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Do You Know the Biggest Health Secret?
by David Lauterstein



Editor's Note from David Burrows: Many of us, including me, have heard of Mayan Abdominal Massage and wondered about it.  What is it?  Is it exotic?  This article by leading massage educator David Lauterstein presents his down-to-earth view of abdominal massage.  The article originally appeared prior to a workshop on Mayan Abdominal Massage in order to educate people about the benefits of this type of bodywork.


Perhaps the biggest health secret humankind needs to hear is being carried by the bodywork profession! What do you think it is?

Ever since Ida Rolf stressed the important of verticality and the role that fascia plays in that – we have seen, in essence, the final step in human evolution.

Most humans are stuck to some extent though – still leaning over like half-apes sometimes (and behaving that way sometimes too!).

What’s the problem?

I call it hypersympathetonia (HST for short). People are stuck in “fight or flight”. When they are stuck there, they stay defended. And the primary psycho-physical defense is to stay in flexion.

Again and again we therapists see the terrible health consequences of being chronically forwardly flexed:

 * not enough room to breathe
 * chronic back pain resulting from hunched over posture
 * compromises in gait with an unbalanced body
 * inability to access one’s gut feelings
 * compromises in digestion, assimilation and elimination
 * compromise of the thorax – the heart’s environment
 * pain in the shoulders and neck
 * forward head that accompanies flexion ultimately compromises blood flow to the brain

Clients are in pain, they’re under-oxygenating their bodies. they have diminished access to their feelings, they can’t think or even walk straight. That’s a HOST OF BIG PROBLEMS!

What’s the secret then?

GO TO THE BELLY! There is no other place so desperately needing attention in the body!


You cannot even begin to remedy the dire consequences of chronic flexion without going to the center and to the musculoskeletal source of chronic forward flexion – tension in rectus abdominis, iliopsoas and other abdominal muscles and organs.

That is why knowledgeable abdominal massage is perhaps the most important skill we need to help our clients.

Yes I know they won’t come in asking for it, usually. But when they begin to experience the benefits of opening here – THAT THEY CAN NOT GET ANY OTHER WAY – clients begin to want those results again.

When we make peace with our bellies and open up, it will be a new world.



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About the Author
David Lauterstein, BA (Music Composition), LMT, MTI, Cert. ZB, TLC School Co-Director, has been in massage and bodywork practice since 1977 and has become one of the most highly respected international educators in the massage therapy realm. He is the recipient of the American Massage Therapy Association’s Jerome Perlinski 2012 Teacher of the Year Award.  David regularly teaches in England and throughout the U.S since 1982. He is the author of the books, Putting the Soul Back in the Body: A Manual of Imaginative Anatomy for Massage Therapists  and The Deep Massage Book: How to Combine Structure and Energy in Bodywork. He is certified in Structural Bodywork and in Zero Balancing and is the founder of Deep Massage: The Lauterstein Method. He is a faculty member of the Zero Balancing Health Association. His background prior to massage therapy was in philosophy and music composition (BA, U of Illinois, 1972). Click here to learn more about David, his books, and classes.





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