For 10 years Jason Bratcher has been facilitating and teaching Hawaiian Temple Bodywork (Lomilomi) in Texas. In those years, he has created an extraordinary 3-day intensive workshop that takes students on a journey of Lomilomi bodywork. Students get the benefits of learning to use their forearms as a primary tool of application and to be more effective with their body mechanics. Efficacy in the approach to client consultation and work done in sessions is also learned. There is a bit of a cultural feel in the workshop but also a sense of family and community and being inclusive, an “Aloha Spirit”, if you will, that permeates the classes leaving students feeling empowered and transformed and eager to get back out there and practice their healing craft.
Classes like these offer students ideas to design and manage their sessions well while maintaining good timing and having a sense of flow and longevity in their practice. The techniques used preserve the therapist’s wrists and thumbs from burnout and injury, which is a major benefit of this style of work. In addition, learning how to move around a massage table more effectively and with grace also gives students a sense of interconnectedness to working with a client on a massage table and helps students to get out of fixed positions and stances that can leave them feeling exhausted. The benefits to the practitioner are felt by the client as an increased sense of fluidity and intention throughout the session. These are aspects of what Jason teaches and students love it.
“Lomilomi bodywork has expanded and energized my massage practice and my life. [Sacred] Temple Lomilomi is so much more than just another massage technique. The emphasis on compassion and the sacred nature of the work has had a profound effect on my internal well-being as well as my interactions with others both in and outside of work. Jason does an amazing job of preparing a safe and sacred space for transformation and personal and therapeutic development. I am beyond grateful to have him as a teacher and to experience this workshop.”
– Sara Schoonover
When the idea of an “expanded/advanced” Lomilomi class was introduced, Jason had some pretty unique ideas about what that workshop would look like and how it would be taught. “I wanted to give students a few more techniques to add to what they had already learned in the 3-day workshop and have those techniques be a bit more comprehensive. I also wanted to share some ideas and applied practical philosophies regarding what a “Shamanic Bodywork” practice would look and feel like, and also give some deeper explanations as to why these techniques are performed as they are” says Jason Bratcher of Austin Lomilomi Bodyworks.
Jason also goes on to explain that, “There is a different feel to Hawaiian Temple Bodywork. It could almost be explained as “energetic” but with a real practical application that would not only benefit the clients but also the practitioner as well. The licensed practitioners in the bodywork realm seem to be thirsty for this kind of teaching as they want to tap into deeper aspects of their “healer nature” and apply that in their practice.”
For example:” I will share a technique and explanation both practical and energetic. The ‘Heart Embrace’ technique, taught in the class, is one that involves your forearm lightly placed on the client’s sternum and at the same time, the other arm and hand is underneath the client’s back in the space between the spine and the scapula. A gentle lifting and pressing motion allows the client to move up and down slightly, feeling as though they are being embraced- the feeling energetically is of ‘opening the heart space’ where once it may have been closed off. (Notice how clients are protracted forward with poor posture due to our cell phone technology. Emotionally they may be closed off and sunken in). This technique and movement, dynamic in its approach, but gentle in its feel, may produce a feeling of total openness and an emotional and energetic sense of freedom and feeling that that embrace is safe. From a practical application standpoint, we are gently working the sternum and costal cartilage of the ribs and loosening a stuck-like feeling that gives a client more of a sense of openness when they take a breath allowing more oxygen into their lungs. This technique is a unique sternum and ribcage loosening one that can give a client a message to ‘stand up with confidence and power’. There is always an emotional component and physical component to applying any technique. Those of us who have been massaging for years can understand this and beginners are ‘beginning’ to understand this. So why not familiarize yourself with these ideas and concepts and apply them literally and see how it works for you? This and other ideas and explanations of other techniques are explained in this balanced way in the workshops.”
In order to attend this “Expanded/Advanced Lomilomi workshop” one would have had to take the 3-day workshop, however, Jason maintains that those who have studied and practiced Lomilomi in the temple style (and it is a popular one) would be welcomed in the class and would be able to pick up and understand what is being taught since this workshop is a kind of “supplemental” integration to the training that would have already been received. “I make things challenging but I make it easy,” Jason says “If you have a good understanding of the forearm flow of this work you are going to be able to pick up these new techniques for the front and back of the body very easily. The challenge is opening your mind and heart to the possibility of what these techniques are doing for clients and how you are applying them with your whole self, mind, body, and however you define heart or spirit. This is an energetic class but this is also a practical hands-on applied class”.