Plans to start the training program have been suspended for the time being as I pursue another life calling overseas in South Korea. Thank you for understanding! If you'd like to learn a little bit more about why I turned my life upside down and surrendered everything I have ever known and built for myself, please check out my blog:
A one-on-one instructional training program in one of the most efficient, sustainable deep tissue massage techniques in the world for professional bodyworkers that can eliminate practice-related chronic hand and wrist pain completely.
WHAT is Symphonic Massage?
Symphonic Massage is an advanced bodywork technique in which one practitioner uses her hands, forearms, elbows, knees and shins to achieve multiple points of conscious therapeutic contact, creating the rhythmic, rolling sensation of being massaged by two or even three practitioners at once. It is the art of using controlled body weight before strength to do deep tissue work, enabling the practitioner to offer the deepest work on the market while preserving his own body integrity.
1) To raise the bar for what clients can expect from massage.
2) To instruct certified massage therapists in how to leave no leaf unturned: to thoroughly warm up and work every part of the body imaginable from every single direction possible in the same amount of time or less that a regular massage would take.
3) To differentiate convex surface pressure (yang/masculine) from concave surface pressure (yin/feminine) and instruct on how to use both in harmonious tandem, stirring the body's instinctual draw toward musicality and rhythm.
4) To introduce broad surface pressure (knee and shin-based) in comparison to acute surface pressure (elbow and forearm-based).
5) To offer massage therapists a means to avoid burn-out and chronic injuries of the hands and wrists from overuse.
6) To give massage therapists options for continuing to safely work should they acutely injure one of their limbs.
7) To accomplish all of the above while making the act of giving massage more sustainable for the practitioner by taking the exertion away from the hands and upper body and transferring half or more of it into the knees and lower body.
WHY should I learn it? (14 PRINCIPLES OF SYMPHONIC MASSAGE):
1) PILLOWS AND BRICKS: Almost all of us work on clients who have denser tissues than our own, particularly if we are female practitioners working on male clients. Being a practitioner of lighter and slighter build doing deep tissue work on densely-muscled clients day in and day out can be like continuously throwing a pillow against a brick wall. Eventually, the process will wear on the pillow. Save your strength for yourself by learning how to use weight before strength to take care of others.
2) KNOWING ANATOMY VS. REACHING IT: You can have all the anatomical knowledge in the world, but if you can't physically reach the deepest parts of the anatomy on clients of all builds, you're only halfway there. Symphonic Massage allows you to effectively access the densest and innermost soft tissues such as the piriformis with precision and incredible depth that might otherwise be inaccessible with just hands, forearms and elbows.
3) TIME AND MONEY: You will be able to offer your clients twice or thrice the amount of bodywork they would otherwise receive during a regular massage, making receiving a Symphonic Massage the most time and cost-efficient bodywork available on the market.
4) TO GIVE TO A WHOLE BODY, ONE MUST BE IN THEIR WHOLE BODY: Just as receiving Symphonic Massage is a whole body experience for the client, giving massage should be a whole body experience for the practitioner. Symphonic Massage is performed on a low table and allows you to bring over half the exertion down into your lower body, freeing up your hands and forearms to do lighter pressure detail work simultaneously.
5) COUNTERBALANCE: Defined as "to offset," it acknowledges the negative effects of a repetition on one spectrum side, and employs an activity at the opposite side of the spectrum to counter it. Two opposing actions cancel out strain from both and multiply the positives derived from both.
6) SIMULTANEOUS INTERCONNECTION: The hip joints directly affect the shoulder joints, the thoracic relates to the lumbar, the cervical relates to the sacral. You will learn how to safely, attentively and masterfully counterbalance two, three and even four parts of the body ALL AT ONCE while feeling like you are exerting yourself less than if you were working only with your upper body.
7) CONVEX, BROAD SURFACE PRESSURE: Massaging with the knees and shins allows you to offer convex broad surface pressure that is unattainable with concave hands and pointy elbows and forearms. Convex, broad surface pressure encourages clients to relax into receiving where they might not be able to otherwise. I have had clients tell me they feel safer with Symphonic Massage's unique broad pressure than they have with elbow and forearm-based massage and that they are more open to receiving deeper work as a result.
8) YIN AND YANG: All of our earthly experiences feel fuller and better when both yin and yang energies are working tangibly in balance. Every Symphonic Massage stroke combination has at least one yang stroke and one yin stroke going at the same time. Most have several of each. Convex knee strokes (yang) push downward from above while concave hand strokes (yin) pull simultaneously upward, cupping and supporting the body, creating the feeling of being gently embraced and proactively manipulated at the same time. Still other Symphonic Massage strokes implement a broad concave surface surrounding an acute convex surface, enabling the tissues to receive deep work more openly.
