AcroSage is an acrobatic form of massage therapy that helps ease pressure on the neck and spine. This unique form of inverted yoga massage will help you relax and feel great.
This inverted yoga massage was created by Benjamin Marantz in the 1980s. He has taught his massage techniques all over the world. There are other therapies that are based in AcroSage healing techniques, they include Inversion Therapy, Tula Yoga, Elevated Yoga, and Body Mudras. These therapies combine inversions with other bodywork techniques.
Recently, I contacted Benjamin Marantz and asked him if he'd like to share some more information about AcroSage with Massage-Therapy-Benefits readers. He sent me these very informative highlights from his upcoming book.
A Brief History of AcroSage
In the twenty-five years of exploring and developing AcroSage, the technique has evolved as I have evolved. What started out as an inverted acrobatic massage has been greatly refined to become a much more gentle, inverted meditation technique.
From the Performing Arts to the Healing Arts...
Shifting from a twenty two year career as a vaudevillian/variety entertainer to an inversion therapist, teacher and farmer has been a welcomed transformation. From street performing to world expositions, European cabarets, colleges and festivals of all types, I truly believed the life of an entertainer was my life's calling. I was receiving great audience adoration and after many performances, people would exclaim to me, "Wow your great! That was amazing, seeing you juggle fire on that six foot unicycle!" Surprisingly I grew tired of the applause, being on stage, and the separation between me and the audience. I often felt a longing and an emptiness that I could not explain. I felt my ego becoming a bit bloated, and I knew deep down that for my emotional and spiritual growth, I needed to make a shift.
When I began teaching AcroSage workshops and empowering my students, by saying how 'great' they were, I came to find much joy and immense satisfaction. The one on one hands on contact was so healing for me and I soon realized for the many 'touched deprived' souls I'd meet along my journey. As I 'flew' my students and as my students 'flew ' me, my hearts desire and true life's calling began magnificently to unfold. That welcomed shift began for me in the summer of 1984. At that time I was a member of the Waikiki Acrobatic Troupe, under the direction of Don Heafner, who I teamed up with and trained to compete in the U.S. National Sports Acrobatic Championships. That same summer I was lifting a heavy carpet and slipped a disc or pinched a nerve in my back and literally had to crawl to the toilet for the next several days. It was a very humbling and awakening experience. Being that I was making my living as a physical comedian/clown/acrobat I decided it was high time I learned more about the human body so I began studying different massage techniques. My back healed and I went on to winning 2 gold medals at the 1984 & 1985 U.S. Nationals in Honolulu and New Orleans in a men's four and a men's pair routine. Then in the summer of 1985...
One Magic Day ~ The Inverted Buddha ~ The Birth of AcroSage...
It was a Sunday afternoon, while working out with the Waikiki Acrobatic Troupe, I was practicing a typical acrobatic 'low routine' sequence. It was a magical moment, or perhaps even a bit of divine intervention, when the inspiration came to me to suggest to my partner to bend their knees, bring the soles of their feet together and reach up and take hold of their ankles. Hanging upside down in, what looked like an inverted Buddha, I intuitively began massaging their neck and shoulders as their head hung freely. Right away I sensed something very special about this new position and the healing potential of this unique combination of acrobatics and massage techniques.
In the months that followed, I began developing a specific sequence of simple acrobatic positions were I encouraged my partners to think about relaxing rather then posing or showing off the different positions as was the norm in being a performing acrobat. Eventually I came to name this step by step sequence the AcroSage Technique. (Acro as in acrobatics and sage as in massage.)
Ancient stone seals discovered by archaeologists show the first drawings of yoga poses. Yogis have always proclaimed the value of inverted poses to re-balance the body, help increase circulation, stimulate the brain, enhance glandular system functioning, & relieve pressure on the abdominal organs.
Almost 2500 years ago, Hippocrates, Father of Western Medicine, was reported to hoist patients up on a ladder with a series of ropes and pulleys to harness the force of gravity in an effort to relieve their back pains and other ailments. The treatment works by the simple effect of gravity, which allows the joints to stretch and the vertebrae to decompress.
Krishnamachari, in India, experiments with acrobatics and yoga.
Here is a clip of Krishnamachari doing AcroYoga filmed in 1938.
The Introduction of AcroSage validates and expands the extraordinary benefits of inversion therapy.
AcroSage is a co-creative, symbiotic experience which is not only beneficial for the Flyer but for the Base as well. Both experience physical, emotional and spiritual benefits.
The Physical Benefits
Countering the Harmful Effects of Gravity...
