Starting out in the massage therapy field can feel daunting at times, but it doesn't have to feel that way.
This is why it is important to look at the wisdom and experience from other mentors in the massage field. When you do that, you will learn that everyone was once a student, too. Below, we have an excerpt from a profile on massagemag.com/Til about one of our All-Stars, Til Luchau.
Til Luchau developed Advanced Myofascial Techniques, and presents his trainings in workshops held all over the world. He has worked in manual therapy, post-secondary education and somatic psychology, as well as organizational and leadership development.
He wrote the August 2018 cover story for MASSAGE Magazine, on his Advanced Myofascial Techniques.
He became certified in massage at the Esalen Institute and is a Certified Advanced Rolfer® and a former Rolf Institute instructor. His private practice is based in the Boulder-Denver area, and includes myofascial work, practitioner supervision and professional coaching.
Til is also a MASSAGE Magazine All Star, one of a group of body-therapy masters who have dedicated their lives to empowering and informing massage professionals.
These innovative therapists and teachers are lined up to educate MASSAGE Magazine's community of massage therapists by sharing their expertise in our print magazine, on our social media channels and on massagemag.com.
Til spoke with MASSAGE Magazine's editor in chief, Karen Menehan, sharing advice on what massage therapists can do to be more comfortable financially, naming those who inspire him, and discussing how research is changing assumptions about how touch therapies help clients.
Karen Menehan: Til, what was your career before you got into bodywork?
Til Luchau: Before I got into bodywork, I did a lot of things. I trained as a psychotherapist, and practiced that at the same time that I was learning and practicing hands-on bodywork—but I did everything from being a foreign car mechanic to an Outward Bound instructor to a high school teacher.
KM: What was it that drew you to bodywork?
TL: It was actually my psychotherapy training. The method that I was studying emphasized the role of the body, and our program encouraged us to get some body training. This was when I was living at the Esalen Institute, and they had all kinds of trainings available.
So I just jumped in, and it stuck. I liked the hands-on parts so much that I kept practicing that, even though I also developed a career path as a psychotherapist.
KM: Can you share with our readers what it was like living and working at Esalen?
TL: It was the early 1980s, and a lot of pioneering teachers in the bodywork and human potential field had been there or were still there, and so I got to study with Ida Rolf's and Moshé Feldenkrais' and Milton Trager's first-generation teachers and students. And [there were] human potential things going on there, like Gestalt therapy and bioenergetics, and it was still a wild, crazy time.
It's calmed down a lot in the years since, like the rest of culture has, but it was still very experimental, and it was all about pushing edges and finding out how far we had to go before things changed, before people grew.
It was a great learning environment. In some ways it was like my graduate school. It was the place that I did a lot of my formative, developing thinking, and it really launched me into the direction I'm going now [in] just my five years there.
KM: You've mentioned some of the people you studied with at Esalen. Who else would you identify as someone who inspired you or that you think of as a mentor?
TL: It was some of my teachers at the Rolf Institute, including Jan Sultan, Pedro Prado and Robert Schleip. And later, the work of Arnold Mindell. I considered him my primary teacher for about 15 years. Also, Lorimer Moseley.
KM: What is some advice you would give to massage therapists as they're just beginning on their path?
TL: I did a large-scale study of what attitudes and behaviors were correlated with people's practice success, where we interviewed 2,500 practitioners. We got to narrow that down to a really specific set of attitudes and behaviors that seemed to work for people. The big ones were kind of surprising. One was having an open attitude toward the idea of being in business.