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Esalen® Massage Professional Training (100 hours)

Registration Closed

with Peggy Horan and Dean Marson, Esalen Massage senior teachers

Whidbey Institute | Clinton, WA


This retreat (offered as two immersive 8-day modules) is a guided, transformational journey via Esalen Massage, a renowned presence-based approach to touch developed over the last 60 years in Big Sur, CA. Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or a newer bodyworker, in this workshop you will be given tools to expand your capacity for skillful and heartfelt touch by exploring the interface of technique, improvisation, and intuition. A journey deep into the self, in right relationship with others, Esalen Massage will profoundly transform your ability to be present, your quality of touch, and your power to share safe, healing touch. Upon successful completion of the course requirements, you will be invited to join the global family of Esalen Massage as a certified Esalen Massage Practitioner

What is Esalen Massage?

Esalen Massage applies principles of mindfulness to bodywork, offering up a holistic body-mind-spirit experience on the massage table. Through oil application with light to medium pressure and slow rhythmic strokes, the practitioner evokes awareness, a sensory “coming home.” The practitioner follows rather than leads, and adds deeper detail work to untangle stressed muscles, integrating each release into the surrounding tissue and the whole body. Assisted movement or stretches can be applied to free up old holding patterns, and frequent pauses give time for assimilation, energetic re-balance, and a sense of well-being. (from the Esalen website)


Guided by senior Esalen teachers with decades of teaching experience, you will explore different areas of the body each day, applying a variety of massage techniques to address tension, holding patterns, and injuries, all within the holistic framework of Esalen Massage. Daily experiential learning also include sensory awareness, mindful embodiment practices (e.g. mediation, tai chi, yoga, dance), applied anatomy, communication skills, and simple but powerful self care practices.

Whidbey Institute is a home for transformational learning and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Their mission is to nurture the conditions for transformational learning, and their purpose is to be a place for those called by the responsibility and transformative potential of these times.​ They partner with a network of program leaders working in the areas of generative leadership, ecosystem vitality, community resilience, and more to offer one-day and multi-day workshops, conferences, and retreats. The 106-acre conservation forest campus on South Whidbey Island is open to the public and features integrated gardens and a four-mile trail network.

Housing choices include cozy, single room cabins (with one or two beds), and single or shared bedrooms in the Whidbey Institute Farmhouse. All housing options have shared bathrooms. Linens are provided for all housing options. Commuter registration (meals included) is also available for participants who live locally or prefer to arrange their own housing. More housing details here.

Meals at the Whidbey Institute are lovingly prepared by Chef Christyn Johnson and her skilled team, using local, fresh, organic produce whenever possible. Christyn’s team is always willing and able to accommodate special dietary requests, and meals often include an abundance of gluten-free, low-sugar, and vegan options. Meals are one of the things that keep people coming back—in fact, the feedback we receive most often relates to the delicious, abundant, and nourishing food that Chef Christyn and her team provide time after time! More details here.

Peggy Horan gives Esalen Massage in a field of deep presence, comfort, and support, using stretches and deep muscle work to bring healing and relaxation to her clients. She has been practicing and teaching Esalen Massage for five decades and is the author of Connecting Through Touch, A Couples Massage Book. Movement studies have been an integral part of her life, participating in 5Rhythms® workshops with Gabrielle Roth, as well as studying and performing both African and Middle Eastern dance. Her committed daily yoga practice sustains her youthful vitality and vibrant approach to life. During her years at Esalen, she also studied Gestalt therapy with Fritz Pearls, Sensory Awareness with Charlotte Selver, as well as Tai Chi and Yoga. Her own teachings encompass presence-based practices of not only massage, but grounding, centering, meditation, self-inquiry and communication. She has just completed a two year teacher training in Mindfulness Meditation.

Dean Marson is a Senior Instructor of Esalen® Massage. He has been teaching at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California for the past 40 years and has lead workshops in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, introducing hundreds of students to the pleasure and potential of bodywork and healing touch. He trained in other bodywork styles before becoming fascinated by the flowing, wholistic Esalen style and has since learned from and collaborated with numerous teachers at Esalen and elsewhere. Dean is a Registered Yoga Teacher and long-time meditator, and he weaves presence and connection, the essence of these practices, into all of his groups. Whether teaching massage, yoga, self care, or meditation, Dean brings an eclectic approach and a spirit of calm presence to every class.


Patrick Stockstill, organizer and teaching assistant for this training, is an Esalen Massage teacher living on Orcas Island, Washington. He has been a massage therapist for 15 years, has been a yoga teacher for 10 years, and completed the Esalen Massage Teacher Training in 2019. Patrick has taught at McKinnon Body Therapy Center in Oakland, CA, as well as introductory Esalen Massage workshops in California and Washington. Read his full bio here

Module 1 Schedule*

Day 1 

4 pm - 6 pm Arrival on property 

6 pm Dinner

7 pm - 9:30 pm Welcome

Days 2 - 7

7:30 - 8:30 am Mindful Movement and Embodied Anatomy

8:30-9:30 am Breakfast

9:30 am-12:45 pm Class 

12:45-3:30 pm Lunch break

3:30-6:45 pm Class

6:45 pm Dinner break

8 pm Optional evening program (one night TBD)

Day 8

7:30-8:30am Mindful Movement and Self Care

8:30-10 am Breakfast, vacate room

10-12:00 pm Class

12 - 1 pm Lunch and departure

*times approximate; subject to change

additional supervised practice sessions may be added

Prerequisites, Certification, and Continuing Education Details

Prerequisite: massage certification (at least 150 hours of combined massage and anatomy training).

After successful completion of this course, graduates will receive annual membership in and a certificate from the Esalen Massage and Bodywork Association (EMBA). Use of the Esalen name or logo in your advertising requires registration with EMBA. First year EMBA fees are included in your tuition. Instructors are NCBTMB approved continuing education credit providers. Successful completion of the EMBA certification requirements (above and beyond earning CE hours) includes up to two "touch-in" evaluations, one final evaluation massage with an instructor, and 15 Esalen Massage sessions, completed within 6 months of the course end date (with brief documentation provided to the instructors).

This course meets all Washington and Oregon state continuing education requirements for LMTs, not including CPR and the hour in cultural competency required by Oregon.

Investment (Tuition, Room, and Board)

Registration Closed

Previous Esalen Massage Workshops led or assisted by Patrick

Esalen® Massage 100-hour Professional Training (assisted) | February-March 2023, Oakland, CA

Esalen® Massage 100-hour Professional Training (assisted) | March and May, 2023, Hot Springs, NC

Intro to Esalen® Massage | 8 hours, June 2023, Seattle WA

Intro to Esalen® Massage | 8 hours, April 2023, Bellingham, WA

Intro to Esalen® Massage | 10 hours, November 2022, Oakland, CA

Intro to Esalen® Massage: The Long Stroke, Neck and Shoulders | 12 hours, March 2022, Orcas Island, WA

Intro to Esalen® Massage: The Long Stroke, Hands & Forearms | 12 hours, January 2020, Oakland, CA

Intro to Esalen® Massage: The Long Stroke and Presence | 8 hours, July 2019, Berkeley, CA

Intro to Esalen® Massage for Esalen Work Scholars | 4 hours, September 2019, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

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