Restore your energy

BrendaYoungHeadshotby Brenda Young

A few years into my massage practice I noticed that some clients drained my energy while others boosted it. Then I learned about transference and countertransference, and how an energy exchange occurs between the client and therapist.

This was fascinating to me but I still didn’t know how to get rid of those leftover energies I felt after a draining client or a long day of work. So I began researching and learning techniques on how to deal with all of that.

Once I learned a few helpful processes I was able to restore my energy rather quickly, recover from pain, and prevent further fatigue and health issues. Over the past 15 years I have collected methods for clearing negative energy and restoring good physical, mental, emotional, and energetic health.

In the Essential Self-Care Tool Box for LMT’s, I share a deep understanding of how energy is transferred and how to use these clearing techniques so participants can maintain balanced energy, and a healthy body.

Learn more with Brenda Young at the Essential Self-Care for Therapists: Managing Your Energy and Structure workshop on June 15. CLICK HERE to register today!

Do you get headaches?

by Jason Hammond

I always ask my clients this simple question. If they get headaches frequently, I want to let them know that I can help. This is great way to increase your benefit to a client and to build your practice!

Many people suffer from frequent or occasional headaches and don’t mention them during a massage intake. They may not know that a massage therapist can help. They might even think that headaches are “normal” and “everyone gets them.”

If the client does have headaches, a quick assessment can help provide some direction. The most common headaches can be assessed easily by asking a few questions, evaluating the client’s upper body posture and palpating the head and neck musculature. Most headaches can be helped dramatically, or even resolved completely, with the application of skilled bodywork. Posture related headaches and tension headaches generally respond very well to focused work on the neck and upper body. I have found that Deep Massage is particularly effective for these clients. Sinus related headaches offer an opportunity to surprise your client with relief. I get great results using acupressure to clear the head and drain the sinuses.

Of course, some headaches are caused by conditions that are beyond the reach of bodywork. Headaches related to hormones, trauma and neurological conditions, as well as migraines should be referred out to a physician. But these clients still stand to benefit from the magnificent effects of bodywork that you are already sharing with them!

This one day seminar is packed with information that will help you understand common headache patterns and with tools that will give you the confidence to work on them.

Learn more at the Massage for Headaches workshop with Jason Hammond on June 22. CLICK HERE to register today!

Why do adults make great massage students & Why does being a massage student make great adults?

11.01.AnatomyClass.MuscleModelingWhy Adults Make Great Massage Students

  1. Even after a short while in the work world, every adult strongly desires work that is more meaningful. Massage is meaningful, heartfelt work.
  2. Adults make great massage students because they have freely chosen to be here. Nobody is in our classroom because their parents told them they had to do this!
  3. When we are young, we naturally seek just self-satisfaction. As adults we realize, we get equal satisfaction by caring for others. Massage is real health care.
  4. Adults are more aware of what they don’t know. This makes them even more eager to learn. And that makes for an incredible learning atmosphere.

Why Studying Massage Makes Great Adults.

  1. Anatomy was largely left out of our earlier education or not approached in a helpful way. Learning how your body is formed and how it works is part of a “drivers’ license” for living a healthier life!
  2. Having a professional skill you can rely on anywhere and anytime. In this unstable world, it is important as an adult to have something you can rely on.
  3. Massage teaches one about therapeutic relationship. A deeper understanding of healthy relationship helps all your relationships, not just professional ones.
  4. Confidence – in your body, your heart, your mind and your spirit. When you more deeply understand yourself and others’ in body, mind and spirit, you will have more confidence in yourself.
  5. Being an adult we all have more stress, both physical and psychological. By learning better body mechanics and ways to center yourself, you will be a healthier person for your whole life.


  1. Slow down when you need to. Speed up when you don’t need to slow down. Massage that’s always slow is ultimately boring massage.
  2. Palpate – how can you love if you don’t know what’s there?
  3. Know anatomy – not just in general. Have memorized the origins, insertions and actions for at least the 90 most important muscles.
  4. Care; really care; let your care be palpable.
  5. First do no harm – to yourself! Pay attention to your body mechanics and your psycho-mechanics.
  6. Don’t substitute force for intelligence.
  7. Take a history; your client’s complaint arises from and takes place within their whole life. You’re working on time as much as space.
  8. Try to do no more than 4 sessions a day.
  9. Become a boundary genius; when you hold to impeccable boundaries it becomes a powerful part of the healing process. When you create an atmosphere of total safety and trust, the healing process is initiated.
  10. Don’t hedge on the business side – you are in the massage business as much as you are assisting in the healing process.
  11. Get massage. Not getting massage is like a writer never reading.
  12. Take a workshop at least once a year; a vacation twice a year, and a contemplative break once a day.
  13. Don’t give up. Work, exacting work, moves mountains.

Trauma and the Body – A Vignette

by Gregory Gaiser

My first experience as a health care professional working with trauma happened in the early 1990s with a woman I’ll call Roberta. Roberta was in psychotherapy at a local women’s center which specialized in treatment for childhood sexual abuse and rape survivors. 

