The Rhythmic Element in Massage & Bodywork Therapy

with Rick Rosen, MA, LMBT

July 11, 2017 | Tuesday, 9:30am-5:30pm | 7 CE contact hours | $145


Rhythm is the soul of life.
– Babatunde Olatunji

This highly enjoyable one-day workshop is designed to give you an opportunity to unleash your creative spirit, and bring greater vitality to your work with clients.

3-people-drummingRhythm is a phenomena that is common to all life forms. From a single cell to a large ecosystem, all exhibit the cycles of expansion and contraction which create the pulsation unique to that entity. That characteristic pulsation is expressed in humans by way of the three life breaths – the rhythmic movements of blood, breath and cerebrospinal fluid through the body. As well, we are influenced by daily circadian rhythms, monthly hormonal cycles and seasonal changes.

In the practice of massage and bodywork therapy, rhythm is a qualitative aspect which can be found in all hands-on approaches. It is expressed through the overall style of a particular system, as well as the manner in which technique is applied by an individual practitioner. The speed of the strokes utilized, the pace of an entire session, the movement of the practitioner around the body – all reflect the rhythmic element. In Classical Swedish Massage, the range of percussive strokes known as tapotement can express rhythm in a powerful way.

Through greater awareness of the rhythmic element, you can increase the therapeutic impact of your work by evoking a fundamental quality of life that transcends technique.

The workshop will begin with an introduction to the theoretical nature of rhythm, its physiological effects on both body and mind, and the power of rhythm in massage therapy. This will be followed by group exercises to explore how a particular pace, or rhythm influences each person. There will be a demonstration of percussive techniques on hand drums and rattles, with group percussion using both unison patterns and polyrhythms (prior experience not required).

In the afternoon, we’ll take our rhythmic exploration to the body. During table work, half the participants will give and receive massage, while the other half creates an enchanting sonic environment with a variety of instruments. All will get to experience this rhythmically-enhanced work in the roles of “therapist”, “client” and “music-maker”.

This workshop will allow you to:

  •     Understand the phenomena of rhythm inherent in living systems
  •     Recognize the qualitative aspect of rhythm present in massage therapy
  •     Increase the therapeutic effect of hands-on techniques
  •     Experience the effects of the rhythmic element on circulatory and respiratory rates


rosen_rickRick Rosen is the founder and co-director of the Body Therapy Institute. Over his four decades in the field, he has worked as a therapist, clinic director, teacher, school administrator, and state massage board chair. He is a NC Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist (License #1), has a master’s degree in humanistic psychology from West Georgia College, and a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Florida.

As a compliment to his trailblazing efforts in the massage therapy profession, Rick is an award-winning photojournalist, and has had a lifelong passion for music. With a focus on traditional percussion, he has studied West African drumming with master teachers Babatunde Olatunji and Khaleed Saleem, and has also explored Latin and Middle Eastern drumming. He brings a particular interest to how music – and rhythm in particular – effects us and how it can be used as a tool for healing.



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