave me my first neck adjustment. Back then, that was part of the massage treatment. After the massage, I felt transformed and had a destiny moment; a glimpse of my future as a massage therapist. It was a challenge as Santa Fe, NM was filled with a transient society in the early 70’s. Classes were at night and it seemed like I had different classmates every night. I persevered and shortly Jay realized that I had not left and that I really wanted a diploma and a career as a massage therapist. During the day I studied with Sensei Nakazono. Aikido taught me balance and was the basis for understanding body mechanics and moving around the massage table. Medicine classes included the five element theory, acupuncture, acupressure, and meridians. I knew I was in the right place when I learned that my teachers exchanged treatments with each other. For me, this experience was the foundation for my career, my practice, the seeds of founding a school, investing in a profession and my future.
Jay guided me to my first AMTA convention in 1974 in Scottsdale, AZ. He literally said, “You are going”. I was to take the RMT exam. There I met other individuals who had been care taking the profession from the 40s when the AMTA was first organized. It struck me that there was such an age difference between me and them. It did not matter – they embraced me and before I even knew it, I was secretary of the Massachusetts AMTA chapter. Perry Plouffe was responsible for that transition. You only have to look around you to understand her legacy to our profession as national president, leader, massage therapist and conference organizer.
I also met Ruth Williams, who told me the reason we learn Swedish massage as a foundation is because there is hardly another modality that does not have some form of Swedish technique in it. Ruth was an educator, school owner, leader, author, and gifted massage therapist. We enjoy the field of massage therapy today because of her legacy and others like Jay Scherer, Perry, and Sensei who laid a foundation for us to build on.
That very first convention taught me that massage therapy was a huge profession and that education embraced the whole field. The excitement at that convention was electric and contagious at the same time. I left enthused by the education and impressed by the educators who had care taken the profession to that pivotal time.
I had to wrap up my New Mexico education in 1974 as my mom was dying with cancer. Sensei took me aside before I left and told me I would not be able to save my mother. He helped me accept her illness and prepared me for the inevitable. I had thought I would be able to care for her for a while, but she died the day after I arrived home while I was in the Boston hospital. I remember that I was afraid in the end to touch her. She was so sick. That is one reason I am so grateful to the Society for Oncology Massage for their work today. Tracy Walton comes and teaches Oncology Massage at DSM every other year. As a part of that, we have a clinic, open to the public for survivors and individuals who are struggling with cancer. This last October, I was so moved by the clinic, I wrote a poem about the experience.
In memory of Kate Waltz-Hixon, my best friend…
A Reflection on the Oncology Massage Clinic…..
If the Walls Could Talk
By Nancy Dail
If the walls could talk
the paint would weep
pain, frustration and cry
relief that compassionate touch provides

Relief to let go, not fight,
to freely absorb nurturing energy.
To somehow regain, refresh, renew
To arise with enough fight
To be a warrior again.

If the walls could talk
they would reflect the joy of
peace, a bright light
bouncing off auras, souls vibrating
frequencies, a quiet hum.

Therapists bolster, quietly support
with grace, strength, a soft touch,
a soothing hand
only giving without judgment

If the walls could talk
they would witness the miracle of transformation.
Pain reduced or dispelled,
frustration expired,
worry becoming mist,
anxiety dissipating .

The air, so heavy from fear
evaporates, changes, melts.
Frowns develop into a relaxed visage,
a smile emerges,
and for a time relief embraces the clients.
Therapists sigh.
The work is done.

If the walls could talk,
they would say well done.

I can not begin to express how appreciative I am for Tracy’s work as an educator, massage therapist, author, and expert listener. Her legacy is huge for this profession, and she is still working on it! Therapists that take this continuing education are working and volunteering their time, giving a legacy of touch in hospitals and practices all over the country. The Society for Oncology Massage is a wonderful organization and they will need help furthering their goals.

