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Quality of contact, integration of the body as a whole, awakening of the sensitivity, rediscovery of the pleasure, here is the Californian massage.  

Same family as the Swedish massage and the massage Esalen, of which it shares certain movements, the Californian massage is characterized by long fluid and harmonious movements which carve and wrap the body, carried out in variable rhythm and tinted of listening and softness. Vigorous manipulations, selected according to customer requirements' get an increased muscular relaxation, while rockings and stretchings invite to the abandonment and make it possible to find a sensory richness registered in the body.   The use of oil supports the art of the touch and contributes to the fluidity of the massage.  

This massage can also evoke the wrapping contact of a mother with her child.   For the person who receives it, it is a touch of love and recognition, which speaks as much with its physical body as with its energy, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies.

Its origin
It is at the beginning of the years 1970 that was born the Californian massage:   within the framework of groups of psychotherapy at the Esalen center, in Big Sur, in California (where the search for true relations, the expression of the feelings and the personal growth precede), the participants lived strong and sometimes painful emotions. They were courageously exposing, revealing intimate facets of their personality and living great moments of vulnerability. Their need being more at the level of comforting tenderness, rocking, stretching and interior unification, that created between them a desire of mutual support and physical bringing together.  

Thus from all these affectionate and abstract exchanges emerged what was going to become the Californian massage. Margareth Elke, a follower of the Swedish massage, filled with enthusiasm by the softness of the Esalen massage, largely contributed, from what she practised already, to codify, structure and teach in a professional way this new massage, both in the United States and in France.

In Quebec, it is mainly Pauline Fortier (graduate in Paris by Brigitte Stacke) and Michel Van Wayenberge (graduate in California by Robert Helm and in Montreal by Pauline Fortier) who brought it among us at the beginning of the Eighties. It is now one of the massages most sought by Quebecois. This massage, at the same time simple to learn by its intuitive character and difficult to control by the listening and the comprehension of the anatomical vision that it requires, is an art to be discovered and to develop!  

First of all, the Californian massage is a massage of relaxation. The long global movements which frame a more specific work invite the person to discover her body, to like it, unify it and leads it to be centered more.  

Through this marvellous interior voyage, the person can put herself in contact with deadened parts of her body, an emotion hidden behind a tension or simply her divine essence. This massage is made of unconditional reception where all is played in the moment that passes. It is this entirety that gives the colour so particular to the Californian massage. It is why that it covers a whole series with names such as:   relational massage, sensitive massage or even " touch of the heart" .

Its benefits
The benefits and are numerous and varied. It is a support for the physical, nervous, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being and it contributes in this direction to:

  • A better irrigation of tissues, thanks to the drainage of venous circulation and lymphatic circulation
  • A return to nervous balance due to the effect of appeasing caused by the stimulation of many nervous terminations during the application of the movements.
  • A psychological effect driving to the blooming of the person, privileging a better structuring of the personality, a better perception of its body diagram and an increase in its personal regard and its assumption of responsibility.
  • A connection to its interior source, by the listening of the messages that its body in this space of exteriorization offers to him.  

Scattered, decentralized, anxious or stress people, will may find it beneficial to try out this massage because it allows a return to oneself, a soft moment of abandonment in interior silence...  

For the people who live big changes in their body (babies, children, teenagers, pregnant women, ageing, slimming, etc), this approach will enable them to become aware and to integrate this transformation harmoniously. People in therapy or those having lived traumatisms like the sexual abuse or physical or verbal violence, etc will find there a good complement with their step. By the awakening of their body memory, they will be able to make essential awakenings, creating necessary space to the release of emotions, which were captive in their body armour. They will be able to thus unify the physical and psychological aspect of their life.  

The people who simply aspire to enter a little further in relation with their body will draw from great advantages raised from happy discovered and new interior expansions.  

The quality of the relation
It goes without saying that the quality of the relation between the massage therapist and the client is essential. The first meeting is capital it is from it that are established the strength fields on which dynamics will be orchestrated. It is the quality of reception that will establish this beautiful exchange. At the beginning, the confidence of the receiver towards the massage therapist is fragile, it is to be built and develop. The role of the donor thus consists in increasing this confidence by respecting the capacity of integration and personal rebuilding of its client.  

The integrity of the professional plays a capital role here. It is in the measurement of its simplicity, its respect, its authenticity, its love and its faith in the other which it will be able to reach and support the emergence of a mutual confidence.  

C'est dans la mesure de sa simplicité, de son respect, de son authenticité, de son amour et de sa foi en l'autre qu'il saura rejoindre et favoriser l'émergence d'une confiance mutuelle.


The most capable tool to develop the receptivity as well at the receiver as in the donor is breathing. This is why the person who receives is invited, as soon as it is extended on the table, to become aware of the circuit of the air by her nostrils to the hollow of her belly. The more the breathing will be full, natural and soft, the more it will be able to fully reach its interior dimensions. This training of breathing is not obvious for all. Also, the massage therapist has a role particularly significant to play as a guide, accompanist and a teacher on this level. With the abandonment of the receiver and the measure of respect, reception and love of the massage therapist, the dynamics of the massage can settle.  

By the depth or softness, the interiority and the entirety of its approach, the Californian massage enables us to enjoy the physical and mental relaxation and to contact our essence it thus brings peace in our hearts.





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