My love for Thai Yoga Massage and, my journey to juggling my role as massage therapist began in the idyllic surroundings of Ko Phi Phi, Thailand in 2000. Having nervously watched these Thai ladies perform what I would have described as rhythmic wrestling moves (which looked like they must hurt) from afar, I decided not to be a wimp and booked a massage. It didn’t hurt, and I didn’t feel like I’d gone 10 rounds with Big Daddy. It was utterly amazing!
So, what is Thai Yoga Massage?
Closely related to Ayurveda, yoga, Chinese Medicine and Japanese Shiatsu, it works with the body’s natural energies. The aim is to balance the flow of energy (lom, wind, chi, prana) through channels that extend across the entire body. These are known as the Sen. Numerous acupressure points are found along the Sen. These pathways can become blocked or broken through, for example, illness, injury, unhealthy lifestyle. By working the layers of muscles, tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints around the Sen the energy is encouraged to flow more freely.
It’s different to what many people expect. No oils are used and its performed through clothing on a futon. It immediately becomes clear why its done at floor level when you receive Thai Yoga Massage for the first time. I move around the body performing rocking movements, use a range of techniques including thumb pressure, elbow pressing, forearm rolling to apply pressure to tense muscles and to stimulate the Sen, gentle joint mobilisations and passive stretches that resemble yogic stretches.
Typically, if you enjoy yoga you will love Thai Yoga Massage!
Who has Thai Massage and why choose Thai Massage?
As one of my clients (a Massage Therapist) exclaimed recently: ‘this is THE type of massage to have!’ It is suitable for all ages and is highly adaptable.
My clients range from age 18 -80 and many have chronic health conditions. It is the perfect form of massage for anyone stiff/sore or fatigued by sport or the demands of work, family life, under stress or suffering from aches and pains. It’s an excellent massage to have if you’ve recently suffered illness, or, following the initial recovery period after an operation. The calming and healing effects of the massage impact all of the body. For example, the central nervous, digestive and respiratory systems are calmed, the circulation and immune systems are stimulated as blood and lymph flow is increased. Clients say they feel relaxed, well stretched, less tense and have a sense of serenity. My regular clients receive Thai Yoga Massage to reduce stiffness, stress and tension; improve mobility and posture; prevent injury and aid recovery after exercise.
Thai Massage practitioners cultivate a state of mind called Metta which translates as ‘loving kindness’. A very simple definition of this is to work with intent to heal. As a Thai Massage therapist, I recite theWai Khru, a prayer honouring the founding father of Thai Massage Jivaka. This grounds me, clears my mind and focuses my attention on my client. We will begin to explore the positive effect of Metta during the Thai Massage for Everyone workshop.
Lewis is owner/therapist at Heart + Hara Massage Therapies. Lesley is passionate about holistic Eastern styles of Massage and strongly believes in the wide-ranging impact on body and mind these dynamic yet deeply relaxing therapies can have. She has a passion for all things Thai, practices yoga and is a busy Mum.