After my mom died, I moved to Maine and started my practice. I also became an EMT, served on the ambulance service, made inroads with physicians in the ER and OR, worked for two chiropractors, and for years traveled to AMTA events and meetings in MA and New England. I have been hooked on conferences and conventions ever since that first one in 1974.
One of the messages I got from my massage training is that you can never stop learning. Once you stop seeking education, you lose perspective of who you are and your purpose. Retaining humility allows you to listen to other human beings and helps you to be the vehicle of their journey. We are not their journey.
Thomas Moore says “When soul is involved, (or inner self), work is not carried out by the ego alone; it arises from a deeper place and therefore is not deprived of passion, spontaneity, and grace.”
“Massage is an art and science used by the Massage Therapist to encourage balance and well-being in the individual; the responsibility lies in the individual to heal himself.” Nancy Dail

Education has been a primary directive for me. I have studied with Jack Meagher, Benny Vaughn, Ruth Williams, Paul St. John, Rich Phaigh, Bob King, Upledger, Jim Hackett, Elliot Greene, Jackson Petersburg, David Lauterstein, Dr. Hancock, Whitney Lowe, and so many more.
I have embraced connective tissue massage, myofascial, neuromuscular therapy, cranial sacral therapy, acupuncture, shiatsu, polarity, therapeutic touch, applied kinesiology, body/ mind and energy work, research, lomi lomi, rolfing, movement therapies, sports massage, Orthopedic Massage, and a continued study on the structure and function of the human body.
I have developed my own working philosophy of Dimensional Massage Therapy.
This journey helped found the Downeast School of Massage, the Maine AMTA chapter, the AMTA Council of Schools, the original AMTA sports massage team, and my investment in education of the field as well as 10 years on the New England Conference Committee. My journey has given me peers that I highly respect and bonded with over working for the profession. I can not express how meaningful it was to be on the AMTA National board with Bob King, Elliot Greene and others, to create standards with Sally Niemand, Ruth Marion, Iris Burman, Kathryn Hansman-Spice, Margaret Avery Moon and Steve Kitts for COMTA or to work on onsite teams. Another opportunity: Comta always needs onsite evaluators.
I have presented to physicians, hospitals, colleges, nurses, peers, and to the public all over the world.
It took me four years, but I did write a book, Kinesiology for Manual Therapies and produced A Gift of Touch, a teaching DVD. I continue to travel and teach, run the school, and practice massage.
Now, I serve as a committee chair for the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. It is an organization comprised of schools, administrators, faculty and CE providers. It probably is no surprise that I plan their conferences. This year we will make history by inviting multiple stakeholder organizations to come together to collaborate for the profession. In July in Minneapolis, MN we are holding the first Educational Congress. I am excited to be a part of this amazing event and legacy. Pete Whitridge the current president of the Alliance is himself a teacher and CE provider. Thank you Pete for your devotion to this great field of massage and your contributions to massage education and to the Alliance.
To serve as a chapter officer, a committee chair, or strive to be on an association board, to teach, to present to the public, to write, research, practice, or to touch safely; these are the mechanisms to develop your legacies.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent persons
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And to endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one’s self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know that even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived –
This is to have succeeded.

