The Healing Art of Deep Bodywork®: Deep Tissue Skills for Massage Practitioners

Register Now!

For further information on course content contact us at johannaholloman@gmail.com.

Healing Injuries to the Neck, Opening the Chest and Freeing the Breath

There is a growing demand for massage practitioners who have mastered the art of moving deeply into the body with skill and sensitivity. The capacity of Deep Bodywork to alleviate acute and chronic pain has made it an indispensable tool in treating complex conditions such as back and chronic cervical pain due to whiplash injuries or other traumatic events to the upper body.  As we open the body’s deeper soft tissue layers, “stuck” energy in the form of shortened, hardened tissue is mobilized, making this energy available to support us in the process of healing.

This seminar will focus on healing the neck from chronic and acute pain due to injury and postural issues, as well as freeing the chest and ribs to open the vital function of breath.  The capacity to comprehensively expand our chests by taking a full, free breath is perhaps the body’s most important tool in unwinding the ongoing stress we accumulate. Restriction in this vital capacity can lead to collapsing of the chest, a forward-leaning posture of the neck and head, and chronic pain in many upper body areas as a secondary result. Our ability to deal with emotional stress can be severely limited if the breath is restricted in its vital healing function. Through our discussion of relevant anatomy, we will understand how an open chest balances the shoulder girdle, providing an organized base for the neck and head. We will look at the structural complexity of the neck to understand why injury to this vital area can be so difficult to heal.

Our mornings will begin with a “freeing the breath” meditation, followed by breakfast.  Movement Practice™ will precede bodywork instruction each day, supporting the embodiment of presence which is key to the healing power of this work.

Previous massage experience is highly recommended for this advanced-level class. This seminar is part of the Deep Bodywork for Massage Practitioners series that Perry and Johanna Holloman developed.  Please visit our website at www.deepbodywork.com.

Information on registration, and different price categories for single accommodation, shared accommodation, and camping (tent and RV) will be posted soon. This seminar will take place at the Mount Madonna Center outside of Santa Cruz, California.

We look forward to seeing you!

Perry & Johanna
Register Now!

For further information on course content contact us at johannaholloman@gmail.com.


The Heart of Relationship: A Weekend of Gestalt Inquiry for Couples and Friends

December 9–11, 2022
with Perry Holloman and Johanna Holloman

Fostering close, connected relationships is one of the most important things affecting the quality of our lives. Cultivating trust and openness with our loved ones, whether they be intimate partners or friends, is an essential aspect of any successful, supportive relationship.

Perry and Johanna Holloman have been intimate partners and friends for over 30 years. This weekend, they will share the most effective tools and practices that they have developed to nurture their connection to one another.

Visit https://www.esalen.org/workshops/the-heart-of-relationship-a-weekend-of-gestalt-inquiry-for-couples-and-friends to register.

For exact Date and Time details, visit the link above.

Deep BodyworkEsalen

Stanislav Grof in 1985 : Transpersonal Psychology and Quantum Physics.

Stanislav Grof in 1985 : Transpersonal Psychology and Quantum Physics. An interview with Stan by Perry Holloman at Esalen

“I had the privilege to interview Stan in 1985 about the Quantum/Relitivistic Paradigm and its relationship to the evolution of  psychology into a fourth force in our understanding of psychological and spiritual development. Psychology often stops where our spiritual development begins. Listen to Stan discuss the history of Transpersonal Psychology and why traditional approaches have left many of our deepest experiences of extraordinary states unexplained.”  Perry/2020

Click Here to Listen!

Deep BodyworkEsalen

Understanding Acute and Chronic Back Pain

Here is a link to a short article I wrote for the Esalen Newsletter on how to deal with acute and chronic pain  both as a bodywork practitioner and as anyone experiencing this very common, often debilitating experience. Separating fear from the actual experience of pain is the key!


Deep BodyworkEsalenYoga

Yoga for Bodyworkers: The Shoulder Part Two

Johanna applies the principle of “the shoulder loop” (stabilizing the the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa of the scapula) to the practice of Esalen Massage and Deep Bodywork. Working with proper body mechanics lessens the risk of injury, and allows the body to become a conduit both for gravitation, as well as “chi-energy”. Working in this way is not only more effective in terms of the results we will see with our clients, but also is nourishing to the body of the practitioner.

Deep BodyworkEsalenYoga

Yoga for Bodyworkers with Johanna Holloman

Johanna demonstrates yoga poses in this post which help massage practitioners understand how to stabilize and strengthen the shoulder joint. The shoulder is one of the most frequently injured areas of the body in bodyworkers who are working full time, and often on clients who outweigh them. In this and Johanna’s next post, she demonstrates proper body mechanics of the shoulder while working. She demonstrates some simple poses which if practiced properly, can add strength, flexibility and awareness to your bodywork practice.

