Thai Massage Training to be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand from May 19 – June 4, 2011

The Integrative Healing Society (www.ihsociety.com) will be holding a two-week Thai massage training program in the beautiful Northern city of Chiang Mai from May 19 – June 4, 2011. The course will include 60 hours of education and will give participants all the necessary information and training experience they need to be able to give a complete Thai massage.

While Thai massage is a unique form of therapeutic bodywork in its own right, the Northern style of Thai massage incorporates many yoga-like stretches into its sequences. The assisted stretches that are fundamental to Thai massage make for a truly invigorating and healing experience. Termed by some as “lazy mans yoga,” Thai massage allows the therapist to work on the patient, in such a way, that the patient gets many of the health benefits that they would if they were to do an active form of yoga.

Another important component of Thai massage is the way in which it works with acupressure like stimulation. While Thai massage is a more broad and “flowing” form of meridian therapy than most forms of acupressure, its techniques have many overlaps with some of the Chinese acupressure methods. The Chinese systems tend to emphasize applying pressure at a limited number of key points; however, Thai massage stimulates the entire length of the major meridians.

“Acupressure as practiced in the Chinese styles tends to zero in on target areas of concern and points that will specifically address symptoms. The Thai massage methods are a more systematic approach in that they address the whole energetic structure of the anatomy. These two systems are a great compliment to one another,” commented James Spears, the founder of the Integrative Healing Society.

For massage therapists that have an interest in acupressure, tuina, shiatsu, or yoga, Thai massage is a system that offers a dynamic approach to these other methods. Its techniques allow for a comprehensive integration of the large body of Asian massage and bodywork methods.

In addition to offering massage tours to Thailand, the Integrative Healing Society also organizes trips to China for students and professionals to learn acupressure, tuina, Chinese herbs, and acupuncture. Most of their tours are approved for continuing education credits, and they also work with schools and colleges to help them organize study abroad programs to Asia.

For additional information about this event visit www.ihsociety.com

7 Recommended Massage Places in Bangkok by “The Australian” Newspaper

The Australian recently recommended 7 Massage places in Bangkok.

BANGKOK is the city of the massage. There are day spas and massage parlours lurking around every corner, from grubby shopfronts (where the masseur’s skill may surprise you) to gleaming edifices.

The pamper palaces offer an extensive and creative range of treatments, incorporating everything from salt to caviar or gold, as well as the Cleopatra-style luxury of lying prone while experts simultaneously work their magic: a pedicurist for the feet, a manicurist for the hands and a beauty specialist for the head. Some spas have steam rooms and hot tubs; many have attached cafes and nearly all have modern bathrooms for post-massage showering.

Here is the list of recommended places: The Mandarin Oriental, Mulberry, Silom Bodyworks, Lavana, Bodytune, Vanilla and Health Land. The first ones are the most expensive, the last ones the least.

Source: Here’s the rub, The Australian, February 19

Benefits of GIVING Thai Massage

Much is said for the healthful benefits of receiving Thai massage, the holistic, healing and often life changing energy based bodywork from Thailand. Its benefits lie in the fact that Thai massage addresses the whole person – body, mind and spirit. Its attention is broad, complete, hopeful, honoring and trusting of each person’s innate ability to heal and become well. It is based on the concept that a life force energy circulates along energy pathways throughout the body, maintaining health and vitality. It works along these energy pathways to correct imbalances and remove any restrictions that can result in pain, tension or dis-ease. By facilitating energy to flow freely and unrestricted, tension eases, pain lessens, flexibility increases, blood and lymph circulation improves, elimination of wastes and toxins is enhanced, body-mind energies come into balance and the person relaxes and experiences an overall sense of well-being. Yes, much is said about the benefits of receiving, but less about the benefits of giving – and Thai massage is beneficial for the giver.

Traditional Thai massage, is the sacred healing bodywork of Thailand, but has influences from other countries, cultures and medical traditions. Its origin is credited to an Indian physician Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, also known as Doctor Shivago Komparaj, who is said to have been the personal physician and friend to the Buddha over 2500 years ago. It’s influences include acupuncture, herbs, and Tui-na massage from China and Ayurvedic massage, yoga asanas (postures) and Buddhism from India.

