Did you know that giving Thai yoga massage is almost as beneficial for the practitioner as it is for the person receiving the treatment? When I signed up for a course I was pleasantly surprised to discover this. The ancient healing art has been practiced for over 2500 years. It is one of the five branches of Thai medicine, all of which are connected by Buddhist principles and relieve suffering. The texts have traditionally been kept in temples and originally monks practiced the art of Thai Yoga Massage. Although it is an external medicine, applied through a combination of acupressure techniques and yoga stretches, there is a spiritual component as mind, body, and soul are harmonized.
I qualified as a holistic Swedish massage therapist nearly 20 years ago when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I decided I wanted to continue my education and was drawn to Thai Yoga Massage for many reasons. I think it compliments the other type of bodywork I’m able to offer.
My first experience of learning Thai Massage was a two day course with Mukti, founder of the Vedic Conservatory in Florida. I attended his first workshop in Ireland when I was 7 months pregnant back in 2017 (only a couple of weeks before I was unexpectedly rushed to hospital with preeclampsia. You can read about that here). I enjoyed the experience but completely forgot everything afterwards.
When we decided to travel to Thailand, I considered going to school there. In the end I chose not to because I wanted to spend time with my family while we were abroad. As luck would have it, a diploma course was advertised in Ireland, at the Golden Egg Holistic Centre, beginning in February 2019. The second half of the course would occur in May. My trip to Thailand was scheduled for April so the timing was perfect! I enrolled and organized childcare for the weeks I would be away. When my family visited Thailand, I went for as many Thai Yoga Massage treatments as I could and learned through receiving.
While the courses were helpful, and I learned a lot from my amazing teachers, practice was essential. Truth be told, I’m still learning and will be for many, many years to come! Last July I took my exam and was thrilled when I received my diploma. My teacher qualified through ITM, the awarding body who issued my diploma.
Much as I loved the process of learning Thai Yoga Massage, it was really difficult to develop this new skill while working and caring for a young child. I’m glad I persevered. Whenever I’d try to practice on family members, my toddler would literally crawl on them or “help” give the treatment by imitating me! (Treatments take place on a shiatsu mat on the floor).
That said, one of the beautiful things about Thai culture is that traditional massage is weaved into their everyday lives. For example, a mother might offer a family member massage while watching TV, take a break to prepare food, come back and continue with the treatment. When we were in Thailand I couldn’t get over how many places offered professional treatments and what an integral part of the culture it was. I really miss it.
I’m looking forward to offering Thai Yoga Massage professionally in 2020. Currently I’m in the process of creating a therapy room so I can work from home. It’s taking longer than I had anticipated, but I hope to have it ready in the New Year. I look forward to helping people relax and feel better in their bodies.
I can’t recommend this form of bodywork highly enough! To learn more about ITM watch the video below. There is also useful information on the Vedic Conservatory link I shared above. Would you think of trying this form of massage? What do you think about “yoga for lazy people”?
This post was inspired by the prompt for Day 4. To participate or find out more information about #Manifest20 click here: What goals did you accomplish in 2019 that you’re proud of? How will your achievement continue to benefit you or others in the future?
Lotus Flower Photo Credit: Jay Castor