The Healing Art of Thai Yoga Massage
Sean O’Leary RYT-200
There is so much more to Thai Massage than massage. As with any healing art, there must be a strong passion present for the transmission to really impact the recipient. Thai Yoga Massage uses Metta, or loving kindness, as its main source of inspiration. When I began to study this practice I was always amazed that no matter what specific massage techniques were used, the recipient always left the session with a pervading sense of bliss, relaxation and a deep connection to the subtle (energetic) body. I knew I had to continue my studies so that I could provide the benefits of this wonderful healing system to others.
I traveled to Bahamas to study at the Sivinanda Yoga Ashram with world-renowned Thai Yoga Massage teacher Kam Thye Chow. It was such an honour to learn from a great master like Kam Thye. Just as a yoga practice is a very individual system formed to work for the practitioner, it is the same for Thai Massage. Each session is modified to benefit the needs and capabilities of the recipient. As Thai Massage is just gaining popularity in the West, I am excited share this tradition and spread the healing properties of Metta to whoever will receive it.
I am often asked, “What is thai massage?” Honestly, it is a difficult answer to put into words, because just like yoga poses or systems, there are thousands of variations. Not to mention, any one description seems inadequate to describe the overall feeling of ease, comfort and relaxation that occurs in a session!
I can say that Thai Yoga Massage is a healing modality that must be experienced to fully appreciate. By blending yoga postures (asana), meditation, and the Buddhist philosophy of Metta (loving kindness), Thai Yoga Massage always seems to accomplish a healing and relaxed state. It incorporates gentle stretching, breath work, traction, and compression, rhythmic motion, palming and thumbing along energy lines (sen lines and marma points), creating a slow flowing dance which leaves recipients feeling rejuvenated and relaxed. This synthesis of yoga, ayurveda, and meditation, in addition to toning and stretching the muscles, improves circulation, relieves muscular tension and spasm, boosts the immune system, and balances the body both energetically and physically inducing and calm mental state.
The transmission of Metta is one of the most important parts of Thai Yoga Massage. We have all experienced Metta at some point in our lives: consider a time when you shared a meal prepared with love and the best ingredients (also grown with love) and shared with friends, compared with a quick meal you order at a fast food restaurant – a huge difference! Or consider receiving a handcrafted gift made especially for you compared to a gift card for a big box store. There is a huge difference in the quality or substance of things done with the heart!
Although Thai Massage is mainly practiced throughout Thailand and south east Asia, its roots can be traced back to the ayurvedic practices of ancient India. The spread of Buddhism can be thanked for transmitting Thai Massage to thousands of temples (wats) in a vast amount of countries and cultures. This means that today there are thousands of “spices,” or styles and variations, being practiced around the world.
So whether you call it Thai Massage, Laos Massage, Cambodian Massage, for the most part we could call them all ancient massage as they all take from the same lineage.
Jivaka Kumbarbhaka is said to be the founding father of Thai Yoga Massage, bringing his ayurvedic practices to temples throughout Asia. He was called to treat kings, princes, and even the Buddha himself. No wonder this wise sage would incorporate yoga asana from India into his healing massages!
Experience the numerous healing benefits of Thai Yoga Massage for yourself. I now run my practice every Friday evening from 4pm -9pm at Kushala Yoga and Wellness in Port Moody. I also offer my services in the comfort of your own home.
Have a specific condition or area you would like to emphasize? I work with a diversity of clients and can modify my approach and techniques, customizing the massage for each client. Often I include some asana (yoga poses) recommendations to help with any tightness or energetic blockages I may have noticed during the session.
Because fall is a time when we all need a little extra love, stress release and healthy habits, I am currently offering a few promotions to help you experience the benefits of Thai Yoga Massage. Call, text or email your questions, or to book your session!
- First 1 hour massage: $50.00
- Referral Benefits: Refer 4 people and receive a FREE massage
- Package Deal: 5 – 1 hour sessions for $300.00 (massage only)
- Thai Yoga Therapy Program: 5- 1 hour sessions including consultation for $350.00
Thai Yoga Therapy Program:
This wellness program is a more in-depth look at therapy for the client. The 5-session program will introduce the ancient healing system of Ayurveda into daily life in a gradual and nonintrusive way that invites individuals to establish their own long-term wellness goals. Beginning with an initial consultation, we will establish the client’s prakriti (ayurvedic dosha or “constitution”), as well as any potential imbalances. Progressively recommending yoga postures, ayurvedic nutrition guidelines, and lifesyle tips to include in daily life, this approach provides an opportunity to get to know my clients on a deeper level over time and modify my massage approach each session to bring the most healing. Each follow-up session will shine light on weekly progress and truly address any imbalances.