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My friends always think I must be joking when I tell them David Lobenstine is the best massage therapist on the planet. But of the three who’ve booked a massage from him, two now see him regularly and the third would, too, if she didn’t live 5000 miles away from his table. His healing powers are beyond compare and it is a joy to work with him. My only complaint is that for reasons logistical, financial, and—well, frankly, it would be unseemly if I booked a daily two-hour massage.
David Lobenstine is among the most skilled, gifted and thoughtful practitioners I have met in three decades of receiving bodywork. He brings a deep knowledge of anatomy, a touch both insightful and masterful, and a rare spiritual generosity. He has helped me resolve chronic issues, for which I am grateful. But, far more rare, he has deepened my own somatic and spiritual conversation with my own body. It is an extraordinary gift when that most in-dwelling, personal and intimate discourse—between one’s self and one’s body—can be fully joined by a third. David has accomplished just that alchemy. To work with him is to attend a master’s class for body and soul.
I began seeing David after I strained my back during my first pregnancy. During our initial phone consultation, I was immediately struck by his thoughtful manner and gentle approach. David asked detailed questions to figure out exactly what problems I was having and even made suggestions for what we might try in our sessions together. I had high hopes for how he might help me based on that first conversation. But I was even more impressed with our actual sessions. David remembered everything we discussed, even minute details. And he incorporated all that information into a truly customized massage treatment, aimed at problem solving while filled with compassion and care. He not only helped heal my back muscles from my injury but also continued to work with me through my changing needs as my pregnancy progressed.In particular, I can’t say enough about the breathwork that David makes central to his work. I must admit that I had never been “good” with massages—I’ve always had trouble relaxing and quieting my mind. But David’s breathwork transformed the experience of massage; I finally understood how therapeutic and healing it can be. And I realized how important the same breathing techniques David showed me during our treatments could be during labor. As I got closer to my due date, I literally told my partner that I needed him to be my David once labor started. During our homebirth, the work with the breath and the accompanying visualizations David introduced me to were absolutely key to helping me—and my partner—stay aware and responsive to my body’s needs, focused on making my way through contractions, and calm and relaxed (whenever possible) in order to have a successful natural birth without medication.I’ve seen David for my second pregnancy, too—not because I’ve had any particular problems, but simply because he works wonders and I always emerge from our sessions feeling entirely refreshed and restored. I wholeheartedly recommend David, whether you’re pregnant or not. He’s the best!
It only takes one session with David to know that he is something special. I toured the country for three and a half years, and got a massage in every single city from Sarasota to Seattle. Now I’m not gonna lie, I’m a bit of a massage snob—and it is rare to find someone that can not only fix the problems that eight shows a week can create, but also refuels your body for the upcoming week. The beauty of David’s work is that it is equal parts therapeutic and relaxation. He not only takes care of the tired and tense muscles that we all have, he also brings you back to your center with his hands, and your breath. My massage with David is a wonderful weekly reminder for where my body and mind need to be.
Thank you for such an enlightening class. Your idea of massaging with visualization and intention resonates with me hugely. I love that you help us find ourselves first, before we get into the client’s space. It reminded me of the oxygen mask theory on the airplane: the adult must put on the oxygen mask first so that he can help the child put his on. We have to remember to take care of us first so that we can then take care of others. Thank you for encouraging us to ask questions and to forgive ourselves. Still working on that one!
David is a pleasure as a massage instructor. He always reminded us to keep the babies’ needs and moods in mind when we approached the practice. David not only taught us the techniques of massage, but he gently guided us in how to approach our babies with respect and to work with them, not ‘on’ them. David is compassionate, patient, and flexible as a teacher while maintaining a sense of purpose. I would recommend his classes to anyone!
David strikes the right balance between a firm, useful sports approach and a meditative, peaceful massage experience.As a former Radio City Rockette, I have had a countless number of massage therapists throughout my career. David stands out in his ability to keenly and sincerely listen to my needs on a specific massage-by-massage basis. I find that no two of our work sessions are alike. As my body and muscles are ever changing, so too is David’s response to those needs during our work.Now as an expectant mother, David’s massage sessions have provided me with a time and place to give back to my hard-working body as it grows and provides for my unborn child. David’s prenatal massage work focuses me, calms me, relieves tension and reminds me of my body’s innate abilities and strength. In short, I feel empowered after our sessions and ready, both physically and spiritually, for the birth of my child.
David is truly a find. A gifted massage therapist, he takes a highly focused, personal and mindful approach to his work—which elevates the experience beyond any I’ve had before. Part physical release, part meditation, his sessions always leave me feeling relaxed and restored. I don’t ‘veg out’ during a David massage. I’m a participant, learning as I go, and using my breath to find expansion and release. It’s been a pleasure working with David, and I am so grateful for his strong, skillful hands and open heart.
After 16 rewarding years of massaging, my body was getting tired and I was thinking of retiring. I would read articles, get tutorials, ask colleagues for advice, but some piece was missing. Then I read your two articles—‘Pour Don’t Push’ and ‘The Solution Is the Sides’—and there was my missing piece. I had been working too hard. Now that I am ‘pouring’ through each massage, I feel more energy than ever. I am glowing with joy and ease. Even washing the dishes and vacuuming the house has become easier! Thank you for showing me this path to a longer, more fulfilling, and healthier massage career.
