By David Lauterstein
It is one of the great honors for our school, The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School (TLC) that people around the world are interested in the things we have developed in our curriculum which we have worked on now for over 30 years.
I have had the privilege in particular of teaching the modalities of Deep Massage and Zero Balancing over the years in Portland, Oregon, Santa Cruz, Tucson, Minneapolis, Chicago, Orlando, New York, Boston, at the Downeast School in Maine, New Orleans, Santa Fe, in Montana, Iowa, and Maryland.
In addition, our Deep Massage courses have been presented for over 20 years in England and in Wales!
Recently, I was invited to teach in Costa Rica. This was my first trip further south than Mexico and I was a little anxious! They said all I needed were t-shirts and shorts to wear. Really? But the mail was not dependable so I needed to bring down 14 copies of my Deep Massage Book for the students. (Needless to say even with t-shirts and shorts and a few other essential items, with 14 books my suitcase was just under 50 pounds.)
Plus I was asked to bring my guitar that, wonderfully I have to say, is this great creation of Journey Instruments that is designed to separate the neck from the body of the guitar and fits into a cool backpack that can go in the overhead compartment of the plane.
The trip was relatively easy and thankfully I arrived with another instructor who had been there before – the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy – Sandy Anderson, who, my first day, gave me a wonderful orientation to the food stores and the beachfront area.
Every day I went to the ocean for a long walk around dawn. It was beautiful and I felt like I learned a lot from feeling and looking at the sky, the ocean waves, the sand and shells, the birds, the swimmers and the surfers.
The wonderful students were from all over the U.S. plus two resident instructors, Jan Frus and Kate Steffanich, all very bright.
I honestly enjoyed blowing everyone’s mind with the special integration we have developed in our bodywork style and content. From the start we saw what is a constant reaction to our teaching. Massage therapists are so deeply relieved and inspired when they encounter a modality that is deep, but is not a manual labor full of excessive effort.
In the Deep Massage that we teach, we see that relaxation is something the client does by having their nervous system react to high quality touch. It has much more to do with the energy of the therapeutic relationship created through tender, loving care, mindful attention, and very high touch quality – much less to do with effortful pressure. We have enough pressure in our lives!
Plus, of course, a deeper knowledge and appreciation of muscular and skeletal anatomy is evoked in the teaching that helps each student really see the body and people in general in new ways.
We explored these theories and techniques of how to engage both energy and structure through Deep Massage each day from 8:00 to 4:30. Virtually every day was sunny with a high in the low 80’s, beautifully punctuated only by one whole day of torrential downpour – it felt like the ocean had ascended, gone inland as sky, and just opened up on us all day long.
The classroom was open on three sides – no walls – so the powerful rain right beside us had a dramatic and immediate effect of seeming to wash away all tensions that no longer served the massage receivers. An extraordinary day!
My trip back was easy and I feel refreshed and re-inspired.
We treasure new experiences, whether they be directly through touch or of this one for me, teaching in a whole new place. The great bodyworker, Moshe Feldenkrais, said a person can’t change unless they have a new experience. Well, in light of that and these travels to new places, the latest in Costa Rica, you can consider me a changed man.
Here’s a video they did during the workshop:
~ David Lauterstein