- Increases energy
- Releases tension and stress
- Aids in pain management and reduces back pain
- Provides relief from arthritis
- Improves blood and lymphatic circulation
- Increases flexibility and opens joints
- Relaxes the body and quiets the mind
- Improves neurological function
- Strengthens the internal organs
- Promotes inner peace
Regular practice of asanas (poses) and meditation can help such diverse ailments including diabetes, blood pressure, digestive disorders, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, chronic fatigue, asthma, and heart conditions.
What can I expect in a Thai massage session?
Probably the most notable aspect of Thai massage is that it is performed on a mat on the floor, rather than the traditional massage table. Also, the client is fully clothed in loose clothing so that the practitioner can take the client into various poses. The client will lay on their back, on both sides, and on their stomach for a series of stretches, manipulation of various acupressure points, and application of warm herbal compresses. The massage lasts for 75-90 minutes.
Part of traditional Thai medicine is the use of herbal compresses during a massage. These herbs
- promote relaxation
- aid in digestion
- increase circulation
- build immunity
- contain healing properties
You should always inform the practitioner of any contraindications or special needs. The medicinal herb compresses include yellow ginger, camphor, eucalyptus, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, cinnamon, sao loung, watergrass, so please indicate any allergies.
Basic Principles of Eastern Bodywork
The Eastern approach to medicine is holistic in nature. When we say "holistic", we are speaking in terms of the whole person: body, emotions, mind, and spirit. They are not separate. Everything is connected. When one is out of balance, it can affect the other.
An important element of Eastern medicine is the concept of life force or energy. In Yogic terms, it is referred to as prana, in Chinese terms it is chi, and in Japanese terms it is ki. All are referring to the basic principle of life force energy, which flows along specific channels. Along these channels are specific energy points that when blocked, the energy is either in excess in one area of the body and a deficiency in another. Think of these energy channels like a river. Notice when there is a large boulder or rock in the river. Do you notice that the water is in excess on one side of the stone and trickling on the other? This is howthose blocked acupressure points affect your energy. When these points are stimulated, it releases the tension or blockage (takes away the stone) and then the energy flows freely and allows the body to heal itself.
In Eastern healthcare, it is said that disease is initially caused by tension or stress or dis-ease. Typically, there will be pain or tension in some areas of the body (often causing toxic build up) before certain symptoms of an ailment will incur. It is to our advantage to work on physical imbalances before they develop into more serious diseases and before the toxic build up has caused damage to our internal organs. Disease is a stateof being and reflects what we do with our lives. If we are harmonious, we have good health. If any part of our wholism is out of balance, then it may eventually reflect disease.
The Secret to "the Fountain of Youth"
Deep breathing and flexibility are your fountain of youth. Think of a young toddler and watch their breathing. It's deep and comes from the diaphragm. As a person increases in age, their breathing becomes more shallow and from the chest, and in old age becomes even more shallow and from the throat. Training yourself to breathe from the diaphragm can help you increase efficient oxygen intake, nourish your soft tissue and internal organs, and create a calm spirit reflecting in health (which is beauty). Additionally, flexibility (especially in the spine) also creates a youthful body. When you watch your cat or dog get up from a nap, what is the first thing they do? They stretch their back. This creates space and allows for proper nerve flow, which goes to all parts of the body. Think of when you had vertebrae out of alignment. It more than likely affected the nerves and muscles in that local area and probably affected an internal organ associated with that nerve. By systematically stretching your spine in all directions, you can release tension and keep your spine properly aligned. If you have a limber spine, you have a youthful body; stiffness in the spine is a sign of aging. Yoga is one way to help you achieve both deep breathing and flexibility. Thai massage is "lazy man's yoga" – someone else is doing the work for you. With Thai massage, we use both acupressure and yoga to help you relieve blockages, open energy channels, create an open pathway for your nervous system nourishing all parts of your body, calming your mind, and making you feel youthful.
The Origins of Thai Massage - excerpts by C. Pierce Salguero
Thai massage dates back some 2,500 years ago and was founded by Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha (Father Doctor or Shivago), a yogi and doctor of Ayurveda. The most distinguished person Jivaka worked on was the Buddha. Inscriptions of the teachings were preserved and can still be studied at Wat Pho temple in Bangkok. However, the styles in the north of Thailand have been fused with hill tribe traditions and have been handed down orally and taught from one generation to another.
Some of the ancestry of Thailand originated in the south of China, which was forced to move because of the pressures of war, hunger, and disease. Thus, Thai massage was influenced and contains some elements of Chinese healing arts, which include acupressure and the study of chi (life-force energy). Also, as Theravada Buddhism spread during the 2 nd and 3 rd century from India, so did the practice of Ayurveda and yoga. Likewise, much of Thai herbalism and massage follow the Ayurvedic system, which include tridosha (vatta, pita, kapha which are loosely translated to energetic forces) and nadis (energy lines). Because Buddhism has historically played such a big part in the establishment of Thai massage, it is therefore regarded as a spiritual practice.
The theoretical basis of Thai Massage lies in the theory of energy lines that run throughout the body. Out of 72,000 energy lines, the focus is on 10 major lines (Ten Sen). The client is taken into various asanas (poses) while acupressure is applied. Today, Thai massage is gaining mainstream recognition and is becoming well known for its effectiveness in generating relaxation, health, and well being.
What is Ayurveda?
*Ayurveda originated from India and is more than 5,000 years old. Ayur means life and Ved means knowledge. This holistic science is the knowledge of complete balance of the body, mind and spirit, including the emotions and psychology on all levels. It includes in its consideration longevity, rejuvenation, and self-realization therapies through herbs, diet, exercise, yoga, massage, aromas, tantras, mantras, and meditation. According to Ayurvedic tradition health is the balance of elements air, earth, fire, and water. Illness is an excess or deficiency of any particular element. Ayurveda treats illness at its source, rather than at the level of symptoms, and helps an individual to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.