In all of the classes we teach, the emphasis is on providing an atmosphere conducive to learning, collaboration, and cooperation. Although techniques and protocols are presented systematically and sequentially, we don’t want the students to learn only by rote or to become “cookbook” technicians. We strive for them to understand the principles, the why and how of the material, so that they can feel confident in using their newly-acquired skills in creative and adaptive ways once the seminar is over.
The classes are designed to present the material to each of the channels of learning: visual, auditory and kinesthetic through the use of visual aids (Powerpoint slides, videos, illustrations, props), a minimum of lecture, with Q&A, and plenty of supervised, hands-on practice. There is a strong emphasis on proper biomechanics during all hands-on work, based on the concept that if the therapist is moving with personal integrity, biomechanical effort is decreased and a deep sense of connection is available to and from the client.
Technique correction is offered in a positive, affirming way, and participants are encouraged to critique each other in the same way.
We like to say that we maintain an atmosphere of “controlled chaos” which allows the students to relax and enjoy the learning experience, thereby allowing them to absorb more material than they realize. Learning occurs easily in this way.
In all of our classes, we remind the participants that the material presented is only the jumping-off point, a new chapter for their own journey of development as massage therapists and bodyworkers. The techniques are a foundation on which to build other skills like listening, palpating, and treating. They are encouraged to be creative with the work even while they are being thorough and specific in their treatment. Their ability to achieve results rests on their dedication to learning and using the techniques accurately, intuitively, and creatively.