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"We Keep the Tradition in Traditional Thai Massage."

Rose Griscom, Director, Institute of Thai Massage



Thai massage has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Our teaching is based on the complete program as taught at ITM in Chiang Mai by its master, Chongkol Setthakorn. Class begins with the traditional Om Namo prayer and ringing of the bells.

Classes are devoted to clear, thorough demonstrations of the movements, with time for discussion and questions, supervised practice, and interspersed with students being led step-by-step through each series of movements.

ITM-USA was started in 1992 by Arthur Lambert and Chongkol Setthakorn as the original branch of ITM outside of Thailand. Rose Griscom has been the director and lead instructor since 1997. We keep the tradition in traditional thai massage. The work is taught very much like in Thailand, with adaptations for the western audience.


Rose is the director and lead instructor at ITM-USA. She has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage since 1994, when she completed an intensive study program with the Thai Master Chongkol Setthakorn at ITM in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as well as with Arthur Lambert in the USA. She is certified in Advanced Thai Massage and Teacher Training by ITM in Chiang Mai and the USA. She spent over three years assisting the late Arthur Lambert, teach basic and advanced Thai Massage, and has been teaching workshops independently since 1994. Rose  moved the main office of ITM to southern New Jersey in 2002, and continues to travel around the country to train thai therapists at top spas and massage schools.

Rose is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), and is a Registered Thai Therapist with the Thai Healing Alliance (T.H.A.I.).

Rose met Arthur Lambert even before she was in massage school, when she participated in a musical meditation he was leading using traditional gongs, singing bowls and bells from Thailand. She again met Arthur when he came to the massage school she was enrolled in to introduce the student's to thai massage. Rose immediately fell in love with Nuad Bo-Rarn. She studied with Arthur while completing massage school, and then traveled to Thailand to continue studying with Chongkol. When she returned in 1994, there were only a handful of thai massage teachers in the country, and Rose soon began teaching, while continuing to study with and assist Arthur in his local classes. She has said that thai massage was like an ocean wave that carried her up and away....she only had to hold on, keep her balance, and enjoy the ride. She is passionate about the work, personally and professionally.

Rose brings a wealth of experience, enthusiasm, and knowledge to her classes and private sessions. She is a compassionate teacher who creates a supportive environment for students of all different skills and learning styles to get the most they can from the class time. Her teaching is well organized, efficient, light and fun. Her personal practices include vipassana meditation, chi kung, and yoga. Rose has also been teaching tai chi and chi kung group classes and vipassana meditation private sessions since 1996.



Arthur Lambert was a musician, teacher and intellectual. Son of a physician raised in the Midwest, married and the father of three, he taught music in Japan for many years before settling in San Diego. Teaching classes at the local college, he also composed on his keyboard and performed. He raised bull mastiffs. He loved to play the singing bowls, and had a vast assortment of indigenous musical instruments.

After a personal health crisis, he became interested in alternative medicine, which culminated in receiving his Holistic Health Practitioner certification after 1000 hours of training. With his curious and intellectual approach, he studied many types of treatments, including various massage modalities, hypnosis, reiki, the indigenous medicine of Peru, shiatsu. Then he was introduced to nuad bo-rarn, and thought it surpassed everything else he had studied.

Arthur was first introduced to thai massage when he was in his late 60's, during Chongkol's inaugural teaching at IPSB in San Diego in 1991 (which was the first class taught in the US by a native thai teacher). He became enthralled with the work, and subsequently traveled to Thailand at least twice a year to continue studying with Chongkol, as well as with a number of other native master teachers. Arthur was one of the first westerners certified in Nuad Bo-Rarn from the Old Medicine Hospital in Chiang Mai. Chongkol encouraged him to open a teaching institution in the US, and in 1992, ITM-USA was born in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Being one of the first thai teachers in the US, Arthur did much to spread the knowledge of nuad bo-rarn. He gave many demonstrations at national and local bodywork conventions, wrote the first book about Thai Massage in English co-authored with a native thai teacher (the text, "Nuad Bo-Rarn, Traditional Thai Massage", which is still available exclusively through ITM-USA), produced a number of teaching and demonstration videos, did exhaustive research into the history and  philosophy of thai massage, and gave unceasingly of his time and energy to anyone interested in knowing about the work. As one student aptly said, "Talking to Arthur was like speaking to the Father Doctor himself".

Arthur fell in love with Thailand. He said he felt most at home there. After teaching in the US and traveling back and forth many times a year, he finally made arrangements to make a permanent move to Chiang Mai. He gave his teaching materials to Rose, sold his house in Florida, said goodbye to his children scattered around the country, made arrangements to bring his beloved bull mastiff Ole with him, began construction on his new home outside of town, invested in a local printing business, and, despite the sudden and rapid onslaught of a serious illness, made the final move early in 1997. Friends who saw him a few months later said he seemed at peace. One of his wishes was to have a traditional thai burial, and that wish was granted when Arthur passed away in Chiang Mai in August later that year.



For twenty years, Chongkol has taught people from all over the world the ancient art of Thai massage. In 1992, he founded the International Training Massage School (ITM) in Thailand to promote the Thai massage technique internationally.

Chongkol was head teacher at the Shivaga Komarpaj School (also know as the Old Medicine Hospital) in Chiang Mai for five years. In 1991, he went to the United States to teach Thai massage at the International Professional School of Bodywork (IPSB) in San Diego, California. During this time, he broadened his training by studying Massage Technician Training and Professional Massage Training. Additional studies included Western and Oriental Massage techniques such as Therapeutic Massage for Acute and Chronic Problems, Tui Na Internship (Chinese Massage), Jin Shin Acutouch (Japanese Method of Healing Art), Tai Chi Chuan, and the IPSB Movement Form.

After returning to Thailand and establishing ITM, he along with Arthur Lambert authored “Nuad Bo-Rarn, the Traditional Massage of Thailand”, published for the first time in 1992.

With his interest in different kinds of bodywork, he learned Tai Chi and adapted the techniques for the flowing of the movements in Thai massage. He has been a volunteer instructor in Tai Ji Qi Gong (Chi Kung) and Tai Chi Chuan (long-form Yang style) for the community in Chiang Mai city.

Chongkol is frequently requested to speak and train at international symposiums and seminars on health and massage. Some of his noteworthy appearances include: guest speaker and training at the CIDESCO European Congress and Exhibition 2000, Athens, Greece; provided intensive Thai training in massage, Geneva, Switzerland, 2003; trained massage therapists at the COMO Shambhala Spa, Metropolitan Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand, 2003. For more information, visit www.itmthaimassage.com.


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Institute of Thai Massage-USA is approved by the

National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)

as a continuing education Approved Provider.





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