The New England Conference has succeeded in leaving a legacy of healing. Being at this event has touched our hearts, educated us, allowed us to mingle with our peers, and to explore new and old products one-on-one with vendors of our field. It has birthed ideas, fueled our hearts with enthusiasm and taught us that continuing education is a very big part of our profession. It has given us a true sense of accomplishment from putting on a successful conference to laying this legacy of healing. It has whisked us away from the isolation of practice, helped us prevent burnout and given us the opportunity to share our ethical dilemmas.
So I ask you again, what is your legacy? For you are the future of this profession. You get to make the choices that will fulfil your journey. You will leave a legacy of touch just by your investment in your practice. But what else can you do? What can we do together to further this profession?
For me, I am not done yet. I hope to continue to make history. Many of you know that my mother was one of the first women to ever fly a plane. She flew with Amelia Earhart and was secretary for the Hyannis airport while she attended Boston University from 1926-1930. Her legacy to me was to teach me that you can do what you want to do in life, you just have to do it. We are all pioneers in one of the greatest profession there is.
I urge you to create your legacy to leave to the profession of massage therapy. Remember, this is your journey, but sometimes you might need a road map, so here are a few suggestions:
• Start small; involve yourself in taking continuing education
• Find a mentor who can help you see the forest through the trees
• Involve yourself in your state chapter – join a committee, or a national committee
• Look at how you can further massage in your community or in your state
• Make a five year plan – look at your life as a journey and plan your route.
• Ask yourself, why am I in this profession? What can I do to further the profession?
• Start small – you do not have to be President tomorrow, either in your state chapter or for the National Board.
• Do you want to teach? Look into the standards for teaching from the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education.
• Take courses that will prepare you to teach.
• Surround yourself with individuals who are visionary.
• Link yourself to a school that supports standards, provides CE hours, and supports graduates.
• Reach out and meet your peers. These are people of like minds.
• Research massage – The Massage Therapy Foundation has provided us with the mechanisms of research. Another wonderful organization to investigate and they have conferences!
• Write – the Alliance has many members who are authors and publishers attend our conferences. Authors are giving. There are many present here! You do not have to start out writing a book, review books for publishing companies, keep a journal, and write articles or newsletters to your clients.
• Present about massage.
• Get massage yourself.
• Attend ethics classes and share your experiences with peers.
• Embrace your passion and explore expansion.
• Remember self-care and prevent burn out.
Whatever you do, remember that massage therapy provides a social service that is unquestionably valuable to the human race. Be proud to be a massage therapist. This is a wonderful, satisfying career. Enjoy the ride and give back. Create your legacy.

“I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together. ”    Liora from Facebook.

Keynote speech for the 32nd AMTA New England Regional Conference in Framingham, MA, March 20, 2015.

Stiff Neck – Un-puzzing the Problem by Nancy Dail

Stiff Neck – Un-puzzling the Problem
By Nancy Dail

Clients regularly complain of having a “stiff neck”. It may hurt to rotate, flex, extend or laterally flex the head or just feel like the head does not respond to movement well. Complaints may also include pain or discomfort on top of the head, general headache, or specific headache pain patterns. Discomfort may run from the back of the head through to the front, and include the entire superior area of the scapula to between the scapulae medially. Multiple complaints may also include upper extremity pain in the shoulder or elbow joints and/or hand and wrist.
The medical history form and interview will help to answer many questions – occupation, repetitive actions, injuries and accidents, sleep patterns, pain patterns, activity and response to other types of care both medical and holistic. What aggravates the condition? What relieves it? Observation will answer postural questions. Is there a head forward posture, protracted shoulders, short upper arms, and a marked handedness? How much pressure is on the posterior cervical muscles based on the head forward posture?
Posture is a repetitive action, and can over time, cause as much discomfort as a sudden injury. The constant head forward posture and position of the shoulders, causes isometric holding patterns for the head extensors, and puts additional stress on the deeper suboccipitals. What other repetitive actions (shoulder girdle and shoulder joint) the individual has, determines what other muscles will play a part in the dysfunction. Muscles work in groups and in paired opposition. This is the aggregate muscle theory – a kinesiology theory that pairs agonist and antagonist action. So, when analyzing and unraveling the stiff neck, the massage therapist must determine active and passive range of motion for the head, neck, shoulder girdle, and shoulder joint. What contributes to the discomfort? Does the individual elevate the shoulder with actions? For example, have you ever tried to shovel snow without lifting the shoulder?
Armed with action information, determining which muscles are culpable is next. Muscles work as agonists, antagonists, synergists, stabilizers, and neutralizers. Some muscles may be primary, but others assisting in the action may also have to be treated in order for the issue to be resolved. There is also order involved. What muscles do you work on first and in what position? In the case of the stiff neck, the sternocleidomastoid, is a primary muscle. It is often shortened because of posture or my personal favorite when I travel, “hotel pillow syndrome”. Passively shortening this muscle is key to unwinding it quickly. Flex the head and lateral flex the head. Short strip the muscle off the mastoid process while rotating the head toward your thumb. Grasp the length of the SCM with a pincer palpation and work towards the sternum and clavicle. Deep transverse friction the sternum and clavicular attachments.

