Creator, Forearm Dance Massage
Val is recognized as a leader and an innovator in the massage industry, through the creation of her bestselling DVD series, Val Guin's Forearm Dance™, Original and Essentials. She has been an instructor and a therapeutic body worker for over three decades, focusing her private practice of 8 to 10 people a day on creating better posture and structural function, which creates more mobility and less pain within her students and clients. Along with holding seminars nationwide, she also holds her seminars locally at her studio in Santa Monica. Val is a frequent presenter at the AMTA conferences and is an approved provider for the NCBTMB for continuing education hours.
I was raised with the ocean. Taught by my Dad to love and respect it! He taught me to time waves, have fun and be safe. I was taught by my Mom to see what others do not see, to take the time to sit quietly so you will always see what others do not.
We played with whatever was best for the occasion. We bodysurfed and rafted, later we boogie boarded and surfed and now I also Paddle Surf. The ocean has kept me happy and also rehabbed me, physically, mentally and spiritually. I love the challenge of big waves, 8-10 feet, no bigger any more, and the peace of still water.
I have been asked to tell some of my story… Like so many massage therapists I always liked helping people. My family complained I always touched where they were sore; I was just drawn to what was bruised or did not feel good. At 4 yrs old I would rub my Dad’s shoulders after he worked all day. He would tell me I had strong hands, how happy that made me.
I helped take care of my Grandparents when I as 16. The Chiropractor and Physical Therapist would come, do their assessments and then teach me what to do to help rehab them. It was my responsibility to do the hands on work. I participated in nursing my Grandpa back from six strokes. I saw him have two strokes and it was heartbreaking. But to work with him and watch him walking and back in the garden again brought us all so much joy! I learned with patience, love, care and a little knowledge people could get their lives back.
My brother Billy and I were in a horrible car accident, Billy died at the scene. They said they lost me in the ambulance and had to shock my heart to bring me back.
What I experienced left me with no fear of death; I know my brother is fine and happy. It is the ability to embrace the physical form that has been the challenge ever since.
I understood after feeling so free and then coming back in this body just how challenging it is to be in pain and restriction. This keeps us separate. I knew if I could help people get out of pain and find freedom in their bodies then they would be able to connect better to God, their higher self, spirit, family, kids their animals and even strangers.
So I decided I would go to school and become a Physical Therapist. I started working at a hospital doing physical therapy while I went to school. On my way to class a drunk/drugged young man ran a red light smashing into my door. As my car was spinning around I was thinking, “No! I am not done yet”. Well I was done with the Physical Therapy path. No longer able to lift people or even stretch their limbs. My entire back was affected. I lost two inches, because of the vertebrae being compressed. My arms and legs would just give out without warning. Some days I felt strong and some days scared I would never walk again.
A few years later I was working at a YMCA in a “recovery job”. I greeted the women and gave them their uniforms and towels. Depressed with my life and job I complained to my Mom. She said, “Whatever you choose to do, do it 110%. This way you have no regrets, you have a chance to change the situation and at least you will be more satisfied. I listened! I learned every woman’s name and her weight loss goals. What a difference it made for me. One day, I was talking to some of the women and the on staff massage therapist. I told them how much I enjoyed and missed working on people. The massage therapist said, “Let me show you some things”. As I worked on her foot she sat straight up and said you are a natural you should go to school. I did not even know they had schools for Massage Therapists.
I went to an open house at IPSB (The Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing), I loved it. I was married at the time, had a two year old daughter and he was not supportive because of both the money and the time commitment. I thought that was the end of that dream until I came into work one day and I was given a card. It said, with a little help from your friends. I opened it and money and checks dropped out. The ladies from the YMCA gave me enough money to take the class. I signed up for the intensive class right away. Within two weeks of being in class I was hired at a spa in Beverly Hills. I learned very quickly this was not for me and began my private practice. I continued my education at IPSB and after several years was asked to train as a teacher. I taught and developed classes for IPSB for 28 years. I taught the core level I course, the advanced massage, pregnancy and infant massage, Deep Tissue and many special workshops including the Forearm Dance workshops that my DVD’s are based on.
I apply what I learned at IPSB, in Acupuncture school, Applied and structural Kinesiology, all the Body/Mind Postural classes every day.
I have an office in Santa Monica, CA right by the beach. I teach my workshops at this location.
I have maintained a very busy private practice for over 30 years. I see 37-42 people a week and enjoy every moment.
When asked how I came up with the Forearm Dance Technique I have to go back a bit. Complications from my accidents caused a temporary inability to use my left arm. This was in the beginning of my career and it changed everything for me. I had to use my body and tools very differently then I had been taught. Between the foundation of what I learned at IPSB, which is based in Tai Chi, and my foundation of being physical all my life is the only reason I could have taken it to a different place. The difference began taking form on the very first massage. Instead of pressing and leaning I began to lift the tissue. By lifting through the entire body, the tissue would lift. The fascia would become free and hydrated so easily. I could do so many more clients a day without getting tired and these concepts apply to all the tools not just the Forearm and Olecranon. People loved working this way and it became the Forearm Dance Seminars. My daughter Natiya watched just how much this helped my students. She decided to produce my DVD’s so we could help more students all over the world to save their hands and bodies and have productive careers.
These concepts have crossed over helping many clients with their workouts and any sport they participate in, at any level.
I am thankful for all my experiences. I have learned that I am not in charge but will do my best to learn and pass on what I can.