I had the opportunity to try my first Thai Yoga Massage at Clinique Masso-Soma. The last time I had a massage was in November and my tired and sore muscles were due for some care and attention after months of daily physical yoga and pilates practice. I was curious as to the difference between a regular therapeutic/relaxation massage and a Thai Yoga Massage. My vinyasa and ashtanga yoga instructor Beth Dobson (read more about Beth here) owner of Clinique Masso-Soma and co-owner of Bodywise Yoga Studio had mentioned it to me before and I couldn’t resist the temptation to try it for myself. I’m the ‘I gotta try it for myself to know’ kind of girl.
Beth had explained to me prior to our session together that Thai Yoga Massage is a form of passive yoga (a combination of passive yoga postures, Thai Chi, massage, and acupressure). She said, “it’s like doing yoga”. I was curious as to what she meant. How could a massage be like doing yoga? As a practicing yogi (or whatever that really means), Beth feels that Thai Yoga Massage can help support and improve yoga practice. It’s still considered a form of massage treatment that has a wide range of benefits: deepening yoga practice, deep stretching, treating pain, or relaxation. It all sounded good to me and I knew that whatever the result, I would feel good afterward. Or that was the hope.
What is a Thai Yoga Massage?
Thai yoga Massage can be best described as passive or assisted Yoga. It is a combination of Yoga, Thai-chi and massage and it has been performed in Thailand for thousands of years in many variations. Thai yoga massage is often used in conjunction with Ayurveda, an ancient healing art that is a sister science to yoga. Your specific treatment takes into account your body, personality, energy and stress levels to ensure you achieve your goals. Thai Yoga Massage helps to connect the body, mind and spirit and bring them into balance.
-Bodywise Yoga Studio
When I arrived at Clinique Masso-Soma, Beth had the yoga studio all set up for my Thai Yoga Massage. Before the treatment, Beth went over my health history and we discussed goals for the session. The massage is done on a large soft mat on the floor. The great thing about the massage is that I could wear comfortable yoga pants and a tank top. During the treatment, I was sitting and laying in different positions on my back and stomach. Beth guided me into a series of passive yoga postures using her hands, arms, legs, and feet to support me in the pose. All of the movements were adapted to my personal ability and tolerance. I was encouraged to focus on my breath throughout the massage, especially from pose to pose. The breathing techniques helped me to get the full benefits from the massage. Massage and acupressure were woven into the treatment to help open my body up for the next movement and to stimulate my internal organs (giving my insides a massage too). After the massage, Beth asked me to notice my next few yoga classes to see if I could notice a difference. I noticed a difference at my next class the following day. The yoga postures and breathing exercises I practice during my weekly yoga classes helped to prolong the effects of the Thai Yoga Massage.
The Benefits I noticed
After my massage, I noticed increased flexibility at my next yoga class. Prior to going to the massage, I was quite stiff with a bit of muscle pain from the previous week of strenuous yoga classes. The massage helped to increase circulation throughout my body, which resulted in decreased stress, muscle pain, and stiffness. The massage helped with reminding me of my posture and improving my body awareness. Some of the postures Beth had me in during the massage were more invigorating than others, but it still helped to relax and ground me. The night after my massage, I slept like a baby. I noticed a deepening in various postures during the yoga classes I attended following the massage.
Harmony: Body, Mind, Spirit
My Thai Yoga massage was a success! I felt fantastic. It was very different than the typical relaxation massages that I am used to (see photo above). With the Thai Yoga Massage, I felt the lasting benefits afterwards. I’m blessed to have be given the personality to want to try everything! It’s kind of addictive. If I didn’t have that personality I might not have instinctively wanted to try something so far from my natural realm of understanding. All the more reason for me to try it thanks to my budding curiosity. If you are someone who is slightly hesitant to try the unknown, I encourage you to try something new this month. Spring brings change! Why not try a Thai Yoga Massage to help awaken your body awareness and invigorate your soul! It’s time to move!
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