From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Body Mechanics: Working from the Core,” by Joseph Muscolino, in the June 2010 issue. Article summary: As any massage therapist in practice knows, massage—especially deep-tissue massage—can be hard work. It is physically taxing to create and deliver pressure hour after hour into the bodies of your clients. Much of the success you, as a therapist, will enjoy depends on the quality of your body mechanics.

by Mark Lamm

Do you suffer from “grind the massage therapist into the ground” syndrome? As somatic practitioners, learning to gather, organize and utilize chi—the boundless healing power of the cosmos—is the most influential and stress-relieving complement you can bring to your massage practice. The use of chi energy, a Taoist tradition that dates back 5,000 years to the Tang Dynasty in China, presents a potent and unique opportunity for mutual healing.

Drawing on chi energy with every touch and movement releases client knots, tangles and blockages easier and faster than physical energy alone. Only energy generated through your chi center is necessary; any additional power from the use of muscular effort will cause tension in the practitioner’s body and resistance from client tissue.

Consciously tapping into nonmuscular chi energy is tremendously supportive to you, as a practitioner, since it allows you to create your own psychic shield of protection. Learning to cultivate the focus, flow and interaction of chi energy aids the practitioner and benefits the client.

There are three major chi centers in the body:

• The primary chi energy center is located just below the navel point. This center, known as the lower dan tien, is the origin of power. Somatic practitioners who utilize chi energy from this center will experience less stress, tension and wear and tear on their bodies.

• The second major chi center, or middle dan tien, allows the practitioner to blend and harmonize from the heart center. More importantly, working from this center allows the practitioner to intuitively connect with the client.

• The third major chi center, or upper dan tien, provides intention and direction from the third-eye point. This center keeps the practitioner present and working in the moment.

I consider client and practitioner to be partners on an evolutionary path. Transformational changes available in a client are directly related to the philosophy, consciousness, personal experience and tools of the somatic practitioner. Using all the chi centers in synchronicity is foundational to releasing a client’s physical and emotional holding patterns of distress and dysfunction. This ancient power, utilized in your practice, becomes an indispensable tool for healing and well-being for both you and your clients.

Since 1969, Mark Lamm, a somatic pioneer, has been passionately committed to health, longevity and enhancing human potential. Lamm gained his expertise through the teachings of various healers and martial artists as well as White Tantric wisdom and yogic knowledge through his mentorship with Yogi Bhajan. Lamm has spent more than 40 years developing the BioSync® method, which has received international recognition for its dramatic results. Visit for more information.