Happy New Year to all my clients, past, present, and future. Today it is the Lunar New Year, the start of the Year of the Rooster! If your plumage is feeling a little bedraggled, now would be the perfect time to come for a rejuvenating Esalen Relaxation Massage. I look forward to getting my hands on you!
Dear friends, As some of you know, I have been away traveling for a few months. I had a fantastic time visiting some exotic destinations in Canada, including:
- Calgary, Alberta, for the Stampede. Yeehaw! Ask to see my boots and cowboy hat!
- The Cariboo, BC – home of the famous gold rush that began in the 1860s
- Montreal, Quebec – for some winter chills of -9 F, with gorgeous snow and ice! And some pretty cool statues.
People often ask me what makes Esalen relaxation massage so special. Of course the signature long stroke is one of the unique aspects of Esalen massage that gives my clients a feeling of pleasure, wholeness, and well-being. And the long-form of sessions that I practice gives me a chance to pamper every part of your body, gently loosening all your joints and relaxing every muscle. But it’s the element of surprise that comes with new and unexpected sensations that adds that little extra something for my clients. Esalen relaxation massage is non-scripted, meaning that each session is a unique interplay between me and my client. And this allows room for spontaneity and exploration of different sensations. Some of my clients like me to tickle or spank them. And I recently read about an awesome masseusse who really knows about sensation play. She bites her clients’ backs! So this has opened up my mind to new possibilities for a massage session. I will be curious to see what happens in my next session! I think the artwork above expresses this element of playfulness and fun so beautifully. An invitation I extend to you…
Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen the series Mad Men yet, and particularly the series finale, stop reading immediately. Go and watch all 92 episodes (it will probably take you about 4 months) and then get back to me. If you have seen the finale, you may not have realized that the retreat center that Don/Dick went to with his free-spirited semi-niece Stephanie is Esalen. That’s right, the same Esalen that gave birth to Esalen massage. I loved the show, and thought the ending was the most perfect ending imaginable. (Even better than the weepy future-deaths finale of Six Feet Under and the ordinary-family-life ending of The Sopranos.) Of course it makes perfect sense that Don Draper would go to Esalen, deal with his issues (people really do that in the encounter groups there—I’ve seen it, I’ve done it), and then find peace meditating on the grass. A creative peace that leads to mid-meditation inspiration and the greatest commercial of all time—Coke’s “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” Of course he came out of retirement, right? I too have had amazing creative inspiration while on meditation retreats in California, though in my case, it was my entire master’s thesis on green funerals. Not quite as catchy as the Coke commercial. So, to my Esalen massage clients, I just wanted to let you know that I’m still thinking of you from the road, and that the final episode is realistic—this kind of thing happens at Esalen all the time! And it happens to people on my massage table too. I’m working on creative projects while away, and just did this tribute to Mad Men as part of my Another New York Love Affair video series. Check it out!
I’ve been at Esalen in Big Sur this past week, catching up with friends in the Esalen community, giving and receiving amazing Esalen massages, learning some new techniques, and taking in the beauty and freedom of this wild, outrageously stunning place. I’ll be back in Manhattan, New York City next week to share the vibe and some new strokes with you! See you soon. Warmly, Karen
Reiki is an energetic healing art that complements Esalen relaxation massage in a subtle way. I am an attuned Reiki master, and the healing energy of Reiki naturally flows through my hands when I give an Esalen relaxation massage. I often use Reiki explicitly for energetic balancing and healing at the completion of an Esalen relaxation massage. Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by laying on hands (in a specific pattern) and is based on the idea that an unseen life force energy or ki flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s ki is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy. A Reiki treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Like Esalen relaxation massage, Reiki treats the whole person—including body, emotions, mind, and spirit—creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security, and well-being. If you have particular injuries that you are currently healing, I can bring additional healing Reiki energy to the injury during the massage. Let me know when you schedule your appointment, and we can discuss your needs in detail during our chat in my Manhattan studio before the massage begins.