An important aspect of Thai massage is that it applies the Buddhist teachings of the four divine states of mind – metta (loving kindness ), kuruna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy) and upekkha (equanimity). Metta is the desire to make others happy and the ability to show loving kindness. Kuruna is having compassion for those who suffer and the desire to ease their suffering. Mudita is rejoicing in sympathetic joy with those who have good fortune and never feeling envy. Upekkha is regarding others with equanimity, having a state of composure arising from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment, without preference, prejudice, judgment or criticism. While applying the qualities of metta, kuruna, mudita and upekkha with the desire for the receiver’s well-being, the giver creates a moving meditation, mindfully flowing from one position to the next. This benefits the overall health of not only the receiver, but the giver as well.

Thai massage is also beneficial to the giver, as it encourages him or her to be healthy and balanced – physically, emotionally and spiritually. In order to give an effective and quality Thai massage, one must be in good physical and emotional condition with plenty of energy. Since Thai massage is such a close and intimate form of bodywork, it is important for the giver to feel as healthy, or healthier, than the receiver. Being in good condition makes it easier to focus, tune in to the receiver’s needs and create a circuit of energy between giver and receiver that benefits both.

Thai massage appears more tiring and strenuous than it actually is. By using good body mechanics and leverage, rather than forced muscle strength, it is not straining and takes less effort than is apparent. Often, the giver feels invigorated following a session. When done mindfully and with proper technique it can be quite relaxing. The giver remains in a meditative state of mind while stretching and strengthening his or her own body. During the massage, it is important the giver stay relaxed, mentally scanning his or her body for areas of held tension. By constantly self-correcting, breathing into tight areas and releasing any areas of tension as needed, the giver receives the health giving effects as much as the receiver.

In the West, Thai massage is often called Thai Yoga Bodywork, since giving Thai massage is similar to doing yoga. It shares similar benefits, such as increased flexibility and strength and improved circulation. As in doing yoga, giving Thai massage is also beneficial for internal organs and glands, as well as for all systems of the body including the muscular, vascular, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems. It improves the givers posture, body alignment and body awareness as well as his or her breathing and ability to remain balanced, centered, present and calm. Done regularly, it helps keep the giver healthy and young.

The beauty of Thai massage is that both giver and receiver benefit. There is a circuit of energy that flows between them during their therapeutic dance that is mutually balancing. Giver and receiver become co-facilitators in the practical expression of loving kindness that improves their well-being. Because of this, the giver may continue to practice the health enhancing art of Thai massage for a long time, even into their old age.

Pati Starzynski is an Illinois licensed massage therapist, a registered Thai therapist through THAI (Thai Healing Alliance International), is nationally certified through NCBTMB (National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork) and is a professional member of AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association). She is also a certified yoga teacher through the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA.

Pati is co-owner of One Point Connection where she enjoys the benefits of practicing the healing art of traditional Thai massage.

Thai Yoga Benefits

Editor: This is a guest post by Elena Mancini.

Thai Yoga Massage is definitely an ancient and sacred system of healing with roots in Yoga, Ayurvedic Medicine and Buddhist spiritual practice. Thought to happen to be developed over 2,Five centuries ago, it’s a unique and deeply powerful type of Yoga Therapy. Integrating rhythmic massage, acu-pressure, asanas (Yogic stretches), gentle twisting, energy work and meditation, Thai Yoga therapy stimulates and balances the flow of healing energy inside the body. It will help open areas that are blocked bringing the individual deeper into balance and harmony for health, happiness and wellness to be. Thai Yoga is definitely an optimal type of therapy for individuals who aim to powerfully release stress and increase vitality and well-being.

Thai Yoga is usually practiced on the ground on the thickly padded yoga mat. Also known as assisted yoga or active massage, it’s an interactive type of massage that needs the recipient’s active participation to ensure that the massage to occur. The recipient is going to be assisted into postures and stretches and experience having his / her weight manipulated to maximise the number of extension. Due to the shared intimate physical and spiritual space that the session requires, it is crucial to locate a licensed professional practitioner that puts the customer comfortable. The Thai Yoga product is a light method of stretching your body and strengthening the bond between mind, body and spirit. It’s a type of healing that benefits both practitioner and receiver.

Holistic Directories instead of conventional spas work best places to consider ethical, professional Thai Yoga practitioners.

A great certified Thai Yoga therapist with whom I’ve enjoyed powerful healing experiences is Sandra Gerhold at http://www.thaiyoganola.com – Ms. Gerhold is really a therapist of great integrity and practices Thai Yoga and lymphatic drainage in Ny and Louisiana.

Thai Yoga Massage – What Is It and What Are the Benefits?

