The Stuttgart Practice
After returning from White Russia in 1948 Dr. Pressel started work as a school physician at the Waldorf School in Stuttgart (1950-1955). It was during this phase that the massage of the calves was developed. The children and young people were traumatized from the war and their connection to Mother Earth had been greatly disturbed. This manifested itself through a variety of symptoms. Through the calf massage people were put back on their feet and thus were able to restart their conversation with the earth. Dr. Pressel discovered early on that the calves revealed basic information about the condition of the entire person, which was confirmed by the diagnostics he performed on the back.
From this point on the alternation between the calf (lower) and the back (upper) massage became an important characteristic of his therapy. Dr. Pressel generally stuck to this pattern of massaging the calves and the back during alternating treatments with a minimum interval of three nights in order for the body to process the treatments. He very seldom made exceptions, when he did these were in a rhythm of 2:1 repeated for a few cycles when either the upper or lower part of a patient needed emphasis.
During the massage training it is unfortunately impossible to uphold the rule of keeping three days between the upper and lower treatments. There one has to practice leg massage one day and back massage the next.
This basic system , which has a foundation in the anthroposophical image of the human being, dictates that the leg and back massages never can be combined. The invisible line of separation drawn at the waist always has to be upheld.
Lies Pressel writes extensively about the reason for this basic system - the separation of the lower and the upper body, the alternation between leg and back massages and the connection to our foundation, Mother Earth (see bibliography).
What does not apply to other forms of massage with their different qualities of touch and other goals, is fundamental to the Pressel Massage: The leg treatment and the back treatment have opposites effects and only through their alternating togetherness do they create a complete healing stroke of the pendulum. Additionally the lemniscate movements of energy (see illustration) has the effects that what is on the top left appears on the bottom right, in a transformed form and in reverse. In order to sense this, the therapist needs a highly trained, very refined sense of perception.
This massage form has nothing to do with a “feel good” treatment or a spa massage, but is rather a very specifically aimed reorganization of the body according to the principle of “less is more”.
One of the basic elements of the massage becomes thus very clear: what is done in one part of the body has an effect somewhere else . Likewise, what is felt in one part of the body has its cause in another part. A complex web of causes and connections is unlocked, one step at the time, like hieroglyphics that will start speaking to those who pay attention and are able to see the rules.