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May 27, 2011

The Best Massage I Ever Had | A National Holistic Institute Teacher’s Account of the Perfect Massage

I can’t tell you how excited I was the other day to get the best massage I had ever had; it was a dream come true.

He too was a Graduate of NHI. He definitely knew his stuff and the most distinguishing thing was the confidence that came through in his work.

Like me, he started out Prone (positioned lying flat) and worked the back a ton; long ironing strokes that I guess you could say were effleurage, but kneaded the muscle as they ran from neck to sacrum. I think he used every tool available, hands, fists, sides of the hand, whole forearms and the elbows too. He then did awesome work on my Traps that really pulled the Traps away from where they had been living just under my ears. It was like lower neck work and back work combined. Somewhere in there he was working the arm, Axilla, Scapula, and Deltoids too. It felt like my Scapula got thoroughly moved & flipped around and put back a little lower than when I brought it in to be worked on and the Delts & arm felt like the way a towel feels when you wring it out after falling into the pool.

As I had hoped, he finally got around to working on my legs, I have very long legs and I always hope that people really get as much of the muscle worked on as possible. Well this therapist did and I think it’s because he was a cyclist too. Hams, Adductors, the IT Band, all worked on with tons of movement for the Knee and a reshaping on my Gastrocs & Soleus. It was most certainly not the typical lighter Swedish, it was deep ploughing & ironing that made my legs soo happy mostly because the work definitely felt like it didn’t just address the area we call the “Back” of the leg but all around the leg. He rolled it around in different directions to be able to better access the sides that were not just facing up. When he was done I could only say that my legs felt “Floppy” and I loved it.

Thorough, professional, deep but also very in tune with what he was doing as to not work too deep on the knots or just think one pressure is good for every part of the body. He watched my reaction and adjusted the pressure accordingly.

Finishing with some forehead swipes & scalp work was just a wonderful way to close out this massage that I would come back for again & again if I could. The massage was perfect! But alas, I only received it in my own imagination. Haven’t we all dreamed of receiving the same massage we give to others?!

The Golden Rule really applies everything, including massage. “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto to you”. Stay present in your work, use empathy and ask yourself what everything would feel like and be open to the feedback of the clients as if you were hearing the compliment or criticism from yourself.

~Mark Nielsen, CMT and NHI instructor extraordinaire :)