What is Thai Massage?
There is no simple definition that answers many of the questions I get: Is it deep tissue? Does it hurt? That's the stretching massage right? The truth is it's a much broader topic than those questions can reach. There are a wide variety of techniques and approaches depending on the situation and the practitioner's emphasis in training. Each session can look vastly different from another so the main defining characteristic is whether the practitioner is using Thai theory. Which I'll get to. But first...
What to expect with Six Elements Bodywork:
I generally work on a floor mat using hands, arms, legs, feet, herbal therapies and whatever tools seem appropriate for the moment. The experience can range from gentle and relaxing to vigorous deep tissue. I am patient, detailed and thorough. Treatments focus on relief of symptoms and underlying patterns. To achieve this, I take into account what information you present about your condition and goals, then follow what presents itself to me, one layer at a time. Although I often do deep tissue work, I do a lot of gentle therapies too. Either way, my goal is to never force, but to meet the restriction pattern and follow it through to resolution, or as close as we can get to that.
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This work has helped people with symptoms from auto accidents, broken bones, torn tendons, sprains and strains, nerve pain, postural imbalances, adrenal fatigue, IBS, PTSD, TMJ disorders, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, scoliosis, headaches, bursitis, joint pain, back pain, life trauma and more.
Pregnant and postpartum bodies have also experienced much needed relief and support. See below for more details.
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Some Context as Promised:
Thai bodywork is part of the larger system of Thai medicine which includes a variety of techniques in assessing and treating the person, just like any other system of medicine. Like other traditional systems, Thai medicine evolved gradually throughout time, being influenced by the culture, geography, flora and fauna, climate and whatever resources were available to practitioners. Advances in understanding came through many generations of observation, practice and study.
Reusis, or hermits have had a tremendous contribution to "Thai Massage." Different lineages of Reusis have kept up a variety of knowledge topics, but those that influenced bodywork most directly have kept the practice of Reusi Dat Ton as well as a great deal of medicine knowledge.
Semi-recently in history, non-Thais visiting Thailand wanted to learn and practice local medicine. However most foreigners don't speak the language fluently, much less ancient medical Thai and Pali, the languages used in medicine texts. Nor do most foreigners have the ability to study for a few decades with a credible teacher. But because people were truly interested, Thai people have been teaching what they can and most of what has come abroad is a sort of collection of techniques we have been calling "Thai Massage." It's a small window into a very rich system that many of us are trying to learn more deeply and honor to the best of our abilities.
At its heart, "Thai Massage" and the greater system of Thai medicine is rooted in a wish to alleviate suffering.
Traditional Thai medicine includes a midwifery branch that focuses on menstrual issues, pregnancy support, postpartum recovery and menopause. As in the other aspects of the system, this includes daily practices, body therapies and herbal formulas.
Services specific to the needs of people born to these conditions include:
Bodywork for a pregnant body is quite different from that for a non pregnant body. Because you are more sensitive, the joints are looser and we're trying to keep the pregnancy stable, we don't really stretch and don't do much intense moving or deep work. Some spot specific deeper work can happen, but overall sessions are much more gentle. When supplies allow, we can use herbal compresses formulated for pregnancy.
Traditionally, bodywork is rare in the first trimester because it is a more sensitive time while the pregnancy is taking hold. However, in modern times we do massage throughout pregnancy. I will accept appointments at any stage but know that treatments will be even more careful during the first trimester.
Postpartum Support & Yoo Fai
Yoo Fai, literally means "by the fire." and refers to a main practice in Thai postpartum care:
KEEPING THE MOTHER WARM!
The first month after a baby is born is a crucial time for bonding but also for recovery. There are specific treatments aimed at detoxification and rejuvenation.
Included in Yoo Fai services we can offer here are bodywork and herbal therapies targeted for this time in life. Home visits and daily therapies are ideal, but logistically challenging. If you would like to try making this happen, we can be in conversation and do our best to make wishes come true. If you want to learn about it beforehand to implement at home, you can book a class.
Ongoing Support for cycle and general health:
Daily habits form a big part of keeping us healthy and this is no different for bodies that menstruate. However, there are certain practices and therapies aimed at keeping you healthy and vital throughout this period in life. Pun intended.
I have had successes helping to alleviate some of the discomfort resulting from a variety of menstrual issues as well as complaints that seem unrelated to menstruation but still wind up referring us back to habits or events that happened around cycles or past pregnancies.