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Pour Don't Push

How to Massage with Greater Depth and Ease

Amazing CE Savings! Use Code STARRY for 30% CE Savings Through May 31st

14 CE Hours - E649
4.4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 star 75%
  • 4 star 15%
  • 3 star 6%
  • 2 star 2%
  • 1 star 2%
See all 192 reviews
192 customer reviews
Pour Don't Push

Approved for LIVE hours for Florida's 2023 renewal

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  • Manual - 140 pages
  • Online Videos - 8.5 hours
  • Multiple-choice test
  • Certificate upon completion


Un-learn the counterproductive habits that you have accumulated and re-learn that passion you used to have for your work. We are too determined to make our clients feel better. The result: we work too hard. We try to push our clients into feeling better. But what if we pour rather than push? With Pour Don't Push you will learn how to massage with greater depth and ease.

Let instructor David Lobenstine guide you in facilitating change, rather than force change, in your clients. In this online video and text-based home study course you will rediscover your most powerful therapeutic tools—your breath and your body weight. These innate tools are what make us great therapists, and yet are the same tools we so often forget. The more sessions we do, the more we tend to rely on our muscles, the more we become convinced that we need to force our client into letting go.

Here we will see the results of the opposite approach—the “pouring principle.” As you contact your client with ease, you help your client become an engaged partner in the work; in turn, you can put the “deep” back in deep tissue massage, but without strain or pain.

Some of the information you’ll learn in this course includes:

  • Individual patterns of muscle tension and excess holding while giving a massage.
  • The difference between delivering massage strokes by contracting your muscles and “pushing” your body rather than “pouring” your body weight by leaning into the client.
  • Applying typical massage strokes by “pouring” using your own body weight versus “pushing” and using excess muscle contraction.
  • Demonstrating how to pour using three different movements of the pouring principle—leaning in, leaning away, and rocking.
  • Discovering our own habitual breathing patterns, then creating a cycle of exhalation and inhalation that is more efficient and requires less effort than our habitual breathing patterns.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to our clients is to not try to do so much. In “Pour Don’t Push,” we discover that a massage session is often more effective – and feels better! – if you work slower rather than faster, and if you do fewer strokes rather than more.
-David Lobenstine

Course Objectives

  • List the places in the body that massage therapists tend to hold tension as we massage.
  • Discover your own particular patterns of muscle tension and excess holding while giving a massage.
  • Explain the benefits of working on a lower table and with a minimum of oil.
  • Differentiate between delivering massage strokes by contracting your muscles and "pushing" the body versus "pouring" your body weight by leaning into the client.
  • Discover the benefit of creating each massage stroke by bending your knees and moving your entire body so that the hips are behind every stroke.
  • Demonstrate the application of the typical massage strokes -- compression, effleurage, petrissage, cross fiber friction -- by “pouring” using your body weight as opposed to “pushing” using excess muscle contraction.
  • Demonstrate how to apply the pouring principle when using various points of contact (thumbs, fingertips, heel of hands, fists, forearms, elbows).
  • Demonstrate how to pour using the three different movements of the pouring principle—leaning in, leaning away, and rocking.
  • Understand the role of burnout in hampering a massage therapist’s career, and explain the ways that burnout can be emotional as well as physical.
  • Explain the role that breathing plays in facilitating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Articulate your own habitual breathing patterns and learn to lengthen your own exhalation in order to create a cycle of exhalation and inhalation that is more efficient and requires less effort than your habitual breathing patterns.
  • Review the physiological and emotional benefits of practicing mindfulness.

Course Reviews

Deborah Niles


This was one of the best courses l have taken in 36 years of practice. I expect this knowledge will help me to have many more years in the field. I enjoyed it very much, thank you!

Allison Gagnon


I thoroughly enjoyed this course, so much so that I would love to take it in person at some point in the future as a refresher. This information presented in this course is extremely valuable to me and I was able to start incorporating what I learned into my massage work immediately and with noticeable results. Accessing the materials was easy and straightforward and the course was not filled with unnecessary "fluff." 10/10 would recommend to my colleagues and will definitely be taking more courses from the Institute in the future and looking forward to any more courses offered by the creator of this one. Excellent value for the money.

Sierra Patterson


Great course with excellent supporting materials. I learned new things and was reminded of old. I love the concept of "massaging the central nervous system". This course has given me new ideas in how to work with my clients in a more efficient and effective manner. Thank you!

Zelda Shanet


loved this course would love to see how he applies it to a prenatal massage

Laura J. Kinney, LMT


I really liked this course A LOT. the instructor, David, put together the whole package...manual and videos...in a wonderful way...esp the fact that he had 3 students participating in the videos. he kept my attention...he wasn't boring...and I learned so much. I have been a massage therapist for 20+ years and I can honestly say that this class was one of the BEST! thank you & I will be back... :)

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David Lobenstine, LMT

David Lobenstine, LMT

David M. Lobenstine has been a massage therapist, teacher, and writer for over a decade. He is a graduate of the Swedish Institute and Vassar College. He has worked in a variety of settings, from luxury spas to the US Open Tennis Tournament to a hospice to now, exclusively, his own private practice, Full Breath Massage. And he has developed and taught continuing education courses around the country, from the Swedish Institute to the AMTA National Convention. His aim, both with his clients and in his teaching, is to enhance self-awareness, so that we can do the things we love with efficiency and ease.

Mr. Lobenstine is the creator and instructor of Pour Don't Push, Working the Rib Cage, Using Your Thumbs Wisely, Approaching the Upper Body from All Angles, Approaching the Lower Body from All Angles, and Using the Breath to Massage Better.

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