I travelled to New York City from Colorado to take ‘Pour Don’t Push,’ and I am so glad I did! The workshop was fun—full of positive comments and helpful suggestions—and extremely beneficial for my practice. I am feeling more relaxed, more intentional, and more powerful in my massage work—and I am not getting as tired. Pouring rather than pushing isn’t completely natural yet—I still find my shoulders hunched and my elbows out as I try to drill down, especially as I start to tire—but I am catching myself earlier and reminding myself to use my lower body, lengthen out my joints, and exhale, exhale, exhale. Thank you for the class. It was exactly what I needed.
Your ‘Pour Don’t Push’ workshop was life-changing. The skills and the mindset you have provided me with are not merely going to benefit my clients, but they are also going to breathe new life into my work. You have helped bring me back to the basics and all of the things that lit my fire and inspired me at the start of my massage career. Also, your close hands-on guidance in how to adjust my body mechanics and posture are going to help me immensely with how I work from this day forward and help to keep me free from pain and strain.
David has an awesome approach, a brilliant intersection of intuition meeting skill. During the massage his intuition feels life affirming and his skill makes my muscles feel fluid again. As a fellow bodyworker, it gives me great pleasure to recommend his work!
David played an amazing part in the journey of our pregnancy and the adventure of our labor. We each benefited from David’s firm, soothing, healing, and guiding touch, but his work also brought us closer together as a couple. And during labor, our work with David enabled us to feel our own bodies and the natural and relaxing rhythm of our breathing.
Sensitive, intuitive and thorough, David’s massage work goes beyond simply taking care of sore muscles to healing repetitive injury and rooting out deep tension. His sessions work with both the physical and energetic structures to deeply release habitual holding patterns and create freedom. Our sessions have focused on the release of very painful areas in my shoulders and neck and have left me feeling incredibly energized and free of pain.David is one of the most sensitive and respectful massage practitioners I’ve met. He takes his practice seriously and I am always struck by how carefully he works with me and my breath to elicit change. While he goes deeply, he never forces change but rather listens to me and my body and allows for real growth. I always learn so much about my body and the mind-body connection in our sessions. This is therapeutic massage at its best and David is one of the most gifted around. I always look forward to our meetings and the refreshment and sweet release they bring.
I am so grateful that I have worked with David throughout my first pregnancy! Our weekly massage feels like hitting the reset button. Especially now, at the end, when my body barely feels like my own anymore, working with David provides the centering, relaxation, and little boost of energy I need to get to the next week.
I’ve been fortunate to work with David as both a student and a client. As massage therapists, we all strive to reach a place in our work that transcends what we know about the body and touch. David has found access to this space through something so simple it should be obvious: the breath.A massage under his careful guidance is a revelation. After just one session, I felt a deeper understanding of and connection to my body. His work with the breath is unique and really spectacular: grounding, informative and empowering. Both his continuing education workshops and his massages have influenced my work profoundly. Thank you, David!
After your workshop I started seeing clients for the first time since my injury months ago. But before I started working I lowered my table, as you suggested, to help my body mechanics. I have kept my table at the same height for almost 20 years, but I found this lower table was very helpful and even a bit easier to negotiate. I may even go down one more notch in the future!I am a deep tissue LMT, so I have battered my body over all these years and I am not a spring chicken anymore. But at your workshop I realized that maybe I can still do deep work on my patients, using what you taught, without working and straining so hard. Since the workshop, I am ‘melting’ all the time now! I have slowed down my massage strokes, and sometimes just let myself ‘rest’ on the patient, allowing my body weight to soften their tissues ever so slowly. It all works great and has allowed me to keep on working with less stress on my body. My patients love the slower, deeper work, using your ‘melting’ techniques, and say it reaches deeper into the muscles than the gliding stokes I did before. Your different technique has given me a new way of thinking about my career, and of bringing my patients back to my table.
This class was very valuable for my practice and for my life in general. David is a remarkable teacher, present and connected and accepting of where each of us was both physically and mentally. I wish that this class could be a mandatory piece of the massage curriculum. Demonstrating a way of working that uses presence in a palpable way, not just theoretically, was groundbreaking for all of us in the class.
David Lobenstine is the finest massage therapist I have ever encountered, focused every moment on the work he’s doing, with the perfect combination of strength and sensitivity. When I first came to David five years ago, my posture had suffered from years of sitting hunched at a desk. He targeted this issue and after three years I actually gained back the half-inch of height I had lost. David is one of those people who is doing the work he loves. You can feel it in his presence, and more than anything, in his hands.
David has helped to melt my stress, inflammation and pain away, and helped my body/mind function on a higher level. This is partly due to his magic hands, and partly due to his ability to listen and adjust his technique to one’s own individual needs. The end result—and David’s genius—is that you walk out finding it much easier (and more pleasurable) to walk around in your own body.
Thank you for getting in touch. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. If you need to reach me more quickly, feel free to call or text (917.328.4151).
112 WEST 27TH ST / BET. 6th & 7th AVE / 4th FLOOR / NYC