This article originally appeared in the Florida State Massage Therapy Magazine, Massage Message.
Imagine yourself sitting on the cliffs of the Santa Lucia Mountain range in Big Sur, California looking out at the Pacific Ocean. You hear the crash of the ocean waves below and a sea otter as it floats on its back cracking shells. You see an occasional condor soaring above. The sun is shining, the air is filled with the smell of sea water and sulphur from the hot springs. The hot water bubbles up from under the earth and pours into the large bath tubs.
People from all over the world, and all walks of life, gather to bathe in these pools of healing waters and experience the beauty of nature and the magic of the place. This sacred ground, the Esalen Institute, once home to the Esselen Indians, is the birthplace of Esalen massage.
For perhaps the first time since the dark, salty silence of the womb, I found myself in a place where strain was fundamentally not required. Again, you can't know how profound that really is until you experience it.