This is a guest post by Leena Patel:

Thai Massage can also be called Thai Yoga or Thai Yoga Massage, because hands, knees, legs, and feet are utilized to move the recipient right into a number of yoga-like stretches. It’s a powerful tool for healing and transformation for those who want to ease right into a lifestyle that’s depending on overall health. Clients often comment that Thai Massage is similar to passive or assisted yoga. It’s a superb stepping-stone to commencing a yoga practice…or perhaps a way of gaining the advantages of yoga without having done the ‘work’!

The spirit of Karuna (compassion) is transmitted throughout Leena Patel’s sessions and therefore receiving her Thai Yoga remedies are by themselves a kind of meditation which could bring calm, clarity and inner peace. Leena’s jobs are an outpouring from the heart where she aims for connecting using what is required by each recipient to ensure that him/her to see healing and transformation on the physical, emotional and spiritual level.

Thai Yoga Massage is much more energizing and much more dynamic than more classic types of bodywork. Throughout a session, the recipient will lie on the mat or firm mattress on the ground. The therapist leans about the recipient’s body using hands and forearms to use firm rhythmic pressure to nearly every the main receiver’s body. The therapy generally follows the Sen Energy lines on our bodies (the Sen are similar to Chinese meridians).

Thai Yoga treatments relieves muscular tension, improves circulation, enhances the defense mechanisms and balances your body energetically. Throughout a session Leena utilizes (but isn’t restricted to) muscle compression, joint mobilization, shiatsu and acupressure. A distinctive and optional service she offers would be to weave meditations and Karuna Yoga philosophy to the yoga massage. You can definitely, you’d rather bliss to some calming music or meditative chants, that may be provided too!

A complete Thai massage typically lasts 2 hours, even though practice continues to be modified to match the requirements of clients preferring 60 or 90 minute sessions. Whatever time period you select, you’ll get a 5 star knowledge about a Thai Yoga Massage that’s completely customized to match your individual needs. My suggestion would be to wear comfortable non-restrictive clothing that you could move freely in.

Thai Yoga Massage is particularly ideal for:

-back pain
-deep relaxation
-neck and shoulder pain
-tightness in hips, sciatic pain
-stiff joints and tight muscles
-healing after injuries or surgery
-creating more energy
-improving circulation
-stress release, anxiety
-ridding body of toxins

Leena Patel is currently based between London and Las Vegas where she works as a yoga teacher and Thai Yoga therapist. She can be reached at http://www.LeenaPatel.net

Herbal Thai Massage

Following an article from guest author Lana Cummings:

Originally based on ancient Thai traditions, Herbal Thai massage is slowly being a popular western modality. Thai yoga massage itself goes back over 2,Five centuries with roots from both Indian and Chinese healing practices.

The mixture of the Thai herbal compress and traditional Thai massage techniques produce a treatment made to soothe nearly every aliment one might experience.

History of Thai Yoga Massage

Jivaka Kumar Bahaccha, Buddhist monk and founder of traditional Thai medicine and Thai massage techniques, established Thai massage to ease pain by increasing the flow of ‘prana’ or life energy inside the body.

Prana circulates with the body along pathways called ‘sen lines’. Theoretically, when someone is experiencing pain or disease it comes with an upset within the flow of prana which flows along these sen lines.

When these blockages are stimulated using the pressure, stretching and kneading techniques, together with modified yoga postures utilized in Thai massage, it releases the blockage allowing prana to maneuver freely again. Since the released prana effortlessly flows again, each system from the is saturated with vital nutrients increasing the body’s normal functions. Since the body begins to go back to a well-balanced state this decreases, energy is restored and also the client is stuffed with a renewed sense of vitality and well-being.

The Yoga Connection

Thai massage was made depending on yoga philosophies and traditions since it helps balance not just your body however the mind and spirit too. Typically a Thai therapist meditates before each treatment to pay off their mind of distracting thoughts and concentrate on bringing healing energy to the massage.

As mentioned earlier, modified yoga postures are built-into each massage session developing a large number of avenues to use massage techniques. Thai therapist keeps a calming quality towards the massage by making use of graceful rhythmic movements and focused attention while connecting the postures, much like practicing yoga.

The Herbal Compress

Herbal Thai massage incorporates using a heated compress containing an accumulation of medicinal aromatic herbs traditionally grown in Thailand. This compress is only a pouch full of ground Thai herbs wrapped tightly inside a natural porous cloth, usually unbleached cotton or muslin.

It’s usually steamed to stimulate the herbs then pressed or rolled on our bodies during, before or following a Thai yoga massage. When utilized in addition to a Thai massage, the heated ball allows the joints and muscles from the body greater movement and flexibility.

