Why I Want to Bring an Ancient Form of Massage into the Modern World
Jun 30, 2017 07:37PM
by Michael Fox, LMT at Four Pillars
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Thai massage last year at the Sarasota School of Massage Therapy, where a two-day sample of this modality was taught by Joni Masse, an incredible and beloved teacher at SSMT. I was so eager to learn this practice that I started her class before even obtaining my massage license.
After this initial exposure to Thai massage, I was hooked. Unlike any other modality I’ve experienced, Thai massage took me to another realm of relaxation and meditation. Not only does the physical manipulation of tense muscles feel amazing, but the pure sensation of nurtured healing is life-changing.
Traditionally, Thai massage and bodywork has been practiced religiously within Buddhist cultures over thousands of years, used for both medicinal and spiritual purposes. As Buddhism spread throughout Asia and specifically within Thailand around the third century BC, so did written and oral traditions of this sacred form of massage.
Families would practice this on each other through a display of unconditional love and kindness which is a Buddhist principal called “Metta.” Thai massage is still being used today in hospitals around Thailand. It’s an honor to learn such a historic tradition of healing and integrate it into my own massage practice right here in the Sarasota area.
What can a recipient expect during a Thai massage? Typically, this bodywork is performed on a thick floor mat or cushion while dressed in comfortable, non-constricting clothes. The individual should enter each session with an open heart and mind.
Given its close relationship with yoga, one can expect to be assisted into yoga-like asanas (positions). Thus, preforming Thai massage greatly increases my yoga practice as well, bringing a new light into my journey of holistic living. The beauty of Thai work is that each session will take a different path. Both the therapist and client create an intuitive flow that leads to a natural healing, specific for each person, working together to reach goals and find balance. While on the mat, both the practitioner and recipient benefit from stretching and relaxing in this meditative state.
Equipped with healing hands and feet, the tools a Thai massage therapist will require are a person’s entire body and soul. Mixing palm presses, deep (or light) thumb pressure, forearm rolls and even feet are used to direct loving energy into the person on the mat. Increased flexibility and range of motion are common side effects to this bodywork. Gentle rocking can be used, as well as light pounding on tight muscles to help release stagnancy hiding within the body.
Acupressure is melodically placed along the energetic pathways, where in Thai theory these pathways are named “Sen” lines. Within this theory, there are about 72,000 Sen lines running up and down the body. The purpose of working these energy lines is to relieve excess energy, as well as to energize the life-force (Qi, chi, prana, etc.) deep inside. Thai massage is a unique method of rejuvenating the physical body, calm the mind and raise the spirit.
This healing art form allows me to witness changes happen right before my eyes. Watching the taut fascia unwind and stiff joints begin to rotate offers solid proof that ancient Buddhists were onto something revolutionary. I have just begun to scratch the surface of Thai bodywork, and I eagerly anticipate diving deeper into this magical modality. Dynamic Thai massage is my next goal on the horizon and I believe a trip to Thailand is a must.
At Four Pillars, we are creating a “melting pot” of wellness practices that I’m blissed to take part in. Offering an array of modalities such as sacred Lomi-Lomi, Five Element Shiatsu, Zero Balancing and, of course, Thai massage, there is something for everyone with endless opportunities to obtain health and mindfulness. Thai massage is easily paired with Reiki, myofascial, NMT trigger point therapy and more. The opportunities are endless!
On July 15, Four Pillars is celebrating “Thai Appreciation Day” with 45-minute sessions for $45. To schedule an appointment, call 941-373-3955 or visit FourPillarsFlorida.com.