Thai Yoga Massage
Loving Kindness Through Touch
What Is Thai Massage?
The best explanation of thai massage that I’ve heard is loving kindness through touch. This form of bodywork combines ancient wisdom with positive intentions to create relaxation and healing that transcends just the physical body. The common adage, ‘Treat people, not symptoms in people‘ sums up the approach to this holistic practice. Touch infused with awareness and compassion can be a powerful medicine. My goal is to spread this connection of loving kindness and the wisdom I have gained from my studies in the East and combine it with modern Western scientific understanding of the human body.
Thai massage focuses on opening energy blocks within the body to promote relaxation and healing. The combination of static and dynamic movements, stretching and compression, acupressure points, body harmonics, and transmitting positive intentions stimulates the flow of energy following the body’s natural energy lines. Therapeutic thai massage aims to treat the root cause of imbalances in the body in addition to relieving tension.
In today's society almost everyone exhibits a postural imbalance that leads to discomfort and loss of mobility and overall quality of life. Correcting the root cause of the problem rather than just putting a temporary band-aid over the resulting symptom can create long lasting relief. In this way healing is a cooperative effort, the receiver must take ownership of their own body and make conscious changes to ensure issues do not recur. Remember, you are the master of your own body. Your body is unique and each thai massage is tailored to individual’s specific needs, evolving in response to the body as a treatment develops, becoming a meditative experience for both the giver and receiver.
There's much more to thai massage than the typical image of having your body walked on or being twisted and manipulated into different positions. In fact, it is very peaceful and relaxing in its essence, a sacred meditative dance with an ever-expanding story line between the giver and receiver.
The name thai massage is actually a misnomer. It is not traditional massage in the sense that it is performed on a mat on the ground instead of on a table and the receiver remains fully clothed. The practice actually originated in India as a form of ayurvedic bodywork. Jivaka Kumar Bhacca is credited as the founder of thai massage. Ancient texts proclaim that Jivaka had extraordinary healing knowledge and was the doctor to the Buddha himself. Nuad Boran, as it is called in the thai language, is a practice designed to allow the receiver to enter a state of relaxation and self-healing. The video below demonstrates just a few of the thousands of techniques that can be used in a treatment.
Thai massage does not just focus directly on kneading muscles, connective tissue, or fascia, although they are undoubtedly all involved in and affected by thai massage. Rather, the focus is on combining spiritual, physical, and energetic healing techniques. The practitioner can use their fingers, hands, forearms, elbows, knees, and feet to explore the numerous ways in which the human body creates a perfect fit. These techniques are designed to create space for the receiver to engage in regeneration and self-healing. Thai massage practitioners are not healing the receiver but rather creating an environment through which the receiver’s body can heal itself. All true healing comes from within. We are but a conduit for positive intentions and energy to flow into the receiver.
Energy lines play a large role in thai massage, referred to as the ‘Sen Sib’ or ten main energy lines. They are very similar to the meridians in Chinese medicines and the nadis in yogic philosophy. Thai massage aims to promote the free flow of energy throughout the body along the energy lines. Where we feel discomfort or knots in our body is often not where the root cause of the problem resides. For instance, pain in the lower back can be the result of an old ankle injury creating instability that causes compensations and tension throughout the body. Massaging the lower back will hydrate the overworked tissues that are taking up the slack of the weak ankle and provide temporary relief. Working the ankle and the outside of the legs to stimulate the natural flow of energy along the fascial connections can help promote relief at the root cause of the problem, alleviating pain both in the short and long term.
One of the biggest aspects of thai massage is to transmit positive intentions and vibrations. A common adage states: ‘Treat people, not conditions in people’. Our bodies operate as a whole unit and respond positively to positive intentions. We are not our back pain, or our tweaky neck. We are human beings, and thai massage aims to help us be human beings filled with free flowing positive energy that we can share with the world.
If you are interested in learning the practice of thai massage contact me for more info. The next training will be in Nottingham, England from Jul. 31 - Aug. 4
I have completed over 350 hours of thai massage training with the Old Medicine Hospital Shivagakomarpaj and the Sunshine Network (in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Europe). These courses include aspects of traditional, thai yoga, and therapeutic thai massage. Much gratitude to my teachers, especially Till, Suriyan, and Laurino for their passionate teaching and embodiment of thai massage as a way of life.