Palm Thai Yoga Massage
by Marvin Swartz
Traditional Thai Massage can be traced
back 2,500 years to India. The founding father was Jivaka
Kumar Bhaccha, a celebrated yogi and Ayurvedic doctor. Most
healing art traditions are derived from the philosophy that
all forms of life in the universe are animated by an essential
life force. In the Indian yoga tradition this energy is called “prana,” an
invisible, silent, formless force that is present in everything.
It circulates along a pathway, forming a network of vital life
force, essential to the human system. In the Thai tradition,
there are ten important lines. These lines are connected to
acupressure points, and massaging them promotes the free flow
of energy. In this way, Thai Yoga Massage supports the body’s
natural healing processes.
The Lotus Palm School of Thai Yoga Massage, located in Montreal,
Quebec, was established by Kam Thye Chow, an internationally
recognized teacher and practitioner. Originally from Malaysia,
he has integrated the traditional Thai methods with the Western
approach to body, mind, and spirit. As a fusion of yoga,
massage, meditation, and Ayurveda, the result is a complete
bodywork session adapted to an individual’s health
status and their physical limitations.
This unique style of massage is performed on a mat on the
floor, fully clothed, and without the use of oils. A practitioner
uses one’s hands, feet, arms, legs, and body weight,
to compress and kneed muscle tissues. At times, the client
is positioned in supported yoga postures while their muscles
are manipulated, sometimes with directed breathwork. Rocking
movements and flowing transitions from one posture to another,
meditative awareness, the proper use of breath, and fluid
Tai Chi Chuan movements create a flowing dance that benefits
the recipient and practitioner.
The distinguishing feature of Thai Yoga Massage lies in its
approach to gently stretch and open the body. This increases
joint mobility and flexibility, therefore
providing a greater range of motion. As muscular tension is slowly released,
blood and energy can flow more easily to the cells, tissues, and organs. As
well, the lymph system is stimulated supporting the body’s
natural detoxification process and assisting its immune response.
The free-flow of energy has positive
effects both physically and psychologically. Stress-related conditions, such
as stiff neck and shoulders, lower back pains, headaches, and digestive difficulties,
may be effectively treated. Thai Yoga Massage also generates a deep state of
relaxation and well-being.
Lotus Palm methodology emphasizes centering, transition, balance, and safety.
The lotus flower is a symbol of loving-kindness and compassion, while “palming” is
a technique used in massage. The “compassionate touch” is the spirit
of this method. One must also be mindful of the moment, focussing on the recipient’s
needs during the massage. This moment to moment meditative dance is integral
to establishing a sacred healing space during the massage.
The roots of Thai Yoga Bodywork are based on the Indian traditional
healing method of Ayurveda, with “ayur,” meaning life, and “veda,” meaning
knowledge. These concepts together form the art of harmonious living. Within
Thailand much of the practice of Ayurvedic medicine has been reduced to pharmaceutical
purposes. In the Lotus Palm method we can combine the practice of Thai Yoga
Massage with its ancient Ayurvedic roots.
In Ayurveda, a Dosha is the collective physical, mental,
and psychological aspects of an individual. There are three
Doshas—Vata, Pitta, Kapha—which
vary in strength within us and which can fluctuate over time. In theory, an imbalance
of the dosha bodies may be manifested as disease or emotional problems. By selecting
appropriate yoga postures and applying proper pressure and tempo during a massage,
rebalancing the body’s doshas is possible.
What to Expect
Certain medical conditions may require a doctor’s consent. Prior to the
first massage a health questionnaire, flexibility assessment, and consent form
are completed. Practitioners in this technique of yoga bodywork are trained to
be sensitive to each person’s body and aware of one’s limitations
and boundaries throughout the session.
A typical session lasts two hours. Wear a t-shirt, sweat
pants/tights, and socks. Although there may be areas
of tension in the body, you should not feel
pain or emotional uneasiness during a bodywork session. Safety in all movements
is integral to the technique. If, however, you do experience discomfort,
speak up at any point and inform your practitioner. They
will then either adjust
their movements to ease your discomfort or find some manner in which to address
There can be an emotional release during or after a session.
Bodywork does affect the nervous system and many memories
and experiences are held in the
from daily stresses to larger emotional issues and traumas. The best approach
is to allow such feelings to surface. If they are coming out it is because
it is the proper time for them to do so.
After a massage some people feel very energized while others
may feel extremely relaxed. It is important to take some
time for yourself after a session
to allow yourself to fully integrate the experience. It is also important
of water after a session as Thai Yoga Massage is very deep work. Water
helps eliminate the waste cellular constituents which have been released
the circulation of vital energy within the body.
Making Thai Yoga Massage a part of your regular health
regimen is a very good preventive strategy, helping to
fortify and rebalance your body
Marvin Swartz, a certified Lotus Palm Thai Massage Practitioner in Saskatoon,
is currently the only Lotus Palm certified graduate in Saskatchewan. To book
an appointment please call (306) 249-1073 and see the display ad on this page
for more information. Please note: Thai massage is not currently covered under
medical insurance plans. Check out: www.lotuspalm.com for additional information
on Thai Yoga Massage.