Working on the SCM before you begin releasing the longissimus dorsi and splenius capitis will allow a more efficient treatment plan. These muscles assist in lateral flexion with SCM being a prime agonist. With SCM’s release, the lateral flexors palpate easier than before SCM’s treatment.



Releasing the SCM may also assist the relaxation of the trapezius. The two muscles share the same nerve – the accessory nerve. Bilaterally, the trapezius is the antagonist for flexion of the head – the prime action of the SCM.
Of course this is only the beginning of unraveling the stiff neck and solving the puzzle of the involved muscles and actions. There are many more muscles to visit in a specific order to release the stiffness, increase range of motion, and relieve pain from lack of movement, headache, or posture issues. Levator Scapula, splenius cervicis, specific suboccipitals, and even the scalenes play important roles in contributing to the common “stiff neck”.

Sorry I could not get the pictures to copy here!!! ND

Sternocleidomastoid diagram by Barbara Cummings illustrator; Myofascial Pain and Dsyfunction, Trigger Point Manual, Travell and Simmons
Technique picture from Kinesiology for Manual Therapies, McGraw-Hill, Dail, Agnew, and Floyd.

For more practice on the neck and for specfic conditions of the head, neck and upper extremities, consider:

Techniques for the Neck and Multiple Crush Syndromes
Dimensional Massage Therapy with Nancy Dail
At the Downeast School of Massage
February 28 and March 1, 2015
Saturday 9-4 and Sunday 9-4
As massage therapists we have a wide variety of clientele who grace our tables. Some come for relaxation but more and more clients seek massage for relief of discomfort. Pain is a great motivator to seek treatment and there is no shortage of poor posture and repetitive actions causing many nerve related conditions. Do you know the difference between nerve entrapment and nerve compression? Do you know when to refer for diagnosis and/or how to work with another health professional with specific conditions?
Join Nancy Dail as she defines, evaluates and treats many difficult syndromes and conditions including: anterior scalene syndrome, “stiff neck,” pectoralis minor syndrome, thoracic outlet, whiplash, pronator teres syndrome, median nerve syndromes and carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral and medial epicondylitis, tendonitis, tendonosis, tenosynovitis, cubital tunnel syndrome, double crush syndrome, bicipital tendonitis, bursitis, sprains and strains, Dupuytren’s contracture, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, and more. Expand your treatment capabilities in your massage therapy practice!
Nancy will lecture on the skeletal and neurological anatomy of the neck and upper extremity, with particular emphasis on the brachial plexus and its distal destinations. She will also address the specific etiologies, signs, symptoms and massage treatments related to the pathologies of these areas. She will demonstrate hands-on evaluation techniques designed to assess the pathologies discussed. Special attention will be given to discuss the history and exam findings that would warrant health professional referral. Nancy will provide by lecture and power point review of the muscles and soft tissue structures. She will discuss trigger points, and referred pain patterns and repetitive actions of involved muscles. Nancy will demonstrate techniques used in Dimensional Massage Therapy and provide supervision for hands-on practice by participants. Dimensional Massage Therapy techniques are deep tissue strokes and methods that have been designed to balance joints by working on all the muscles that produce, assist in, or oppose the actions of, or stabilize the joints. They include a wide variety of dual-hand techniques, elliptical movement of soft tissues, active engagement techniques and determining the appropriate sequence for many conditions. Careful attention will be given to the execution of these techniques, specific muscles and their idiosyncrasies, and to the individual structure of the receiving person on the table. Good body mechanics and safe use of the hands and wrists will be emphasized. Tables and minimal lubrication are required for the hands-on exchange.
Nancy W. Dail, BA, LMT, NCTMB has been a professional massage therapist and member of the AMTA since 1974. She is the founder and director of the internationally known program at the Downeast School of Massage in Waldoboro, ME (1980). A leader in her field, she has served on the AMTA national board, numerous committees, and was the charter President of the Maine AMTA Chapter. Nancy has taught and presents workshops internationally, is certified in Orthopedic and Sports Massage, and has developed the working philosophy of Dimensional Massage Therapy as lead author in Kinesiology for Manual Therapies published by McGraw-Hill. Her BA in Health, Arts, and Science from Goddard College helps her balance her administrative duties as Director with teaching Dimensional Massage Therapy, Advanced Skills, Kinesiology, Ethics, and related subjects at DSM. Nancy enjoys her therapeutic practice for her clientele, traveling and teaching, and playing with her grandsons, Alexander and Kingston whenever possible at her home in Waldoboro.
To register or for more information, contact Downeast School of Massage, 207-832-5531.