Roberta’s story was particularly tragic as she had been born into and raised in a cult where the most heinous acts occurred. Not only was she repeatedly sexually abused in a ritualistic way, but she was also psychologically abused every day in her own family. As a result, she coped by separated the feelings, memories and body experiences into ‘parts’ within herself;  her diagnosis was Multiple Personality Disorder (this was before the DSM diagnosis changed to Dissociative Identity Disorder).

She came to me for massage therapy as an adjunct to her psychotherapy. Our goal was to help Roberta reconnect with her body.

I quickly learned that no particular techniques in my massage school training had prepared me for working with Roberta. In fact, if I stayed within the realm of techniques and formulaic massage it was counterproductive. I had to work withRoberta as a person, not on her body with a set of symptoms.

By tracking the moment to moment impact of the touch and talking about that, healing and integration started to happen. I learned I had to be extremely flexible and emotionally attuned. I needed to remind Roberta that she was in charge and we could stop at any time. Slowly over time, cultivating an attitude of working together, we found a particular kind of ‘still touch’ spoke to all the parts inside Roberta: the terrified little girl, the older quiet child, the sullen and desperate teenager, the angry one, and even the pre-verbal infant. This approach offered Roberta a felt sense of safety through touch. The results were profound.

Roberta’s nervous system began to experience grounding and deactivation. She calmed down and experienced a felt sense of safety like never before.

Over time I began to study more and more about trauma and to understand how Roberta’s experiences were like those of other trauma survivors. Indeed she had things in common not only with other childhood sexual abuse survivors, but with battered wives, men and women who had served in combat, and people who had been in earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.

As a result of being in life or death situations, all these folks had dysregulated Autonomic Nervous Systems.  Massage therapy can be a potent component of a treatment plan for such individuals.

Learn more with Gregory Gaiser at the Trauma and the Body workshop on April 27. CLICK HERE to register today!


10155573_648574265180427_281499210_nSome years ago, I went with my daughter, Katja, to receive her first facial. The esthetician, from Colombia, explained how it would proceed. She said, “Your face does not end at your neck! It goes down to your chests!”

Well, something similar can be said about your back. Your back doesn’t end at the waist! It goes down to your tail!

However, the majority of massages I receive almost entirely avoid the sacrum! This is a serious problem. Unless you are working with a new or very modest client, you are doing them, especially those with lower back pain, a disservice by not addressing this area with knowledgeable, skillful, compassionate, specific touch.

This is just a matter of good applied anatomy. Take a look at the accompanying illustration. The fascia of the back ultimately goes down to the coccyx (and from there into the lower body). If you leave out specific work on the sacrum you are ignoring an area that is often literally and figuratively the root of low back pain.

Now I am not recommending work on the coccyx. But, to give the person the experience of the full length of their back and spine, you have to go at least three-quarters of the way down the sacrum.

And to address the fascia there you can’t just do a few general passes. This area needs specificity. As long as you are being sensitive, working here with thumbs, knuckles, or even, gently, with the elbow can make all the difference in the world.

Restore length and health to the lumbodorsal fascia working especially from L3 on down. Respond with deep transverse friction to fascial thickenings with the sacroiliac ligaments, exploring the space between the sacral spinous processes and the ilium.

Don’t ignore the sacrum!

This a simple but powerful reminder of how even the most sophisticated bodyworks, like Rolfing, are, fundamentally, just good applications of anatomical knowledge.

Honor your origins! Thoracolumbar fascia, we have your back!

Bodywork: Finding what you didn’t even know was there

Keith.web1by Keith Vencill, LMT, CDMT

Clients often reveal that the most intense areas discovered during the session are exactly that: unearthed, previously unknown tension and pain. Around this pain and because of it, compensatory movements and postures can grow.  These very pragmatic structural and energetic arrangements are temporary adaptations, but can linger long after they have served their purpose, obscuring the initial cause.  Compensations can become convoluted over time; intricate knots of, well, knots.  Deep massage is my modality of choice in these situations.

Deep massage is a conversation with a client’s nervous system, with each step directed by working signs.  Using the steps of the fulcrum, each touch is clear and safe; inviting the client to self-exploration. Deep massage doesn’t prejudge and impose; it listens and invites.  The client, rather than bracing against a foreign force, listens to what they themselves are doing.  Sometimes they share their discoveries, and it is humbling to understand our role in the process when they do.

Massage as an Introduction to Oneself

I’ll recall the following session as an example. My client booked a session through the hotel to help her recover from hours on a plane.  She was in her thirties, fit, sharp.  Her head position was beautifully neutral, a product of attention and yoga.   The session proceeded unremarkably, a mixture of circulatory modalities with the occasional fulcrum into areas that were holding onto tension.  She remained silent throughout the session until I  placed a fulcrum into pectoralis major.  She said, “I’m thinking of my brother.”  She took a deep breath, then said, “He died in Iraq last year. This is the first time I have been able to think of him without breaking down.”  She was not overwhelmed by emotion; she was releasing the tension around her heart.  She was able to look beyond what I was doing, to discover what she was doing.

We serve our clients best when we introduce them to themselves.