The herbs are absorbed with the skin and utilized in your body to facilitate further discharge of energy blockages thereby improving energy imbalances inside the body. A few of the herbs have drawing properties that permit elimination of inflammation and swelling typical with injuries.

Advantages of Herbal Thai Massage

Traditional Thai massage is most often accustomed to treat inflammation because of muscle and pain, injuries or imbalances but it’s not restricted to muscular system. Thai massage can sort out all of the systems in your body allowing body healing.
The herbal compress promotes further healing since the typical choice of Thai herbs offer many healing properties towards the mind body and soul. Together the Thai yoga massage and also the herbal compress promote healing within the following ways:

o Improves muscle injuries, imbalances and pain

o Improves blood and lymph circulation

o Improves both mental and physical energy by releasing energy blockages

o Improves joint flexibility and flexibility

o Reduces acute and chronic inflammation

o Improves appetite and digestive processes and dysfunctions

o Prevents illness

o Slows process of getting older and degeneration of soft tissues and joints

o Boosts defense mechanisms

o Lowers blood pressure level

o Encourages relaxation

o Prevents and alleviates anxiety and stress

o Calms your brain, improves concentration and positive thinking

o Speeds healing

o Improves movement and function of fascia (body’s ligament)

o Decreases cold and flu symptoms

o Improves organ function and movement

o Calms respiratory dysfunction and pain

o Eases menstrual cramps and associated pain

o Calms and prevents migraines and headaches

o Aids in insomnia along with other sleep problems

This excellent Thai tradition is welcome in The united states by both therapists and clients alike. Its deep rooted history, balancing techniques and aromatic benefits provide a therapeutic treatment first rate.

Lana Cummings is a Registered Massage Therapist who practices both Swedish and Thai Yoga massage. She uses and recommends both the Thai herbal compress and poultice for treatments and for personal use. Visit http://www.therapeuticdelight.com for more information on herbal pain remedies.

Spa Industry Facts & Figures

Here an interesting article on the spa and wellness industry – not exclusively Thai massage, but gives some interesting numbers and a good overview.

MANILA, Philippines—If the number of spa goers in the world mirrors the amount of stress people experience, then it is safe to declare that this is a stressful world to live in.

According to the study conducted by Euromonitor International (as provided by Cathy Turvill, president of Philippine Wellness and Spa Association), there are about 150 million active spa goers worldwide.

The figure was quoted from the International Spa Association’s (Ispa) 2007 study. Ispa represents 3,200 members, which include spas and product manufacturers in 83 countries.

While spas are very popular in Asia, especially where alternative medicine and treatments are on the rise, countries like Thailand (27.1 million) lags behind the United States with 32.2 million. However, the number of spa goers in the US accounts for only 10.7 percent of the population. In Europe, Italy leads the number of spa goers with 17.8 million, “which represented a substantial 30 percent of the population.”

The burgeoning of spas is being linked to the lifestyle many people lead. The world is getting more and more complex with people trying to catch up. The result is a stressful life that is also being linked to the different types of illnesses that plague the world. These are dubbed as “lifestyle diseases.”

That is why, it is no surprise that the leading reason of people going to spas is “relax and relive/reduce stress” as quoted in an updated study by Ispa last year. According to the study, in “11 of the 15 countries surveyed, overall wellness and health was one of the top three reasons consumers visit a spa.”

Spa has become synonymous with peace and serenity, which has become a luxury in this stress-driven world. With the pressure of deadlines and the strain of dealing with difficult co-employees, there is no denying that being stress-free is a state of mind that one has to master. But massages and an hour of emptying the mind can go a long way.

Other reasons respondents gave in going to spas include health (recommended by physician), beauty, detox and stress management, anti-aging and healthy skin, increase self-esteem and confidence, pain management, and a treat to self or others on special occasions.

Treatments

“The Ispa’s 2007 Global Consumer Report revealed that massage was by far the most popular treatment in the US, with 63 percent of spa goers having received massages in the last year.” Surprisingly, this was followed by “manicure (57 percent) and pedicure (56 percent). This probably explains the escalating number of nail salons even in the Philippines.

If saunas and steam bath elicit negative impressions in the country, spa goers in Europe rate them as one of the most popular types of treatment in spas. “These ranked first among consumers in Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Austria, and in some cases accounted for as many as 70 percent of spa goers.”

Notice the absence of the United Kingdom in the list. This type of treatment is also popular in Japan. Otakus, or Japanese animation fans, attest to the fact that many animes have a scene or two that feature locals relaxing in saunas and public steam baths. It is also their way of socializing and bonding with families and friends.

