Creator and massage therapist Val Guin explains why.
Val Guin isn’t your ordinary massage therapist. Having started out as the family body worker while still a child (whose parents praised her innate gift of the healing touch), Guin spent the majority of her early years touching, literally and figuratively, people’s lives. But when tragedy struck—two near-fatal car accidents that happened in her teens, one of which killed her brother—she was left severely incapacitated.
When she was 19, Guin was hit by a drunk driver and was left with partial paralysis of her left arm and draconian post-traumatic damage: low bone density, bulging disks, bone loss and degeneration. Guin’s prognosis of ever being able to regain full body motion was dim. And her hopes of ever pursuing the physical therapy career path she had chosen were slim.
Fast forward a few years and Guin’s rigorous physical therapy and rehabilitation paid off. Now, 30 years later, Guin is a therapist to the stars, one of the most sought-after massage therapists in Los Angeles, and the inventor of the “Forearm Dance.”
The forearm method was originally developed as a tool to cope with her handicap, but the groundbreaking technique that not only prevented excess tension, waste of energy and likelihood of pain and injury to massage therapist, but also single-handedly prolonged her career as a massage practitioner.
Guin, who attended some of the most prestigious Wellness and Holistic Health organizations including IPSB, Emperor’s College, Yo San University, Energenesis Institute and the Kinesiology Institute, to name a few, also evolved to become one of the most respected teachers in the field earning the approval seal of the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, an academic position as an instructor at the renowned Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing and a founding member of the Santa Monica Center of Healing Arts.
Her latest innovation is one that is sure to raise a lot of eyebrows, but Guin’s nonplussed by any controversy. Guin’s very unique approach to health and wellness has been dubbed the G-Spot Inter-Vaginal Self Massage. While the majority of the health expert’s focus on exercise and sleep as the backbone of good health, Guin puts her focus lower: the G-Spot.
Demystifying the stigma attached to the vagina, Guin encourages women to openly talk about sex to educate then on the health benefits of the G-Spot massage, which she says can help some of the most common daily ailments like back pain or sexual problems.
We just had to find out more about this therapist to the stars and her down-below rubdown.
You had two car accidents in two years, one that left you paralyzed and at one point pronounced dead. How hard was recovering from that?
The accidents were a year and a half apart. In the first one, I was 17 years old, and my younger brother was killed. I was pronounced dead. They defibrillated my heart in the ambulance and I came back. I had head and internal injuries. The part of the brain that was affected housed my short-term memory, language and social skills. It has been a long road and a struggle even now. The most interesting part about the first accident was that I had a near death experience that changed my life. In the moment I died, I was pain free. I realized I was looking down at my body and they were about ready to defibrillate my heart and then I was outside of the ambulance. It was unbelievable.
I understood what they say, that we’re one with God and with everything. There’s no separation; we are all connected. Everything made sense to me—why we’re here, what we’re doing. Colors were sounds and sounds were colors unlike any sound or color I’ve ever seen here. Then I thought, my mom can’t lose two children and I was slammed back into my body. It was the most horrific, painful experience. Not only realizing I lost my brother, but that I was back in a restricted body and was separate from everything. Once I got home, I spent three months catatonic in my brother’s room.
How’d you move forward?
What I realized was that restrictions are what keep people separate from all relationships with God, family, lovers, animals. If a person can come out of that restriction, a person can move more freely and it’s healthier. That’s why I decided to go to school. I wanted to go to school, so I decided on physical therapy and got training as a restorative nurse. I was taking classes to become a physical therapist. I was 19 at the time and, on my way to class, a drunk driver hit me. My car was sent spinning across 4 lanes of traffic and smashed into a fence. It reactivated old injuries—scar tissue to the spine from spinal meningitis. And I lost 2 inches, my back was broken, I had compressed discs resulting in nerve impingement resulting in partial paralysis in both arms and legs.
What was that recovery like? Were you very in tune with your body at that point or was there a sort of disassociation because of your injuries?
I was [still] in the process of recovery from the first accident. I am still in the process of recovery to this day. I have to do exercise every day to just move. I also do particular exercise if I want to do particular things like go surfing or sit at a computer and write. With partial paralysis there are good days and bad days. For years I couldn’t hold a glass, so I made sure I used plastic. Some days I’d lose the use of my leg and would be lying there on a sidewalk until I could use my leg again. It was very humbling I have to say.