Ritchie Mintz

by David Lauterstein

I’m not sure you all know that we have a delightful and very special workshop coming up on March 30. It is a don’t-miss experience to for all bodyworkers and massage therapists in Central Texas! This remarkable class is called Fascial Explorations – and the Streams of Life.

It features Ritchie Mintz, one of Austin’s most highly esteemed Rolfers and teachers. It also features a rare appearance of Howard Miller who has been with Wheatsville for many years and is their produce and meat supervisor. Mr. Miller will be contributing a detailed knowledge of anatomy and fascia while Ritchie will be sharing insights from many years of studying, doing Rolfing, and attaining a mastery of working with the body’s fasciae.

Me and David Lauterstein~2I want to share some information about Ritchie Mintz. I first met Ritchie in 1985 when I moved to Austin. Ritchie had been one of the early Rolfing students who was privileged to study directly with Ida P. Rolf. So Ritchie has been devoted to this tradition now for over 30 years. His enthusiasm is contagious and his knowledge from all his experience is vast.

Though a published author for many years, this year has seen the publication of his first book – Foundations of Structural Integration. This book is a labor of love, a superb, personal and professional view of structural integration that is both enlightening and delightful to read.

Ritchie is both a total enthusiast and a total joy. His sense of humor and his vision combine to foster a much deeper knowledge and enjoyment in doing bodywork. Not surprisingly, he is, as befits all Austin therapists in this live music capital of the world, also a musician! He is well known also as a devoted bluegrass banjo player!

A few years ago, I was at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California assisting one of my teachers, Dr. Fritz Smith, who interestingly had been one of the earliest Rolfing students as well. I was sitting in the dining room there when who should appear as if conjured up out of thin air? Ritchie Mintz! Even though we both live here, it had been a year or more since we’d seen each other. What fun! Ritchie and I had a great time and especially since then have enjoyed our mutual admiration more than ever.

I want to encourage you to join Ritchie Mintz and Howard Miller for this unprecedented, stimulating and fun day – exploring the role of fascia in biology and in all the work that we do.

Register for the Fascial Explorations – And the Streams of Life Workshop with Ritchie Mintz and Howard Miller on March 30. CLICK HERE to Register Today!


 photo (21)by Jason Bratcher

In the previous article on the Austin Massage blog I focused on the “Deeper” aspects of Lomi Lomi (it’s a great read and I encourage you to read or reread it and blend it with this new article.) Since Lomi Lomi means to “Weave”, amongst its other definitions, I thought I would weave this article into that.

With the deep waters of Lomi Lomi being explored in the previous article, lets now bring ourselves back up to the surface where we can float effortlessly on the waves of authentic experiences and new learning.

As a veteran therapist I have been surprised at the level of forward progress in our profession. New techniques, new approaches, new methods , clinical therapy, scientifically evidence based, deep structural alignment, all of which have their merits and values and benefits to the physical human condition. It seems as though I am swimming in a sea of so much information and being expected to learn all of it and utilize it and take workshops on it and continue my education.

photo (22)As a teacher of Massage and a practicing therapist this is the realm I live in and to be honest it gets overwhelming and I find myself,at times, wanting to swim in simpler and calmer seas. With my learning comes those breaks where I have to rejuvenate myself and re-affirm why I became a therapist and now an educator. Lomi Lomi surpisingly provided me with that break and re-affirmation.

Not only was it easy enough to pick up it was also challenging enough to get me back into my body and refocus my physical tools to work on others.

Lomi Lomi also,to my surprise, greatly enhanced all the other modalities I learned and enhanced the quality of how I contact bodies. I realized that my forearms were a very valuable tool to utilize and by using them so efficiently I could rescue my hands and wrists from burn out and injury. Lomi Lomi also taught me to,in the midst of my usual compartmentalization of the body, see the body as a whole and to flow around it in such a way that felt not only comfortable but it made sense to my left analytical brain. Lomi Lomi literally weaved its way into everything I did as a therapist. When I first learned it and started to incorporate the techniques into my routines and sessions, my clients started coming back again and again,so much that one year I won an award for being one of the most requested therapists where I worked. This only proved to me the value of what I had learned and the value of applying it to my tool bag of techniques.

What I didn’t expect from this learning was that Lomi Lomi would also re-open my heart and my mind to the endless possibilities of my own growth in not only this profession but in my life.

“E pili mau na pomaika`i ia `oe” ( May Blessings ever be with you)

Learn more and register for the Lomi Lomi Workshop with Jason Bratcher. CLICK HERE to register today!


This is an article I’ve spent a long time writing – for the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education and just published by Massage Today. May it do a WORLD of GOOD.

Please share with other therapists!

Very happy to get these responses already! Thank you most sincerely!

“A very well spoken and balanced perspective on this challenging topic (and we could use a lot more of that balanced perspective!).” – Whitney Lowe (OMERI)

“David hits the nail on the head with this one. Many thanks for bringing a balanced perspective to the collective conversation!”- Kate Ivane Henri Zulaski (COMTA)

Read the entire article – CLICK HERE!