The study lists Shiatsu massage as one of the most popular treatments accounting for 44 percent together with aromatherapy with 21 percent. “In Thailand, the most demanded treatment was reflexology (65 percent) followed closely by Thai massage (62 percent),” it says.

Because spa is linked to serenity (at least for a while), it has become a huge feature in tourism and attracting visitors. Have you ever wondered why Bali in Indonesia is a popular destination for people who want to have a quiet vacation? Along with the beautiful tourist spots are the spas and treatments it has to offer.

Diverse

In the Philippines, spas come and go. Only the established few managed to stay and flourish. The spa industry is replete with different types and services. There are the traditional spas, non-thermal spas, luxury spas, day spas, retail spas, and the recently launched “dental spa,” to which no specific definition or description is established yet.

Medical spas somehow help in promoting medical tourism. According to Ispa, “medical spas represent the fastest-growing type of spa. It claims the number of medical spas increased by as much as 85 percent between 2007 and 2008.” Medical spas require licensed healthcare professionals. Medical spa is a fusion of spa treatments and cosmetic or beauty services such as “botox, microdermabrasion and other specialized services.”

The one thing that probably links many spas in the world these days is the use of natural ingredients, which is the growing trend. “There has been a strong trend towards the use of natural products such as organic ingredients, products which are more environmentally friendly or those that use indigenous plants from local environments,” Ispa states.

The spa industry is rapidly growing. But like any other business, this industry may also be affected by how the economy fares. At present, spas in the country are increasing but services vary. Turvill advises that people who want to experience a true relaxing experience (and not an added worry because of expensive treatments), always go to tried and tested spas. There is nothing more stressful than being shortchanged or robbed of the treatment a person really wanted.

Source: Facts and figures on the spa industry

A Funny “Fusion” Thai Massage Video

Here is a video from a Francisco Aliwalas who got a Thai massage in some high-end spa in Bangkok.

This definitely is not a traditional Thai massage, but rather a modern mix of Thai massage with other kinds of massage styles. It nonetheless looks very pleasing and comfortable, and maybe adjusted to Western people’s taste.

You can see how the massage therapist uses oil and long relaxing strokes, as well as some acupressure and stretching and joint manipulation methods. Also a short segment of Thai herbal compresses – leaves, lemongrass, tumeric, tanaka and so on.

The woman – whom I suppose to be the owner of the spa – is explaining something about their massage treatment, and there is a funny segment towards the end where they talk about the myth that Thai massage is painful – which the woman quickly confirms.

She also talks about some benefits, like how the muscles will be loosened up, lympf drainage, the relaxation, blood circulation and so on.

Unfortunately, the name and address of the place are not revealed in the video, so I am kind of wondering what exactly the point is, other than being entertaining.

Thai Massage Video – Front And Back Techniques

Here is a video that teaches about traditional Thai massage. The video is quite long – almost a quarter of an hour, and it goes through different positions and techniques of the ancient art of nuad phaen boran.

There are leg and back stretches and so much more. Of course, not every person that you massage will be as flexible as the woman in the video, so some techniques should be practiced with caution and you should make sure that the person feels comfortable and is safe.


There are many different kinds of Thai massage, and this one is most similar to the Northern style Thai massage.

There is a speaker commenting on the techniques demonstrated in English, and it makes it easier to follow along and understand how to practice the techniques correctly and what to pay particular attention too.


Ashi Thai Massage Palestine

If you’re looking for an Ashi Thai massage treatment in Palestine, then you might want to check out Jamie’s Therapeutic Touch.

Ashi Thai is a combination of Thai stretching and compression; the therapist maneuvers limbs into deep relaxing stretches and  compression of muscle tissue is applied throughout the session, helping to release spasm, muscle contraction and tension, working within a perfect range of pressure. All techniques are applied with foot pressure.

In an Ashi Thai session, the client relaxes on a comfortable massage table while the therapist stands on the table holding onto overhead bars for balance and support, using their feet to deliver the massage.

You can see a picture of what this looks like on their website

Jamie’s Therapeutic Touch’s hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Special appointments are available on request. For more information about Ashi Thai or Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy Massage, call 903-723-SKIN (7546) or visit www.spajamie.com or on Facebook. Jamie’s is located at 1730 Crockett Rd.

Source: Local spa offers Ashi Thai massage

Here’s a promotional video from a training centre that is offering courses for spas and wellness centres. It’s quite sales-pushy and cheesy, but you can see some video shots of what a treatment looks like: