In the 1950s Dr. Pressel on several occasions spent time in Holland with Dr. Bernard Lievegoed (1905 - 1992) in order to further immerse himself in Anthroposophy. The knowledge of the seven planet qualities that he developed there soon became the spiritual essence of his massage. During the evening gatherings he held for his patients he readily explained about the qualities of the different planets, whereby he typically described two opposing planets at a time. What is meant here is the anthroposophical view of the planet forces as a cosmic seven fold development of nature and the human being and their various sentiments that can be brought to flow into the massage (this has nothing to do with astronomy or astrology). Dr. Pressel’s ambition was to learn how to cultivate a consciousness of the different qualities of touch through acute awareness . He called the planets his teachers.

Foto: Privat, 1989
Picture: Private, 1989

Through his collaboration with Elisabeth van Schouwen (1929 - 2021, later Lies Pressel) a new element was added to the massage in 1958: She suggested he expand the massage by adding grips developed by Margarethe Hauschka, MD, in order to harmonize and complete the massage. Dr. Pressel welcomed this. Lies Pressel, who was trained in Hauschka massage, had collected valuable therapeutic experience through her previous practice. She noticed that Dr. Pressel nearly exclusively worked with his fingertips using grip qualities described as “friction” by massage therapists. The effect is deep and energizing, heavily influenced by the qualities of the planets “above” the sun. The strengthening and nourishing qualities of the planets “below” the sun are communicated through the grip qualities of Dr. Hauschka’s Rhythmical massage, which from now on were incorporated in Dr. Pressel’s practice. This resulted in the duration of each treatment becoming substantially longer.

In the Bayreuth practice it was not uncommon to treat up to 30 patients daily so each massage had to be performed in a very regimented manner. It was important to assess the health condition of each patient quickly: Dr. Pressel had a gift for palpating and feeling the essence of the tissue and thereby also what was essential for determining the diagnosis and following treatments. This activity was entirely tangible and conscious and had nothing to do with psychic abilities.