I’m recovered to a degree, but I’ve also compensated greatly just to survive. I found rehab to be not very useful. My body was too confusing and my body was always hurt by the people trying to help me, so I discovered techniques on my own. A friend suggested I go to massage school. I did and that’s where it all began to change for me. In massage school, I learned proper body functioning and positioning. I learned Tai Chi. I learned scaravelli Yoga, which taught me the subtlety of elongation that is how I got most of the space back in my spine. It’s a long, patient arduous process of subtle body awareness. I have space between all of my vertebrae, no trace of impingements. Better today at 51 than I was at 21!
You had wanted to be a massage therapist even when you were very young. Did you think, Oh, professional massage is what I want to do when I grow up? Or did you simply think, I like making other people feel better?
Ever since I was 4 years old and I would rub my dad’s shoulders when he came home from work. I wanted to help people feel better. I didn’t know anything about massage until my mom took me to shiatsu massage for migraines when I was 16.
You developed the Forearm Dance technique. How do you describe Forearm Dance (FAD) to your patients?
I had been a massage therapist for three years, had just started teaching and lost the use of my left arm, due to complications from the car accidents. Because of that I had to do my massage practice with just one arm. So it unveiled itself basically by need. The clients didn’t even know I only had the use of one arm. They loved the way it felt. The skill and the change that was created changed my bodywork philosophy from what I was taught. I was taught a good foundation but this expanded past that point. My students loved what I was doing, so I started teaching FAD workshops along with my therapeutic workshops.
FAD is so popular because people enjoy the DVDs and it is saving their hands and their practices. Also FAD is the foundation for the therapeutics. My practice is based in therapeutics so I help people recover from accidents and injuries. They come to me because their bodies don’t function to the degree they would like.
Were you surprised it became so popular?
Yes, and I was also hoping [it would]. I’ve been a dedicated teacher for 25 years and all I thought was, How could this get out and help people? I have been so pleasantly surprised with the emails I’ve received from practitioners all over the world. They tell me they can work on more people, more efficiently without getting hurt or tired. They also feel their bodies getting stronger by the day.
That of course was 30 years ago or so. Now you’re one of the most respected bodywork practitioners in the U.S. What have you learned in that time about the state of women’s health?
Bottom line is that they do too much, give too much, don’t recognize and are not conscious of their own personal needs. Women tend to be caretakers. What I found is that when women learn to take care of themselves, they can still be as caring and loving to their partners, even more so because they will be out of pain, strong, light, joyful and basically enthusiastic about their life experience.
You have some celebrity clientele. Are there any A-listers who’ve been seeing you for the length of your career?
My practice is completely built on word of mouth. One person gets help from something they want to change in their life, be it hitting a 72 in golf, or walking with more fluidity on screen, or running the iron man—so with both my A-list celebrities or professional or high-end athletes, it’s about a goal. They don’t come to me for massage—if that’s what they want I refer them to one of my students to go give them a massage. They come to me because they want to change their lives and improve their careers. So they come in and out of my practice when they need something.
Are the needs of actors or athletes different than non-celebrity clients?
I need to not only change the way they feel but the way they look. If their eyes are puffy, or one shoulder is elevated, or if their back is too swayed it affects how they look on camera. So for them…it’s about how they look because the world is looking at them, in addition to changing the way they feel. Same with the athletes, it’s important they resolved their injuries, their recovery and improving their time or ability is essential.
Tell me about body psychology, healing the mind to re-adjust the body.
I involve the balance of the body, mind and spirit with everything I do. It’s about our memories that are stuck in our bodies that keep us from moving forward and from being as authentic and present in our lives as we would like to be. The goal is not to be effected by our past. The idea of bodywork is to clear that so a person has a better chance. It doesn’t take the place of therapy, but it gives them a better chance. We’re basically a result of our experiences, and the more we get the bad or abusive experiences out of our lives, we have the space to replace it with more joyful better experiences to come into our lives.
One of the ideas you have that I find most interesting is this concept of a G-Spot Self Massage. What exactly is it and how does it benefit women?
