Crossing Paths with Chair Massage

Lauterstein-Conway has been offering chair massage classes for decades, but before the mid-1980’s, there was no chair massage.

Originally chair massage utilized a very specific routine devised by David Palmer, the co-designer of the first massage chair and the kata, or system of individual training exercises, that he taught.

Palmer’s method was based on acupressure points and Amma therapy, which used techniques and theories similar to Shiatsu and Thai massage.

Eventually chair massage came to mean any massage performed with a chair.

cindy anderson teaches chair massage in austinHowever, after all these years, the kata evolved by Palmer remains the most highly developed approach to chair massage.

This kata, like many high level therapies, is unique in that it is not only relaxing, but it is also stimulating. This is important in the spread of chair massage – since it is so often done in a context where it is received as brief break from everyday life. The client needs to relax and destress yet also to be re-energized.

This is the value of learning Palmer’s amma-based approach – therapists utilizing it experience better results, more repeat business, and it is easier on the therapist!

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Early Chair Massage In Austin, Texas – Two Tales

Lauterstein-Conway has been fortunate to cross paths with many prominent educators and organizations in its near 30 years serving Austin.

One such crossing is when Iris Lee, one of the first teachers trained by Palmer himself, came to Austin to the school where David Lauterstein and John Conway taught at the time to teach a number of courses. It was 1987.

In that very first course was one of Lauterstein-Conway’s early instructors, Cindy Anderson.

Today, Cindy teaches several courses at Lauterstein-Conway – including an annual chair massage workshop.

Here’s a sneak peek at her teaching.

Another such crossing involves Austin’s own Whole Foods.

Whole Foods was one of the first companies to bring chair massage into a retail setting  – back then when the grocery story was only local.

In the early 1990’s, Lauterstein-Conway organized their south store’s chair massage.

When we inquired of Whole Foods management, what percentage of the massage income they wanted, they said, “None!”

It turns out they had been written up in the Wall Street Journal for their uniqueness – especially the idea of offering massage in a grocery store – and had received a million dollars worth of publicity from that article.

They didn’t need a penny from our chair massage therapists!

We are proud to have a history of involvement in chair massage in Austin – from prominent massage teachers making our little town a destination to now-national grocery stores hiring our therapists to perform massage in its foyer.

We look forward to continuing serving Austin and it’s therapists with this beneficial massage modality.

Lauterstein-Conway Massage School offers a chair massage workshop every year. Learn more or register now.