Thai Yoga Massage
the world, Thai yoga massage is gaining in popularity at spas, and
training for practitioners in private practice is increasingly popular.
Sereno Spa, located on the golden sands of Goa, on India' west coast,
the Indian cultural heritage of yoga and Ayurveda is integrated
with contemporary spa principles of thalassotherapy, aromatherapy
and energy healing to help clients achieve emotional, physical and
healing therapies point to one truth: If mind and body are in alignment,
a state of general well-being is achieved. Yoga and massage are
transformational practices that foster an experience of mind-body
unity, thus merging the physical with the emotional plane. Thai
yoga massage essentially addresses the client's muscular tension
by assisting her in assuming particular asanas, or postures.
many believe that Thai yoga massage originated in Thailand, it actually
originated in India. It was embraced in Thailand when Buddhism spread
to Southeast Asia, says Kam Thye Chow, who studied and taught the
therapy in Thailand for eight years. Thai yoga massage can be traced
as far back as 2,500 years, and has its roots in the ancient healing
traditions of Ayurveda.
yoga massage, as we know it today, evolved from a meditative, introspective
practice that was closely connected with the teachings of the Buddha.
It was originally taught and passed on through Buddhist temples.
theoretical foundation of Thai yoga massage is based on the concept
of invisible energy lines running through the body. The Indian origin
and influence are obvious here, since the background of this theory
reflects yogic philosophy.
energy (prana) is absorbed through the food we eat and the
air we breathe. It is along a network of energy lines called prana
nadis that an individual is supplied with this vital energy.
Of these energy lines, Thai yoga massage has selected 10 main ones
along which there are especially important acupressure points. Massaging
these lines and points makes it possible to relieve pain and stress
as well as treat a range of ailments.
in energy flow results in insufficient supply of prana, which in
turn manifests as ill health. Thai yoga massage is a means to break
down blockages, stimulate free flow of prana and restore general
well-being. The 10 points can be thought of as windows into the
body that allow the exchange of cosmic energy through which the
body maintains its equilibrium with universal energy. In a typical
Thai yoga massage session, yoga postures are used with gentle stretching
and pressure to open the energy lines.
therapist assists the client into a stretch based on a yoga asana.
The therapist applies pressure to marma points
along the energy meridians, using her hands, feet and elbows. The
stretch and pressure gently rebalance the body’s energy flow,
and are considered beneficial to people of varying ages and degrees
yoga massage is a type of bodywork that combines gentle, assisted
yoga stretches with deep-tissue manipulation and marma stimulation.
It is believed that this technique opens up the body's energy channels
and creates enhanced self-awareness to take one to a deeper level
massage is … one of the most therapeutic massages,"
says Sanjay Khanzode, Sereno Spa’s director. "It is highly
effective for those suffering from chronic fatigue, sluggish circulation
and looking to re-energize mind and body. In my experience I've
seen this therapy to be the best to realign all levels of physical,
mental and spiritual fitness."
client wears loose, comfortable clothing and lies on a futon while
the 60-90-minute massage is performed. No oils are used. Soft lights
bathe the room in a gentle glow and strains of music fill the air.
yoga massage therapist need not necessarily be a yoga practitioner,
but she must be knowledgeable about the philosophy of yoga and well-versed
in breath-control techniques. Palm and finger pressure, breathing,
stretches and energy flow are the powerful tools a therapist works
with during a session.
breathing between therapist and client is a key component of Thai
yoga massage, an aspect that introduces a deep sense of tranquility
and meditative calm. "I feel that this therapy is like a dynamic
meditation tool, as I have to focus on my breathing and synchronize
it with my client's during a session," explains Jacob Thomas,
a massage therapist at Sereno Spa.
thoughts and feelings are completely intertwined in the fabric of
the body, yoga often initiates the release of emotions. With a focus
on balanced breathing, even muscular engagement and uniform stretching,
Thai yoga massage can clear unresolved feelings, practitioners say.
type of bodywork is beneficial to the giver, as well. Caroline Walden,
a licensed and nationally certified massage therapist, offers Thai
yoga massage as one of her therapies in At-One
Yoga Studio, in Scottsdale, Arizona. "The client's focus
is on breath and relaxation of the mind," she says. "I
work with the rhythm of the client's breath and create a connection
and a therapeutic dance on the body, which in turn is very meditative
for me. The client and I both feed off each other's energy. I feel
the sedating effects of the massage and am very relaxed after a
Call traveled to Thailand to become certified as a Thai yoga massage
instructor, and in 1995 she opened the Thai
Massage Center in San Rafael, California. Call has created a
magical setting: floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlooking bamboo
gardens and waving palms. The sounds of a waterfall, wind chimes
and birdsong begin her clients' sense of transport to a place of
recommend sessions early in the day for maximum therapy benefit,"
Call says. "The rhythm of Thai yoga massage is trance-inducing.
It cleanses, restores and uplifts. Clients say they ‘trudge
in and float out.’
massage, Call says, limits the practitioner, while Thai work done
on a mat on the floor allows incredible leverage and body dynamics,
opening and regenerating on a deeper level. "After a session,
I feel taller, lighter and more alive," she explains.
are many positions in this therapy that could be considered yoga
asanas, such as the assisted plow, cobra, wind-releasing asana,
half-locust, bow and cat-cow," Call adds.
client can be prone, supine, on the side or seated. There is a wonderful
and diverse repertoire a practitioner can draw from. The rocking
helps gradually open and relax; the stretching exercises nerves
and meridians; and the acupressure tones. What's best is Thai yoga
massage works with each individual's condition and capacities and
aims to improve [them]."
has worked with more than 1,000 clients in eight years, ranging
from computer programmers to airline pilots, architects, yoga teachers,
dancers, homemakers and martial artists. She offers a sliding scale
that ranges from $60-90 per hour, and offers seasonal and series
specials. "I looked for over 25 years worldwide for the ultimate
massage and stopped looking when I found Thai yoga massage,"
Girish in a free-lance writer in Chennai, India. Her work has appeared
in Parabola, Women’s eNews, Emerites Woman, American Health
& Fitness and Family Business.