9) GROUNDING FROM YOUR CORE: Practicing regular massage requires grounding through your feet on the floor. When you ground through your feet, you are pushing energy away from yourself into the floor as you are also pushing energy away from yourself toward your client. Symphonic massage grounds from your core. When you ground from your core, you are PULLING energy in toward yourself to counterbalance the energy you are PUSHING away from you as you massage. To maintain balance requires pulling an equal amount of energy toward you as you push away from you. Too many massage therapists are burning out because they are giving (pushing) more than they are taking (pulling).
10) PUZZLE PIECING: For each part of your body that you use to massage, a part of the client's body fits its size and shape perfectly the way jigsaw puzzle pieces fit together. You will learn which parts of your body work most effectively to massage which parts of your clients' bodies. For example, your knees sink perfectly into glutes while your fingers fit immaculately between intercostals.
11) NINJA DRAPING: Often described as a combination of Swedish, deep tissue and Thai yoga, many Symphonic Massage techniques include range-of-motion techniques for passive stretching, puzzle piecing and to address muscles in both their lengthened and shortened forms. One of the most important parts of inviting clients to surrender into a passive stretch is actively engaging with them through your draping. You will learn how to integrate proactive, comfortable, secure draping with every range of motion-based combo.
12) BUTTRESSING FOR PRECISE WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION: The most important things you will learn during your training are how to carefully and intricately control the amount of weight you put behind each of your strokes through buttressing and how to distribute your weight between your multiple points of contact. You will learn how to use your own unique weight, flexibility and proportions to safely offer Symphonic Massage to almost any individual.
13) RHYTHM AND MUSICALITY THROUGH TOUCH: Music is not just heard through the ears; it is felt by every cell and organ. The heart beats with the rhythm of life itself, meaning that so long as one lives and even in silence, one will never be without her own internal music. You will learn to connect with this inner music and "freestyle" along with it. Symphonic Massage is about learning to play a body like a musical instrument. It is "literally, a bodywork symphony," complete with crescendos, staccatos, choruses and a bridge.
14) NOT JUST FOR DEEP TISSUE: While it is through deep tissue work that it shines, Symphonic Massage in its most advanced form can also be done at medium and light pressure with proper buttressing so that those who do not need or want deep tissue work can experience the wonders of multiple points of conscious contact, convex broad surface pressure, yin and yang stroke balancing, puzzle piecing and more. Some of my most successful Symphonic Massage sessions have been distinctly light in pressure throughout. To master your own body and core control to the point where you can hover and perch almost weightlessly like a bird over and beside your client as you work is an exhilarating experience.
HOW will training go?:
ONE-ON-ONE: All training sessions will be taught by me as private lessons at my office. Hence, the cost per session appears higher than it would be for a workshop situation. I feel teaching one-on-one is integral to your success because each student's mass, proportions, flexibility, core strength, coordination and overall body awareness differ greatly. These differences drastically affect how Symphonic Massage is adopted and integrated by each individual. Whereas regular massage can be taught relatively uniformly across the board, my job as instructor is to help you modify the style and possibly invent strategies to complement your unique body and physical capacities.
SAFETY: Learning to massage while balanced on the table contorted into never-before-experienced positions while making several strokes happen at once carries inherently greater risk than learning one stroke at a time while standing on the ground. I take the safety of both my students and their volunteer receivers very seriously. Teaching one-on-one allows me to be vigilant and connected with both the student and receiver at all times and to provide timely, precise navigation for each element of every stroke combination as it happens.
ATTIRE: Doing Symphonic Massage is best done barefoot and requires bare skin from mid-thigh down to your feet. A short-sleeved or sleeveless top, mid-length shorts or pants that roll up to mid-thigh are recommended.
EQUIPMENT: No additional equipment beyond what is required to do regular table massage is necessary for doing Symphonic Massage. You can bring your own lotion or oil to your lessons or you can use mine (Zen Organics lavender-scented).
VOLUNTEER RECEIVERS: Please bring a volunteer receiver who likes deep tissue work to your first few lessons so that you can watch how each stroke is done before trying it. After a few sessions, if we both agree that you are ready to learn via verbal and experiential guidance only, you are welcome to forego bringing a volunteer and you would work on me after I demo the strokes on you.
SESSION LENGTH: 90min tutorials are generally a good baseline. 2-hour tutorials are also available. Regular prices are as follows: 90min ($80), 2hrs ($100). All sessions are $20 off regular prices for a limited time.
HOW MANY SESSIONS: This is entirely up to you. Things to consider are how quickly you find yourself learning, retaining and integrating the technique into your weekly massage practice after your tutorials. How confident are you feeling in your ability to buttress safely and control your depth of pressure on more sensitive clients? One is ready to "graduate" when they are making up their own combinations left and right because Symphonic Massage is more about developing the entirety of how you work and less about memorizing a few standardized strokes. My last student successfully completed about ten 90min tutorials over several months and received about as many Symphonic Massages in between as part of his learning experience.
FILMING: Filming video of the demos is a great learning tool. You are welcome to set up your own camera phone or video recorder during your lessons.
CERTIFICATION: A Certification Program and Continuing Education Units (CEU's) will be available for Symphonic Massage within the next year.
