Multi-Dimensional Movement Arts®, or MDMA® is a bodywork modality that is practiced in water. The art combines the lack of gravity felt when floating in water with massage and yoga-like techniques. While a client floats, Multi-Dimensional Movement Arts® practitioners help them relax through gentle body manipulations that may include stretching, squeezing and shaking. Working in warm water allows clients to fully relax their muscles, and it helps to slow circulation and heart rate. MDMA® is aimed to work on the physical, energetic, spiritual, and emotional bodies. Clients can be prepared to feel relaxed, re-aligned, and open to potentially experience emotional and spiritual releases.
The practice was developed by Sandy Friedland, a native of Miami Beach, Florida, and a longtime bodyworker. Multi-Dimensional Movement Arts® was inspired by Friedland’s love of the water and waves. She had experienced the freedom of movement that is possible in water due to the lack of gravity and felt the natural wave movements in water reflected the movement in energy throughout the body. MDMA® takes advantage of these qualities of water in order to relax, rejuvenate, restore, and explore the energy and physical bodies of both client and practitioner.
Multi-Dimensional Movement Arts® is most commonly practiced in warm bodies of water, usually in swimming pools where strong currents, waves, and the commotion of other people are absent. Clients can choose to wear a bathing suit or to be nude during the session. The womb-like environment is said to allow a more complete relaxation than would be possible on a massage table or chair. The water alters auditory function, and the warmth slows heart rate and blood circulation.
Clients rest their heads, arms, and legs on floating cushions so they can completely relax. MDMA® practitioners gently move and palpate clients’ bodies in wavelike and spiral motions. Techniques can include stretching, squeezing, gently pinching, shaking, or otherwise gently manipulating clients’ bodies. Floating clients in water allows MDMA® practitioners to access them from all angles. The lack of gravity means that normally tense or activated muscles in the client’s body can be completely relaxed, particularly spinal muscles that are involved with standing, sitting, and walking.
Friedland does not exclusively practice Multi-Dimensional Movement Arts® in the water, and claims that the principles of the technique can be applied at any moment and by anyone. Other MDMA® practitioners combine the technique with various bodywork modalities such as Thai massage, Lomi Lomi, and yoga. Some choose to offer MDMA® alongside other treatments, while others blend treatments together.