TRADITIONAL THAI YOGA MASSAGE – what is it?
Thai Yoga Massage is a very ancient therapeutic bodywork combining acupressure, gentle stretching and applied Yoga. It can bring relief from pain and neuromuscular disorders, relieve stress and anxiety, and help with such diverse conditions as stroke recovery, asthma, back pain and frozen shoulder. Crucially it brings about a deeply relaxing spaciousness in body and mind, so it is perfect for any nervous system disorders.
It was first practiced over 2500 years ago in northern India, and almost certainly has it’s origins in the traditional Indian systems of Ayurveda and Yoga. It shares similarities with the meridian pathways of Chinese Medicine and Shiatsu – although the 10 Sen lines used in Thai Massage are very different from those used in those systems. It reached Thailand with Buddhism around 2000 years ago and is now on every street and corner of Thailand where it remains the principle system of medicine today.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
It works on many levels…. Thai Yoga Massage is based on the belief that a life-force energy called prana circulates around our body. We absorb this prana from the air we breathe and the food we eat. If you’ve ever been to my Yoga class you will be well aware of cultivating prana as a means of well-being.
In Thai Massage these prana pathways make up an energy line system called ten sen. The system is said to be made up of 72,000 energy lines which make up the energy body or pranamaya kosha. If there is a blockage along any of these lines which prevents the free flow of prana, this can lead to dis-ease on a physical, emotional or spiritual level.
So we focus on working on these 10 important energy lines, and by working thoroughly we can treat the whole body including the internal organs. This will ensure that blocked energy is released, restoring health, harmony and balance. When your prana is flowing freely, your health and well-being is greatly improved! We can be imaginative and creative in Thai Yoga Massage, making it a meditative rhythmic dance, and introduce many techniques for healing the subtle energy body.
A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
Thai Yoga Massage was traditionally practiced in Buddhist temples and so has an important spiritual dimension, it was an extension of Buddhist practice – particularly meditation. This meditative aspect takes two forms. Firstly when we give a massage we are working with full awareness, being present in each moment and working mindfully through each part of the receivers body. Secondly we practice metta, or loving kindness meditation – in this way Thai Yoga Massage is said to be “the physical application of loving kindness” This is such a beautiful way of describing this way of working and is a huge part of the felt experience.
Perhaps most important is the intention with which we give the massage. A massage given with care, awareness and presence will feel totally different from one given in a mechanical, technical way. Being in meditation allows a deep listening and an intuitive aspect that will allow prana to flow freely, and the whole experience will feel wonderful, calm and peaceful for both giver and receiver
EAST AND WEST
Asian and western medicine systems differ greatly in their approach to healing and wellness. Here in the west we like to study a symptom analytically and find a solution that will suit everybody, this is a reductionist way of working where we often treat symptoms in isolation. In traditional Asian medicines there is no “one size fits all” solution and we take a more holistic approach. It is a more intuitive approach, finding a way of working that feels right in that moment, a treatment that will fulfil the purpose.
Ancient Thai culture forbade the disection of dead bodies, therefore there was little understanding of anatomy and physiology as we know it today, instead they learned how the energetic body worked and how massage could be used to heal people by releasing blockages. Of course we now have a detailed knowledge of the inner workings of the human body, and whilst this is immensely helpful, this scientific approach will not make a Thai Yoga Massage more effective as we are primarily working in an intuitive and creative way, responding to the energetic flow of the prana.
EFFECTS AND BENEFITS
There are many benefits, some of them profound. As we are mainly concerned with balancing energy, it usually takes a few days for the full re-balancing effects to be felt, and the benefits of this can be felt long after the treatment.
Initially there could be extreme tiredness which is a sign of old and negative energy leaving the body, or a feeling of having lots of energy which indicates that new energy is flowing into the body. Whatever your initial response, you can be sure that after a few days you will feel re-charged and full of energy!
You may experience greater flexibility in the joints, better circulation, better alignment in the body, improved posture and a better functioning of your organs. You will also feel more peaceful, relaxed and tranquil which is such a gift in our stressful world.
HOW LONG IS A TREATMENT?
A really good Thai Yoga Massage covers all the bases and is a slow and meditative process of unwinding and relaxation. I like to allow at least 90 mins, and 2 – 2.5 hours is a really good length of time.
A treatment every month is a great way to stay on top of your well-being in a holistic way. There are huge benefits to regular therapy and Yoga for overall health and longevity!
Please arrive 5 mins before your appointment time, and please wear joggers/leggings and a T shirt. The treatment if given through clothing and we work from a futon on the floor.
90 mins £60 2hrs £70 2.5 hrs £90
I have had the privilege of working with some truly great teachers over the years both in the UK and in Thailand. There are many people now combining skills which are adding to the richness of this great healing art. In particular my training in ThaiVedic Yoga which incorporates Ayurvedic and Yogic principles with Thai Massage techniques is particularly helpful – enabling a broader more holistic approach to these subtle healing arts.
My work as a Yoga teacher also means I am able to offer you a 1:1 Yoga session and a personalised takeaway practice so you may continue with a Yoga practice at home to complement your treatment plan.
I look forward to working with you in the near future. Follow the links on my web page for more details of all I offer!