Esalen Massage

Esalen Institute is a non-profit retreat center and intentional community in Big Sur, CA. It was founded by Michael Murphy and Dick Price in 1962. Esalen played a key role in the Human Potential Movement, and became a real-life laboratory for experimentation in psychology, spirituality and the healing arts. 

Milton Trager, Moshe Feldenkrais, and Ida Rolf were a few of the early teachers and bodywork pioneers at Esalen, along with the founder of Gestalt therapy, Fritz Perls, dance pioneer Anna Halprin, and the creator of 5 Rhythms, Gabrielle Roth. Eventually, this experimentation also led to the development of Esalen Massage, which is an eclectic blend of techniques and principles from various disciplines. 

There are four women that have been practicing and teaching Esalen Massage for over 50 years: Peggy Horan, Vicki Topp, Deborah Anne Medow, and Brita Ostrom.

I interviewed Peggy, Vicky, and Deborah in February 2020, when I returned to Esalen as a workshop assistant. They shared with me about the early history of Esalen, the origins and the special nature of Esalen Massage, and about what keeps them going after 50 years.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In