The G-spot is located inside of the vagina. If you slip your finger inside and just up a little behind the pubic bone, you will feel an area that swells with excitement. Massaging this area will increase your orgasm. You’ll have an orgasm that comes from deep inside and rises all through the body. It’s a much deeper and longer orgasm than a clitoral orgasm.
Now the G-spot is just one area. There are other spots, called inter-vaginal points. This energy has been understood and used for thousands of years in all cultures around the world. Much of it can be traced back to the roots of Tantra, Taoism, the Shamans, Kahunas and healers. It is the most powerful energy we have and when directed it can increase a women’s overall wellness. During the ’70s and ’80s, chiropractors, osteopaths, body workers were all familiar with these points but due to the controversy of these points, few practitioners worked on people. It’s obviously controversial for someone to be working on these points. Practitioners I used to refer to do [vaginal massage] no longer exist, so for the last 20 years, I have been teaching women to do these points on themselves.
Talk to me about penetration.
Many women believe that penetration is not necessary for a healthy sex life; this seems to be especially true in the lesbian community. This belief is not true. These inter-vaginal points are extremely powerful, in terms of orgasm and women’s health and wellness. Lesbians could potentially have better orgasms and be healthier if they would learn to incorporate vaginal penetration into their sex lives. Healthy inter-vaginal points cause a healthier pelvis, spine elongation, which results in better posture, better energy, less discomfort of pain, better organ function so you have less menstrual and menopausal cramping, better bladder and bowel function, and it allows the pelvis to be in a better position for more fulfilling sex.
Where are these inter-vaginal points?
The inter-vaginal points line the walls of the vagina; you can have harder areas and softer areas. Much like your shoulders are probably tight because of stress, and the back of your arm, your triceps, is soft due to lack of tone.
Massaging these areas gently decreases the tightness and tones the areas that lack integrity, bringing an equal balance to the tissue.
How do you do a G-spot massage and how do you know if it’s working?
The easiest way to do this is with a G Spot stimulator. Gently explore the tissue, you may or may not feel or understand how the tissue feels or how it is changing but you will still notice a difference in your overall well-being. Look for changes in your posture, your attitude and how you feel. For those of you wanting to really practice and understand that, you [should look] for tissue changes. When you find a spot that feels like it does not let you sink in gently, do not push hard; instead just gently hold the G-spot stimulator over the spot and allow it to melt into the area. If you find areas that seem overly soft, then again hold the G-spot stimulator over the area pressing very gently and you will feel the tissue begin to gain firmness.
What’s the usual reaction when you tell women to do the G-spot self massage?
Many women are embarrassed at first and then they realize that it feels good to have a place to tell their story and ask questions. I find most women feel a bit isolated around these topics, and usually feel that everyone else understands but they do not. Having understanding and control over your own body makes a woman feel powerful and confident which of course leads to enthusiasm and fun. You can do this alone or with a supportive partner. Your healthcare practitioner will not be the one to do these points with you. It really comes down to legalities, which is why no one I know does these points on their clients any more.
Many women come into my practice by referral or, often, sent by their partner. I am doing bodywork on these women, working on them through the external muscles and energetically. I let them and the partner know that if I work on them they will start to feel—and is that OK? Women often say there body just doesn’t work anymore and they are not interested in sex. As we know this happens often in long-term relationships, but way too often in lesbian relationships. As many have said, It is not that I don’t want sex, I do not want the sex I am having. So by taking control of their body, they take control over their lives.
Do clients report back to you?
Women who have practiced these points usually come back with glowing reports. They speak of having experiences of less back pain or no pain, more control of their bladder, they have a swing back in their walk. They also begin to feel better about themselves, which leads to a better sex life. Many women begin to work out because they start to feel better resulting in weight loss and tone. I could tell you stories all day long. It is very rewarding to see the transformation in these women, their relationships and their lives.
Are you a native Californian? How does that affect add to your life and practice?
I was born and raised in California, typical beach lifestyle of outside fun and water sports. I still surf and I am now doing Stand Up Surfing. I love to teach, women especially, to Stand Up Surf because they are laughing so much and blown away that they can do such a thing—and they are usually over 50. And, 30 years later, I still love every day working with my clients and teaching my students.