About Thai Massage
"Thai Massage is like ten thousand waves washing over your body."
What is Nuad Bo-Rarn ?
The Thai work Nuad is usually translated into English as "massage." Bo-rarn is translated as "ancient". So, Nuad Bo-Rarn means "ancient massage", or "ancient healing way". However, thai massage is very different from the type of tissue manipulation which is usually associated with massage in the context of western practice.
Nuad Bo-Rarn is a key component of traditional Thai medicine, an ancient holistic approach to healing the body-heart/mind-spirit. Thai medicine strives to treat the underlying cause of any illness by addressing imbalances in these three essences. Each essence affects the others, so the most effective treatment addresses the whole person. Traditional Thai medicine encompasses the use of herbs, diet and nutrition, spiritual practices (such as meditation), and Nuad Bo-Rarn.
How is it done?
Traditional Nuad Bo-Rarn Thai massage is performed on a mat on the floor rather than a raised table. This allows for many movements and procedures that are not practical or effective in table work, or are simply impossible. It allows for the most effective use of the practitioner's body weight rather than muscular force for the transmission of pressure, force, or energy, which creates a highly therapeutic effect. The client remains fully clothed except for the feet. Clothing should be light and allow for flexible movement.
The work itself consists primarily of pressure on energy lines and points, and a large variety of stretching movements. Pressure is exerted with the palms of the hand, the thumbs and the feet; at some points the elbows may be used. The pressure and stretching movements are combined in a comprehensive strategy that may be performed in as little time as an hour, or may be extended to 2 1/2 to 3 hours for a full program. Two hours is frequently considered an ideal length of time for Nuad Bo-Rarn.
The stretching movements in Nuad Bo-Rarn affect the entire body by increasing flexibility, releasing both deep and superficial tension, and helping the body's natural energy to flow more freely. The effect of these stretching movements, in which the client plays only a passive role, is similar to yoga. This is sometimes referred to as passive yoga, or "lazy man's yoga." The result is an opening of the body which leaves one feeling both relaxed and energized at the same time.
Nuad Bo-Rarn is not based on a western system of anatomy. Dissection was forbidden until the introduction of western medicine, so references to body structure were based on external observation. This is not to say that this implies an understanding of the body which is superficial: quite the contrary, it is profound, based on generations of experience. Although this may initially be frustrating to the western student, learning to "think Thai" helps one to move with greater freedom and intuitive sense.
In the Thai view, life force in the body travels along energy pathways knows as Sen lines. These Sen are broadly similar in theory and location to both traditional Chinese, and Indian Ayurvedic, medicine. Because of these similarities, it is obvious they share a common history. However, where the Chinese meridians follow the energy flow associated with specific organs, the Sen more closely follow the physical form of the body. Ayurvedic, and Thai medicine, traditionally recognize 72,000 Sen in theory. In practice, 10 Sen serve as the foundation of Nuad Bo-Rarn.
The true origins of Nuad Bo-Rarn are buried in the past. It is usually attributed to being over 2500 years old, starting at the time of the Buddha in India. Tradition tells us that it was given to the world by a physician in India who was a contemporary of the Buddha. His name is Shivago Komarpaj (or Jivaka Buccha Komar), and throughout southeast Asia he is considered to be the father of medicine. He is lovingly and respectfully referred to as the "Father Doctor". Ancient texts, written in the Pali language and mentioning Shivago Komarpaj, were considered sacred and were kept with other sacred Buddhist texts. It has been thought that monks were the practitioners of this medicine, and the temples were its home.
Unfortunately, Thailand was over-run by the Burmese in 1776, and the capital of Ayutthia was destroyed. The ancient texts dealing with Nuad Bo-Rarn were largely destroyed and lost. In 1832 King Rama III had the best of the surviving texts collected and inscribed in stone. These stone plaques were set into the walls of Phra Chetaphon Temple in Bangkok (more commonly known as Wat Po) and can still be seen today. Many questions surrounding these inscriptions abound, but the teaching had probably always existed as an oral tradition, and it is as an oral tradition that it is largely taught today.
The influence of western medicine has been growing in Thailand, along with a decline in the practice of traditional medicine, including Thai massage. In an effort to help retain their medicinal heritage, and in recognition of its popularity, in recent years the Thai government has become more supportive of the practice and teaching of Nuad Bo-Rarn. Thai massage is in fact quite an attraction throughout the country, and is now offered in many spas and tourist resorts.
With its origins deep within the traditions of Buddhist culture, it is not surprising that Nuad Bo-Rarn should have implications of a spiritual nature. While these are not necessarily emphasized, one that is unavoidable is the practice of Wai Khru, a term meaning "to pay respect to". Wai Khru is a ceremony of observance that is practiced at the beginning and end of each day's work. It consists of a series of prayers and recitations which end with the prayer, or mantra, to "the Father Doctor," Shivago Komarpaj. Most thai massage therapists, and students learning the work, are taught to honor this ancient lineage of teachers by recitation of "Om Namo" at the start of each class, and often at the beginning of each session.
Institute of Thai Massage-USA is approved by the
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)
as a continuing education Approved Provider.
Rose's teaching style is deeply rooted in her experiences and practices of traditional eastern healing methods...meditation, yoga, chi kung, Buddhist philosophy...along with her unbridled enthusiasm, experience, and extensive training.
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