The Art of Stretching!

No that's not us ...THAI MASSAGE is sometimes called the lazy man’s yoga because of the yoga-like poses which the massage therapist quite literally guides your body into. It’s a form of body work based on the principles of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine and is sometimes called Thai yoga massage in the West.

The stretching performed during a Thai yoga session is “dance-like”, yet requires you to expend no energy of your own. You simply lie on the mat while the practitioner gently pulls, folds, and presses your body using his or her own body weight, legs, and arms to enhance the stretch. Because of this close proximity to your massage therapist, you may at first feel a little uncomfortable by the intimacy of it. But you’ll soon find how wonderful it is as you relax into a stretch in a more effective manner.  Since you aren’t engaging your muscles the way you might during yoga all you need to do is close your eyes and breathe.

There should be no pain as the practitioner feels when your body can’t go further. We find it’s almost trance inducing if you have a good practitioner, or as we refer to it a good “dance partner”.

So why bother? What are the benefits? To name a few and starting with the most obvious how about increased range of motion and flexibility? The Chinese often say “To be stiff is to be dead”. Thai massage also reduces stress, pain and swelling. I’m not an expert but I’ve seen it work for a few friends that were chronically suffering from one or all of those. Increased blood and lymphatic circulation are also benefits. All that to say: You’ll feel fantastic.

Thai yoga massage is performed one-on-one and can last anywhere from 60 minutes to two and a half hours. The practitioner will apply acupressure by using their thumb or palm on ten major energy lines (sen lines) on the body, and will then place or position you in a variety of stretches. You’ll end up sitting, on your side, or ass up in the air (ever so elegantly) more than once. You’ll be tempted to hold in your fart – and we promise you’ll likely need to – just let it out or it will ruin the entire experience for you. A little moment of embarrassment is well worth the pay off.

Unlike traditional massage, Thai yoga massage requires you to be fully clothed, wearing loose and comfortable clothing, while lying on a thin mat on the floor. Yoga clothing is ideal.

Now the hard part – Finding a Thai master!

Currently, no formal certification is needed to become a Thai yoga massage therapist, so it is buyer beware.

It’s “new” to the Western hemisphere and not main stream. Only a few schools can be found outside of Thailand where most practitioners of Thai yoga massage still need to go to learn from the masters – some spend years perfecting the craft.

Word of mouth is still the way to go unfortunately, but once you have found one, ask the therapist what sort of training they have had and how long they have been practicing. Ideally, the practitioner should have completed at least an 80-hour program and have 15 to 20 massages under their belt. If you’re into alternative medicine your acupuncturist or naturopath may be able to assist in your search.

This therapeutic method offers the best stretch we have ever experienced. Try it once and you’ll be hooked and that’s a promise. We love it so much we are very seriously tempted to go to Thailand and learn the art of Thai Massage from a master so that we can “dance” together.

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12 Comments

Filed under Body, Mind, Soul

12 responses to “The Art of Stretching!

  1. All along I was thinking exactly about what you wrote in your last sentence. That’s the way to go I think, learn it then do it… together.
    Great debut! Thank you for linking to my blog and it’s my pleasure to do the same with yours.

    • We were just talking about that the other day. We are happiest when we learn together, do together and do for each other… so why fight it?
      Once read (don’t recall the author but never forgot the words):

      “The whole point of intimacy is to serve each other in growth and love, hopefully in better ways than we can serve ourselves. Otherwise, why engage in intimacy if your growth and love are served more by living alone? Intimacy is about growing more than you could by yourself, through the art of mutual gifting.”

      I think this would be one more great example of that.

      • very nice way to describe intimacy, i agree… i think we all know “in theory” what intimacy is all about, but having it laid down in terms of “objectives and benefits” is good, it’s a way to touch base with yourselves and check to see if a. you are actually engaging in intimacy and b. if it’s bringing you the results it should.

      • We have this printed and on our desks at work. Just wish one of us could remember who worte it!

      • Oooh!! I like that quote too!! That’s an excellent way to describe intimacy. CosmoChick is right, it does make you stop and evaluate. 🙂

      • Especially since intimacy is so difficult to keep alive – it’s the one thing we all crave the most. It is said we crave intimacy more than Love.

  2. This is so true. I love stretching but don’t do it nearly enough. I can imagine how wonderful it would feel to have this kind of massage…and to be able to do it together (properly) would be exquisite!! Great first post and, like Abufares, I thank you for linking to my blog! I shall do the same. I can’t wait to read more!! 🙂

    • We don’t stretch enough either. We workout a great deal, and we are physically very active and yet we always seem to run out of time. Yoga helps but we find it frustratingly slow – the Thai massage helps a great deal in conjunction with yoga towards flexibility etc. The bonus? no skill required and the benefit is felt immediately – how often do we get instant gratification in life? If we do go to Thailand we will post about it!

  3. Fantastic post! I feel like i’ve just been privy to “inside knowledge”, i’m not even sure where you guys get this stuff, but thank you! I am totally going to look into this.

    …and not to copy my esteemed fellow commentators above, but, thanks for linking to my blog… hehehe!

    -CC

    • Thank you so much!! we will try to keep that feeling going there are so many things that we feel everyone should have a chance to know about – simple things that can make our lives better. This was an obvious one for us. Hopefully we will not disappoint in the future.

  4. JazzShine

    In Thailand, head straight to Chang Mai and enroll at the Shivagakoparpaj Traditional School of Thai Massage. The course is almost two weeks long and is offered twice a month. It is intense training with class all day and homework to do at night. The bonus is that you get practised on every day!

    If Thailand is too far, head to Massachussets for a a shorter course for couples regularly offered at an amazing place in the Berkshires: kripalu.org

    • Thank you JazzShine!! we will look into that for certain! it’s nice to have this information … might make the “maybe” a reality! Thank you for commenting!

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