top of page

What is Esalen Massage?

Esalen massage

comes from the sea.

Esalen Massage comes from Big Sur, California, where the institute is located on a cliff just above the Pacific Ocean.
The movement of the waves below inspired the movement of the hands during the massage. 
Esalen massage is a dance: between body and breath, client and practitioner, stillness and movement.

The massage has a uniquely slow rhythm with long continuous strokes moving up and down the body, allowing the receiver to sink into a sea of bliss and relaxation.

With long strokes that flow over the body like waves, Esalen massage is capable of inducing a state of deep relaxation. On average the human body is composed of about 60% water. When touched with a flowing presence the body responds by letting go of stress and tension and returning to a natural state of stillness and calm.

As Esalen Massage practitioners, we flow like water over the surface and into the depths of our client’s tissues, using gravitational energy as the source for our flowing movements.”
-Esalen Massage Training Manual

Esalen Massage began in the 1960s at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, which is a center dedicated to exploring human potential. Many master bodyworkers and teachers came and taught at Esalen, such as Moshe Feldenkrais, Fritz Perls, and Ida Rolf. Each had an impact on the development of Esalen massage and brought unique ideas and techniques to the massage.
The Esalen Institute places emphasis on the importance of awareness and massage was used as a way to bring the body into a deep relaxation which created a heightened state of awareness of bodily perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. At Esalen awareness is an important key to self-discovery and inner growth.

Esalen Massage is sometimes called an “awareness practice” because of this.

Another key aspect of Esalen Massage is integration. Esalen Massage seeks to give a sense of wholeness in the body as well as to integrate the body, mind, and spirit. For this reason Esalen Massage is a full body massage and traditionally sessions at the Institute are 1.5 hours long, in order to allow enough time to give every part of the body attention.

At Massage Baum we offer 90 minute, 75 minute, or 60 minute massage sessions, and we recommend 75 minutes to really give the body enough time to integrate and sink into the deeper state of relaxation.

bottom of page