If the Walls Could Talk

Recently we had a Tracy Walton Oncology Massage Workshop at the Downeast School of Massage and after much reflection of the experience, this poem came to me last night.

If the Walls Could Talk
By Nancy Dail

If the walls could talk
the paint would weep
pain, frustration and cry
relief that compassionate touch provides

Relief to let go, not fight,
to freely absorb nurturing energy.
To somehow regain, refresh, renew
To arise with enough fight
To be a warrior again.

If the walls could talk
they would reflect the joy of
peace, a bright light
bouncing off auras, souls vibrating
frequencies, a quiet hum.

Therapists bolster, quietly support
with grace, strength, a soft touch,
a soothing hand
only giving without judgment

If the walls could talk
they would witness the miracle of transformation.
Pain reduced or dispelled,
frustration expired,
worry becoming mist,
anxiety dissipating .

The air so heavy from fear
evaporates, changes, melts.
Frowns develop into a relaxed visage,
a smile emerges,
and for a time relief embraces the clients.
Therapists sigh.
The work is done.

If the walls could talk,
they would say well done.

Homage to the Human Hand

Homage to the Human Hand
By David Lauterstein

For the first thirty years of my life, I was a musician and composer. Among my first loves was the guitar and its music made through the wonderful composition of metal, strings, wood, and open space. I am still thrilled with the sight and sound of the guitar and all the variants that have been made over time – the lute, lyre, harp, mandolin.

Imagine a beautiful guitar that could change into a flute and then become a piano and then a wonderful drum.

The love of music led me almost simultaneously to the love of the human hand.

As a child, I saw an illustration in the book, The Family of Man. It was a picture of an old woman’s hands. You could just feel all the things she had done with them over the course of her life. She cared for loved ones, helped feed them, cleaned the house, repaired clothing, facilitated birth, consoled people through sickness, life’s struggles, and even death.

The use of the hands unites us with the labors of all human kind through time. Ever so gradually, our hands evolved over hundreds of million of years; freed from having to support us on the ground; freed to grasp and manipulate; thus, freeing our mouth, from the grasping function, and so giving us the capabilities that over time became speech and song.

With the role of the hand in articulate action, the mind was now freed further to allow the development of new structures and functions, making possible more and more complex interactions with the environment and with each other.

“…the hand is not only the organ of labor, it is also the product of labor. Only through labor, through constant adaptation to new operations,through inheritance of the special development thus acquired of muscles, ligaments and, over longer periods of time, bones as well, and by the ever renewed use of this inherited refinement in new, increasingly complicated operations, has the human hand attained that high degree of perfection that has enabled it to conjure into being the paintings of a Raphael, the statues of aThorwaldsen, the music of a Paganini.” – Friedrich Engels

The human hand, in concert with the mind and heart, is the most sophisticated instrument in the known universe.

In the art and science of massage, we have the privilege to use this greatest of all instruments. An evolved miracle is brought to bear every time we touch in a thoughtful, heartfelt manner.

This instrument indeed is self-transforming through the use of knuckle, fist, fingertips, pads, heel of hand, and palm. It is guided through the imagination and conscious thought of the cerebrum, the emotional intelligence and passion of the limbic system, supported by body movements coordinated with the cerebellum and the incredibly complex development of proprioception through each muscle, tendon and joint.

With a continually renewed appreciation for the miracle of the hand, we know we touch using a miracle of mind and body, united through all of human history with the common and extraordinary labors of our ancestors. We all are the receivers and givers of this blessing conveyed through space and reaching through vast expanses of time, this human hand.

What a journey our hands take with us through life. What would a thorough history of the hands’ experience be? They are tools and themselves talismans. in their gestures and mudras; in their silent lines, they convey volumes. Hands write the book of life.

