Reboot ~ Robert's Revolution
Meet the Austin-based massage therapist who wants to revolutionize the profession. Robert Gardner II wants to make clothed mat-based Thai-style bodywork mainstream in America. He envisions a world where it's as popular as hot yoga.
As obscure as hot yoga once was, Bikram is now a household brand. Robert's program, called Reboot, teaches massage therapists how to transition from the table to the mat. Replacing the standard 60 minute "pancake protocol" (30 minutes face down, 30 minutes face up) with extended sessions up to three hours long, where the whole body is explored sitting, standing and laying down.
The past year, I've adopted elements of Robert's style and strategy, bringing Thai-style massage to the table. However, the massage table itself is limiting. Having clients who are undressed but still require modest coverage creates barriers to exploration. The sheet itself gets in the way. Still, even with these limitations, I've found that Thai massage elements greatly enhance the therapeutic experience for my clients. Everyone loves it.
When I get my own body, as the therapist, down onto the floor, I'm engaging with my clients on their level. The experience is more dynamic in every way. It's more creative. I never know what will happen because the entire session is an exploration of the body in a way that it's never been explored before.
Just like in yoga, where practitioners move slowly through poses, paying attention to their breath and any sense of restriction or holding in their bodies, massage on the mat naturally evokes a deeper self-awareness. Clients pay more attention to how they hold onto tension, and how they let go. Through movement and massage, they find ways to bring more ease and comfort into their bodies.
Beyond offering one-on-one Reboot sessions, Robert is bringing Thai massage to the public. He holds Thai Massage Jams, inviting anyone who wants to learn his style to come explore. Participants learn how to touch and move each other in a fun, dynamic setting. In our touch-deprived society, this is a profoundly healing opportunity. You don't have to be a passive recipient. Anyone can learn how to use assisted stretching, compression and positional release to help a friend feel better in their body.
Robert's Reboot sessions, his Thai Massage Jams and professional development curriculum are taking massage in a new direction as consumers grow wary of the same old thing. It's innovative, it's fun and it brings elements of traditional Thai massage out of Asia and re-imagines them in a uniquely American context.
Just imagine, in the next decade, mat massage could be available in every town and city across the United States.