Deep Bodywork

Discussions with a Physicist: Part II, by Perry Holloman

In part I of this article, I recounted my discussion with a physicist I had the good fortune to meet after having worked on a member of his family at Esalen’s Carmel office. We talked about the interconnectedness within the basic fabric of our universe, a fact which quantum theory describes mathematically, and has been demonstrated experimentally. This fact has radical implications for our theoretical understanding about the nature of reality itself. As I wrote in part I, confirmed by my physicist friend, matter, energy, space, time, and mind are interwoven into an unbroken wholeness. Anyone involved in the healing arts needs to consider the relational nature of our universe and it’s component parts as we assess our work and it’s effect on both our clients and ourselves. Following are a few details which get a bit heady, but are crucial to understand in order to grasp the above ideas. Please bear with me while I try to explain them clearly.

In 1964, an Irish physicist named John Stewart Bell became interested in a debate between Danish physicist Niels Bohr, and one of the 20th centuries’ most brilliant minds, Albert Einstein. At issue was a peculiar aspect of quantum theory called ‘quantum entanglement”. Quantum entanglement involves the interaction of sub-atomic particles. When they interact, they become “entangled”. Einstein’s dilemma was his attachment to a universe made up of ordinary objects. Quantum theory as a whole, and quantum entanglement in particular, demonstrates that the objects we perceive as normal with our five senses are hardly normal at all. Objects that have become “entangled” respond to changes in each other’s state instantaneously, across space and time at faster than light speeds. This occurs no matter how far apart they are. Quantum entangled particles of light on opposite sides of our galaxy literally sense, instantaneously, shifts experienced by the other. Einstein spent a great deal of time trying to prove, through a famous thought experiment called the EPR experiment, that this “non-local, faster than light” aspect of quantum theory had to be wrong. Bohr was convinced that any notion of “ordinary objects” was absurd. Quantum theory demonstrates that “objects” come in and out of being, moment to moment, according to quantum probabilities represented by waveforms. Non-local, faster than light relationships are a curious feature of a theory representing a reality based on the rules of quantum probability. Einstein, convinced that some “hidden variable” had yet to be discovered to complete quantum theory, uttered the famous phrase “god does not play dice” to express his distaste for this feature of quantum theory. John Bell entered the fray to settle a central question in this debate: is the universe a collection of discreet, separate parts, related by “local forces” only, like gravitation, electro-magnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces, or is there a “non-local” interconnecting web, capable of faster than light signaling as suggested by quantum theory? To make a long, very complex story short, Bell discovered a mathematical proof that demonstrated reality to be non-local, as suggested by quantum theory. In 1972 at the University of California, Berkeley, and again in 1982 at the University of Paris, what is now known as Bell’s Theorem was experimentally verified. It means that we live in an interconnected universe which responds to changes anywhere in it’s web instantaneously, at faster than light speed (enormously faster).

All of this was information I was familiar with, and had pondered deeply over many years. In my conversation with my new physicist friend, he said something which made me look at all of this from a deeper perspective. It was truly a “click, light goes on” moment in my thinking. What he said was: “At the dawn of time, when the universe was born in the Big Bang, everything was quantum entangled. All of the matter, energy, and space created in that process is inextricably linked, forever. The atoms making up your body, and the hydrogen in the cores of distant stars sense each other at a level that is so subtle most people never experience it. Our minds are made up of the same stuff, and have the capacity for self-awareness. A part of their nature is the reality of quantum interconnectedness. It is possible to directly experience that. It creates a feeling of the human mind being connected to a greater living, self-organizing intelligence. I think this experience is what some people call god.” Wow! My mind was totally blown at that point, so blown that as they left, I forgot to ask him his name.

I ask myself the question if quantum interconnectedness is in some way involved with the intuitive capacity to empathically connect with our client’s in a way which can be therapeutically beneficial. Watching Milton Traeger work at Esalen in 1979, it was clear to me that he had this capacity. It is a capacity that can be learned, and taught. As I have stated in previous blog posts, slowing down, and allowing sensing and feeling to become primary in our field of awareness are keys. Providing our students with opportunities to practice developing these capacities is an important part of our work as teachers, if our intention is to train practitioners of the healing arts, rather than “massage technicians”. (I’ve always disliked that term.)

On a final note, some people are convinced that the experience my physicist friend was describing is one of “the divine”, or god. Others, like myself, believe that the universe is possibly a living, learning, ever evolving process, integrating into some kind of “meta-intelligence”. This meta-intelligence might be the sum total of all intelligent beings and processes existing within the boundaries of this universe. Quantum interconnectedness may be an organizing, connecting factor, which makes it possible for seemingly disconnected processes and individuals to intuitively connect. We can never know for certain which explanation fits the facts most neatly. Even a scientific explanation requires a great deal of faith. The following comment, from an old friend, on my “Therapeutic Aggravation” post points to the issue quite clearly:

“…well put and supported Per..at what point does a correction become divine healing..I know you’ve been there and have witnessed it. How do you know as the manipulator when the healing touch becomes divine ? you know me never an easy question…” les

Great question Les. I can only speculate as to the answer.


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