We know that gravity compresses our spinal column and at the end of a day, we can be up to 3/4 of an inch shorter then when we wake up. Without the use of any forced manipulations, inversion techniques greatly reverse the force of gravity, relieving pressure on the spinal column and bringing it back into it's natural alignment. As we align and decompress the spine we open the spaces between the vertebra, allowing more spinal fluid to be re-absorbed back into the discs sponge like material. This allows a greater flow of nerve impulse (electrical energy ) to pass to all the muscles, tissues and organs of the body and thus facilitates accelerated natural healing to occur.
Discs Have Three Functions...
Separating the vertebrae
Providing flexibility to the backbone
Acting as shock absorbers
The Spinal Column; The Information Highway...
Communication between the body and the brain is through nerves that traverse each vertebra. Disc separation is therefore very important. Reduced space between the vertebrae can result in nerve root pressure and pain. The inner core of the discs ensures flexibility and "cushioning" in the back. When discs are compressed, the vertebrae place more pressure on the nerve roots, which can lead to pain. Increasing the space between vertebra will decrease the pressure on the discs. Lying down helps relieve the pressure on the discs but inverting is even more effective. Inversion is an excellent way to relax and decompress the entire spinal column. Inversion techniques are used not only to treat back pain, but are also used to alleviate other negative effects of gravity. Many doctors, therapists and trainers agree that inversion is a very effective form of therapy for weight-bearing joints and the spine.
Improves Blood and Lymph Circulation...
The brain uses more oxygen than any other organ in the body. The heart has to work continually to pump the blood 'upwards' against the force of gravity. Inverting the body allows the blood to flow effortlessly to the brain, taking stress off the heart muscle. A brain that receives a better supply of oxygenated blood functions better.
Eyesight can improve as the retina is a great consumer of oxygen and will benefit from the increased blood circulation. Hearing and skin tone can also improve. Aging wrinkles can be ironed out as the complexion freshens with the extra blood flow. There are claims that hair becomes healthier. With this extra blood circulating through the cerebral capillaries, some forms of migraines and headaches can disappear. Also, with daily practice, one can shrink and eventually eliminate varicose veins and hemorrhoids as inversion restores elasticity to the capillaries.
Occupational, environmental and emotional stresses can lead to muscle tension and pain in the back, shoulders, neck, and head. Tight muscles reduce the oxygenated blood supply, causing waste products to accumulate in the muscles. Inverting the body, even by as little as 25 degrees, for just a few minutes can help relax muscles and accelerate blood flow which flushes waste products out of the body.
The lymphatic system functions without a pump. It is the the alternate contraction and relaxation of muscles that forces lymphatic fluid to move "uphill" through one-way valves and capillaries to the upper chest where it is cleansed. Inverting the body increases lymphatic flow helping the immune system release toxins from the body.
The improved circulation stimulates the endocrine glands including the pituitary, the pineal, the thyroid and the parathyroid glands. These glands are responsible for the basic bodily functions including food digestion and assimilation, metabolic rate, growth hormones, and temperature regulation.
Decongests the Internal Organs...
As we age, our internal organs tend to move downward due in part to the force of gravity.
Inversion can help pull prolapsed/sagging organs such as the kidneys, stomach and intestines back into their normal places and shapes and can relieve constipation problems. Inversion can also decongest the viscera in the lower stomach region where congestion is created by prolonged sitting. This congestion is also a major cause for prostate trouble. Inversion can help clear the prostate gland and often immediate improvement is felt.
AcroSage offers a unique opportunity to alleviate consciously or subconsciously held muscle memory tension patterns. Once suspended in the air, the Flyer can identify new areas of their body that they had no idea were holding tension. This heightened state of awareness allows the communication between the brain and muscles to establish new pain free patterns.
AcroSage is not meant to replace the services of a physician, physical therapist, chiropractor or any other medical professional.
Although inversion techniques have tremendous benefits, those persons with extremely high or low blood pressure, hearth disorders, glaucoma, detached retina, advanced pregnancy or recent surgery should not attempt AcroSage or any inversion technique.
We strongly encourage you to check with a health care professional if you have any concerns about the AcroSage Technique. Most of all check in with your own body as you are the ultimate authority of your own well being.
Benjamin Marantz is the creator of AcroSage. He has been practicing and teaching AcroSage around the world since 1987.
Benjamin moved to Hawaii in 2002 with his wife and father where he established the Banyan Tree Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is an organic farm and place for mediation.
If you're interested in learning more about AcroSage check out the AcroSage website.
You can find out more about the Banyan Tree Sanctuary here.
You may be wondering if you need any previous training in acrobatics to learn how to do AcroSage. Looking at the videos I was wandering the same thing. When I asked Benjamin if anyone could learn to do AcroSage he said, "Most definitely. If you can ride a 2 wheel bike and have any sense of balance you can learn AcroSage."
The pictures on this page are courtesy AcroSage.org.