I usually play jazz while giving an Esalen relaxation massage. I started doing this intuitively when I began my massage practice, mostly because it was the only type of music in my collection that seemed to have the right feeling and flow for the massage. I love going to the Village Vanguard and other jazz venues around Manhattan to hear the incredible abundance of world-class jazz musicians that play here in New York, and I’ve been learning from listening to the music and talking to the musicians. Today I realized that what I love about giving an Esalen relaxation massage and what I love about listening to live jazz is the thing they have in common—infinite variety and improvisation. It’s possible that no two performances of a song are the same, and this is definitely true of Esalen relaxation massage. With jazz, there is a framework that the musicians work within, so that the thing comes together as a cohesive song, but there are times within the song when the musicians take off with elements of the song and the vibe in the audience and whatever they are channeling through their soul in that moment, and they create and express something new and unique. This feels magical, and the audience is transported on a journey with the musician. I have really felt like I’m flying with the music, and never wanted to come down. (And no, it wasn’t the appletini!) This is the same type of groove that makes me and my clients love Esalen massage. There is a framework I work within—certain elements that I bring into every massage, because they are essential. And I make sure to give attention to every part of the body, and hopefully do roughly similar things on each side, so the body feels in balance and harmonious. I forgot to do a practice client’s foot, back in the beginning when I was still learning, and he wasn’t too happy about it. I said, “Imagine that I did it.” And he said, “Then why not just imagine I had the whole massage.” Point taken! 🙂 But within that framework there is an infinite variety of strokes, and variations of sequence, pressure, and so on. And then there is that mysterious element of improvisation that just takes over, causing me to explore a whole new way of touching a finger, or a face. This is the magical aspect of Esalen relaxation massage that I can never predict, but that I love to discover with each new client. It is a response in the moment between our two bodies and souls, unique each time, even with clients I massage regularly. For me, the integration of a John Coltrane extended note as I flow with a stroke down a limb is one of the juiciest, jazziest things I can imagine doing. It satisfies my heart.
Erotic MassageSexological bodywork involves a combination of bodywork, breathwork, education, and massage that I use to assist others in going deeper into their erotic experience. This form of bodywork addresses some of the most intimate human emotions and experiences. You can choose sexological bodywork simply to experience deeper pleasure and expand your capacity for feeling erotic pleasure throughout your entire body.
Erotic EducationSexological bodywork can also help people deal with issues related to sexual shame, desire, identity, and transformation. It is also a powerful tool for integrating the sexual and spiritual aspects of our being into a harmonious whole, offering the possibility of using erotic energy to open into wondrous spiritual realms.
Couples CoachingSexological bodywork is also a wonderful tool for couples coaching, to assist you in deepening your intimacy with your partner. I use a variety of modalities to help you reach your goals. This could include hands-on demonstration and coaching of erotic massage techniques, if appropriate. I also use other methods such as video coaching, partner exercises, and homework assignments.
Sexological Bodywork ModalitiesI am a Certified Sexological Bodyworker and tantric educator. I use various modalities during a sexological bodywork session, after discussing your goals and determining the best approach for you. Possibilities include:
- Fire on the Mountain Taoist Erotic Massage for Men
- Fire in the Valley Taoist Erotic Massage for Women
- Breathwork and conscious movement
- Masturbation coaching
- Prostate massage
- Couples coaching
- Post-surgical massage and healing
My Manhattan and New Jersey clients often tell me that my Esalen relaxation massage was the best massage they have ever received. Esalen relaxation massage evokes the feelings of bliss and pleasure that are inherent in being alive, but which we sometimes lose touch with in our busy lives. I believe this bliss and pleasure is our birthright, and that we all deserve to feel this way. One of the things that has surprised me in my practice of Esalen relaxation massage is the feelings of youthful rejuvenation that my clients experience. More than one client has commented after the massage that they felt reawakened feelings of sexual aliveness and potency that he or she thought they would never experience again. (Yes, both men and women experience this rejuvenating aliveness!) This is the power of Esalen relaxation massage—to re-awaken all of the cells of the body, which brings a rejuvenating effect that makes people feel younger, juicy, and sexy! I love seeing my clients experience this benefit. As one client said, “It made me realize I was still sexually alive and it felt soo good!” We all have this potential—to feel the full pleasure that our bodies are capable of, through every decade of our lives. Picasso once said it takes a long time to grow young! The possibility is always here, and Esalen relaxation massage provides one way to open this door. I love the book Still Doing It, which promotes women’s sexual aliveness in their later years. And of course I want this for men as well!
I think the reason humans have been massaging each other since time immemorial is that it just feels good. Pretty simple! I talked in a previous post about the science behind our need for touch. But here I would like to explore the pleasure of massage in a more intuitive way. Being touched has a profound emotional as well as physical impact. Being touched makes us feel connected to another human being. It makes us feel loved. It lands us in the direct experience of our body, which means more of a focus on the pleasure of sensation, rather than our day-to-day concerns of the mind. Spending a few hours simply focusing on different bodily sensations and stimuli is deeply relaxing and pleasurable. And it is completely natural to enjoy this pleasure by feeling sensations of sexual arousal. It is artificial to separate sexual pleasure from any other type of physical pleasure. I want my clients to feel completely comfortable with any sensations that might arise during an Esalen relaxation massage session at my Manhattan studio. It is very common for men and women to feel sexual arousal as part of the sensual pleasure of an Esalen relaxation massage. If this happens, please don’t worry about it. I think it’s wonderful. I hope you will simply enjoy it. And perhaps learn that your entire body can be a source of this type of pleasure. How delightful!