“Hands make the world each day.” – Pablo Neruda

David Lauterstein teaches continuing education courses at the Downeast School of Massage. Check our website at for his Deep Massage courses.


Pregnancy Massage

Carole Osborne

Nurturing touch during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period is not a new concept. Cultural and anthropological studies reveal that massage and movement during the childbearing experience was and continues to be a prominent part of many cultures’ healthcare.1 Studies indicate that most of the more peaceful cultures use touch prominently during pregnancy and early childhood.2 Midwives, who for centuries have provided maternity care, have highly developed hands-on skills.

Current research on the benefits of touch is providing a contemporary basis for its reintroduction in many technological societies, including the United States. Scientists have found that rats restricted from cutaneous self-stimulation had poorly developed placentas and 50% less mammary gland development. Their litters were often ill, stillborn, or died shortly after birth due to poor mothering skills.3 Pregnant women massaged twice weekly for 5 weeks experienced less anxiety, leg and back pain. They reported better sleep and improved moods, and their labors had fewer complications, including less premature births.4 Studies show that when women received nurturing touch during later pregnancy they touch their babies more frequently and lovingly.5 During labor the presence of a doula, a woman providing physical and emotional support, including extensive touching and massage, reduces the length of labor and number of complications, interventions, medications, and Cesareans.6

Why Prenatal Massage Therapy?
Profound local and systemic changes in a woman’s physiology occur as a result of conception and the process of labor. Changes during pregnancy span the psychological, physiological, spiritual, and social realms. Massage therapy may help a woman approach her due date with less anxiety, as well as less physical discomfort.7

A typical session performed by a therapist specializing in pre- and perinatal massage therapy can address pregnancy’s various physical challenges: postural changes, pain in the lower back, pelvis, or hips, and edema. Touch during pregnancy may facilitate gestation by supporting cardiac function, placental and mammary development, and increasing cellular respiration.8 It also may reduce depression and stress by contributing to sympathetic nervous system sedation. 9 Deep tissue, trigger point, and both active and passive movements alleviate stress on weight-bearing joints and myofascial structures, especially the sacroiliac and lumbosacral joints, lumbar spine, hips, and pelvic musculature.10 Structural balancing and postural reeducation reduce neck and back pain caused by improper posture and strain to the uterine ligaments. Prenatal massage therapy also may facilitate ease of labor by preparing the muscles for release and support during childbirth.11

Beyond these physical effects, an effective prenatal massage therapy session provides emotional support. In the safe care of a focused, nurturing therapist, many women unburden their worries, fears, and other anxieties about childbearing. Bodywork may help the mother-to-be develop the sensory awareness necessary to birth more comfortably and actively. Laboring women whose partners learned and provided basic massage strokes to their backs and legs had shorter, less complicated labors. 87% of these massaged women were more satisfied with their partners’ support during labor.12 Imagine the benefits generated by the skilled hands of a trained touch specialist!

The Postpartum Period
Beginning with the baby’s birth, a new mother must cope with more changes. She is typically only 10 to 12 pounds lighter, yet she is still maintaining her body with an anterior weight load posture. Additional musculoskeletal stresses occur during the many hours of feeding, carrying and other newborn care. The massage practitioner may facilitate proprioceptive reprogramming to gently return the body to its pre-pregnancy state, to alleviate pain, and to bring about a renewed sense of body and self.13

Postpartum sessions often focus on relaxation, physiological recovery and pain relief. Longer- term care may normalize pelvic position and re-pattern overall body use. Postpartum massage sessions may restore functional muscle use in the lumbar spine area14, as well as strengthen and increase tonus in the abdominal musculature stretched and separated by pregnancy. Additionally, the overtaxed, hypotoned iliopsoas muscle functions can be improved. Upper back muscles which now support larger breasts and the carried infant’s weight need attention to reduce strain, and to help maintain flexibility despite the physical stresses of infant feeding and care.