Symphonic Massage Training is open to male and female certified massage therapists and other licensed bodywork professionals. A strong background in yoga, martial arts, dance or other movement practice is highly recommended.
I also recommend receiving a massage from me to find out whether it is something you'd like to offer in your own practice. I offer sessions out of my private office 7 days a week and for Bistro staff and clients, at the Bodywork Bistro. Mention this training to receive $20 off your first session at my private office. Bistro staff can receive their staff discount on Bistro massage rates.
WHEN: Lessons are by individual appointment. Slots are available 7 days a week, afternoons and evenings.
WHERE: All lessons are conducted at my massage space: 5757 Central Ave., Suite A4, Boulder, CO 80301.
1) Is there an "ideal" candidate for practicing Symphonic Massage?
Anybody that is fit it enough to be practicing bodywork or other soft tissue manipulation regularly and professionally will benefit greatly from learning how to massage with all four of their limbs. What each practitioner will need to discover for themselves is whether they would like to offer full Symphonic Massage sessions, to integrate Symphonic Massage with other styles on a case by case basis or to adopt the technique only for working the areas on clients that run the highest risk of compromising their own body integrity. I firmly believe that every massage therapist should have Symphonic Massage as part of their arsenal for addressing the glutes, hips, hamstrings and the deepest muscles in the hip girdle at the very least because these muscles are substantially larger and denser than most practitioners' hands and forearms and so should be addressed accordingly (see #1 PILLOWS AND BRICKS and #10 PUZZLE PIECING of PRINCIPLES above). Hips, glutes and hamstrings are more difficult to apply deep pressure to on almost all builds. The piriformis specifically is one of the most pivotal muscles to address on clients looking for low back pain relief. It is easily reached Symphonically and comparably taxing to reach any other way. That being said, athletic practitioners who are nimble, flexible in their hip joints and light on their feet will take to fully integrating Symphonic Massage most easily due to their well-developed balance, core strength and control.
2) There is a lot more physical contact that goes on during a Symphonic Massage as compared to regular massage. Have you ever had a client misinterpret its intention as being sexual in nature?
The quality of your contact and your true intentions for the session will override any misconceptions around the quantity of your contact. The knees are hard, convex surfaces that charge forward with yang energy, while sexual or sensual exchange is concave, embracing and yin in nature. In a different context than bodywork, knees are so yang that they can be used as weapons. That subtle association does well to clarify the separation.
3) How can it be that with all the strokes that are going on during a Symphonic Massage, it is "less effort" for the practitioner than doing regular massage? This doesn't make sense logically.
Because weight and gravity are involved, Symphonic Massage takes certain points of logic behind regular massage and turns them upside down. With regular massage, lighter work requires less effort than deep tissue while with Symphonic Massage, deeper work requires less effort than light work because you are not required to hold back as much of your weight.
4) How does Symphonic Massage compare to and differ from Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy?
Both Ashiatsu and Symphonic Massage are weight before strength-based massage techniques. Both are tremendous deep tissue techniques that utilize sweeping flow reminiscent of Swedish massage. However, Ashiatsu is practiced in a more upright walking position, with a higher center of gravity and with the practitioner's feet as the primary contact point. Ashiatsu requires special apparatus (bars) installed in the ceiling for balancing and meticulous maintenance of the feet. Symphonic massage employs the feet only for buttressing and guiding assisted stretches and requires no additional equipment installation. Addressing multiple points of conscious contact at once is also unique to Symphonic Massage.
5) I am experiencing hand and wrist pain from overuse during massage. Do you have any recommendations as to what else I can do to solve this problem beyond practicing Symphonic Massage?
Many fun activities are possible to further counterbalance the heavy hand and wrist impact that all CMT's deal with. Any aerial activity that requires hanging from your arms and pulling yourself upward will counterbalance the the constant compression happening in the joints of your hands, wrists and shoulders by decompressing them via gravity. Examples include aerial yoga, aerial silks, pole, trapeze, lyra and other circus arts, certain elements of parkour and gymnastics (bars and rings) and all types of rock climbing. You can also resistance train with small weights (5 lbs. or less) or a theraband where extension of the wrist to counterbalance constant flexion is the goal.
6) What other activities in life employ "grounding from your core?"
All activities that require balance: surfing, snowboarding, skating, etc. My favorite example is singing and dancing at the same time. Grounding from your core means maintaining stillness within while everything around you is moving or vibrating.
7) Are there any medical conditions that Symphonic Massage is especially effective at treating?
Without a doubt, sciatica, low back pain, hip pain and other issues originating from the hip girdle and psoas. Symphonic Massage is highly effective at stirring the fascial system and treating most sports-related injuries to the soft tissues. It increases all the positive effects of regular massage.
8) Are there any body parts that cannot be addressed through Symphonic Massage?
The only areas that are best not directly massaged by the knees are the neck, face, cranium and ribs because of their small size, intricacies and delicate nature. However, indirectly they are very much a part of the Symphonic Massage experience as you can use your hands to work them while you are working other areas of your body with your other limbs.