For post-Cesarean mothers, specific therapeutic techniques also can reduce scar tissue formation and facilitate the healing of the incision and related soft tissue areas, as well as support the somato-emotional integration of her childbearing experience.15

Qualified Pre- & Perinatal Massage Therapists
While approximately three quarters of pregnancies proceed normally and are uncomplicated by medical conditions16, it is still advisable for massage therapists to be knowledgeable about pre- and perinatal physiology, high risk factors, and complications of pregnancy. Even without problems developing, physiological changes necessitate modifications to or elimination of various techniques and methodologies, depending on the individual and the trimester of pregnancy. When medical conditions develop, additional adaptations and consultation with physicians and/or midwives prior to sessions is prudent. Additional specific specialized training in prenatal and perinatal massage therapy helps to qualify massage therapists to safely and effectively meet women’s many and complex needs.

Somatic practitioners will find reliable, detailed, research- based protocols and contraindications in the second edition of Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy, and in other media and training programs created by this author. For those seeking comprehensive hands-on training and certification as a maternity massage specialist, practitioners should consider enrolling in the upcoming 32-hour technique certification workshop.

This book and training program have developed from over 37 years as a somatic practitioner and educator and 30 years of specialization in maternity and infant massage. Students benefit from a continually expanding body of knowledge, research, clinical experience, and consultations with other perinatal health care providers.

The highly qualified instructors of Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy offer a safe and comprehensive approach to pregnancy, labor, and postpartum massage therapy. They also encourage an empathetic, non-judgmental attitude in supporting women’s ‘pregnant feelings’. These certification workshops include over 80 techniques specifically adapted for pre- and perinatal needs, and the practical marketing strategies, ethics, and skills to elicit collaboration with other perinatal specialists and to build a successful pre- and perinatal massage therapy practice.

These courses are approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (32 continuing education credits). Each workshops and staff is also approved by the Florida Board of Massage (and other local state boards as required) and the California Board of Registered Nursing; meet current American Massage Therapy Association continuing education standards; can be used for Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals membership; and can be used for continuing education credit with Doulas of North America.

Skilled, nurturing touch is good for moms and their babies, and for the family of humanity. As complementary healthcare research expands, more data validate improved outcomes from maternity massage therapy. With over 4 million American women pregnant annually, this is a viable and satisfying niche market for therapeutic massage and bodywork practitioners to pursue.

Carole Osborne has been a somatic practitioner since 1974, specializing in maternity care since 1980. In addition to private practice, she has worked in osteopathic, psychological, and women’s medical settings. She is author of Deep Tissue Sculpting, Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy, 2nd edition and is a widely sought-after continuing education provider. In 2008, the AMTA Council of Schools presented Carole with the National Teacher of the Year Award, a high point of her 37 years as a somatic arts and sciences educator. She is also a contributor to Teaching Massage and many massage therapy publications.

To order a book or to learn more about our June 2014 workshop, contact the local sponsor, Downeast School of Massage at 207-832-5531 or online at Call Carole at Body Therapy Education – (800) 586-8322 or (858) 633-3033.
Facebook page: Carole Osborne’s Prenatal and Deep Tissue Massage Training

1 Goldsmith, J. Childbirth Wisdom. New York: Congdon and Weed, 1984.

2 Prescott, J. Prevention or Therapy and the Politics of Trust: Inspiring a New Human Agenda. Psychotherapy and Politics International 2005;3:194-221. DOI:10,1002/ppi.6. Accessed 2/6/2009.
3 Rosenblatt, J.S. and D.S. Lehrman. Maternal behavior of the laboratory rat. Maternal Behavior in Mammals, Wiley, New York, 1963, p. 14.

4 Field, T., M. Hernandez-Reif, S. Hart, et al. Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy. J. Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 20(1), March, 1999, 31-38.

5 Rubin, R. Maternal Touch. Nurs Outlook, 11/1963, 828-31

6 Klaus, K, Kennell, J., Klaus, P. The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth. New York: DeCapo Press, 2002.

7 Field T. Diego MA, Hernandez-Reid M, et al. Massage therapy effects on depressed pregnant women. J Psychos Obstet Gynecol 2004;25:115-122.

8 Roth LL, Rosenblatt JS. Mammary glands of pregnant rats: development stimulated by licking. Science 1996; 264:1403-1404.

9 Field, 2004.

10 Pryde M. Effectiveness of massage therapy for subacute low-back pain. A randomized controlled trial. Can Med Assoc J 2000;162(13):1815-1820.

11 Bodner-Adler B, Bodner K, Mayerhofer, K. Perineal massage during pregnancy in primiparous women. Int J Gynecol Obstet 2002.

12 Chang M, Wang S, Chen C. Effects of massage on pain and anxiety during labour: a randomized controlled trial in Taiwan. J Adv Nurs, 2002 Apr; 38 (1):68-73.

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What is Kinesiology?

What is Kinesiology?
By Nancy Dail

Recently, Laura Allen asked “What is your favorite Kinesiology book?” From the bulk of the answers to her question, it was clear that many in our industry do not really know the definition of Kinesiology. To further confuse the issue, modalities have been labeled as “Applied Kinesiology” and later “Touch for Health” interchanged the terms kinesiology as a title. Massage curriculum has not always included kinesiology as a part of massage therapy education. Many believe that kinesiology and myology (the study of muscles) carry the same definition.

In 1964, Dr. George Goodheart developed “Applied Kinesiology” using manual resisted muscle testing with compression and circular friction to the origins and insertions of muscles. He incorporated the knowledge and use of meridians to his modality. Years later Dr. John Thie developed “Touch for Health” using Goodheart’s principles. These are useful modalities, not the study of Kinesiology.

Anatomy is simply learning the structure of the human body. It is all inclusive; one learns cells, nerves, bones, muscles, blood vessels, skin, etc. Physiology is the how the body functions. The function of the cells, nerves, bones, muscles, etc. Anatomy and Physiology have long been a part of massage curriculum; it is a basis for learning. When one locates the bones, finds the boney landmarks, and palpates the muscles, one is learning the anatomy of the structure and the location of the muscles. This should be, and for the most is, part of the training for any manual therapies.

Kinesiology is the study of muscles in motion. Not only does one study the location, attachments, actions, and innervations of the muscles, one also studies the principles and laws of motion, how bones act as levers, the angle of pull, balance, roles of muscles, proprioceptors, and how all this affects action. It includes the range of motion of a joint and how muscles can move actively, passively, and what happens with manual resistance and in stretch. With this knowledge, then the practitioner can evaluate the actions of the client, history, injuries, posture, and develop a treatment protocol that will be individually appropriate for that client. It is a course that can build on the foundation of Anatomy and Physiology. It is regularly studied and part of the curriculum for physical therapists and athletic trainers. It should be a part of each massage therapist’s training.

Orthopedic massage, developed by Whitney Lowe, takes the knowledge of kinesiology and asks the practitioner to apply four components: “orthopedic assessment, matching the physiology of the tissue injury with the physiological effects of treatment, treatment adaptability and rehabilitation protocol.”(see footnote below) This takes evaluation to another level using multiple modalities. It utilizes many aspects of kinesiology as a knowledge base.

In our professional field, we have long had problems defining ourselves, techniques, modalities, developing standards and generally agreeing on curriculum. This autonomy makes us unique in health professional fields, but also can be a determent to our development and integration. I have long felt that science is the foundation of your art. Kinesiology is a part or should be a part of that science.

Nancy W. Dail, BA, LMT, NCTMB has been a professional practicing massage therapist and a member of the AMTA since 1974. She is the founder and director of the Downeast School of Massage in Waldoboro, Maine (USA) (1980). A leader in her field, Nancy presents workshops internationally, is certified in Orthopedic and Sports Massage, and has developed the working philosophy of Dimensional Massage Therapy as lead author in Kinesiology for Manual Therapies published by McGraw-Hill. Her BA in Health, Arts, and Science from Goddard College helps her balance her administrative duties as Director with teaching Dimensional Massage, Advanced Skills, Kinesiology, Ethics and related subjects at DSM.

Quote above on the four components for orthopedic massage from: Orthopedic Massage Theory and Technique by Whitney Lowe Chapter 1 page 5. Elsevier Science, 2003.