The Power of Healing Touch
Every human being innately possesses the ability to provide healing touch. You see it in loved ones when they want to provide love for each other with a hug, or loving embrace. I first became motivated to provide healing touch for a loved one when I was six years old and my mother was diagnosed with graves disease. At the time I was living in Peru and my parents had just been divorced. My parents divorce affected my mothers well being, so we moved into my grandparents home. My neighbors were a Japanese-Peruvian family who ran a Shiatsu school next door to where my grandparents lived. I would sneak over to watch the techniques of this beautiful art form. I loved seeing how good people felt when they left the school. With that in mind, I would run back home to work on my mother. To see a loved one going through pain and to harness the ability to take the pain away is truly a gift.
At a later stage in my life I decided to pursue a formal massage training program. There was such a variety to choose from; shiatsu, reiki , swedish, etc. So I began to do my research on all of these healing traditions. The deeper I looked into these healing modalities and their respective traditions, I became enthralled by Thai Massage. At this stage in my life I had been practicing and studying yoga as a way to liberate pain and trauma from my body, derived from years of competitive wrestling. I am a person who expresses themself through their physical body, so when I found myself at a place where it was difficult to walk and sit in a chair for too long, it was like being in jail inside my body. I found yoga postures and breath techniques did a lot to calm my nervous system and ease inflammation in my joints.
Thai massage originates form the studies of Buddhist monks and is often referred to ask karuna meditation. karuna is defined as the ability to physically remove pain and suffering from another being, like the example Thich Nhat Han uses, “Like when someone steps on a thorn, you remove the thorn and put some balm over it”. When you walk into a Buddhist temple, you will see a statue with hundreds of hands, because there are hundreds of ways to love. One of those is the practice of karuna meditation. The meditation aspect of Thai massage, the in depth studies of the energy lines that the monks provided and the kneading of the muscles and energy lines while the recipients were in a passive applied yoga posture, made this particular art form something that just consumed me.
Mediation by definition has no rules and if this body work was practiced as a mediation, it made me connect deeper to myself and to the recipient through karuna mediation. Now that this was the practice I decided to focus my energy on, I decided it was time to to seek a teacher. As I sought for a teacher in Thailand, I ran into Kam Thye Chow. The monks had hired this gentleman to redraw the lines that had eroded off the temple walls. So I said to myself- if the monks are hiring this guy, he’s got to know what he’s doing. So, I moved to an integral yoga ashram started by Swani Satchidananda, where Kam Thye was carrying out his Thai Yoga massage courses. I lived there for over a month, studying with him and drinking tea while getting to know him. The most profound healing experiences are often the most simple interactions. Kam Thye was a tai-chi master. As I would watch him work on people, it was as if he was moving through water and weaving the tai-chi dance into the Thai massage.
I’ve been teaching Thai Massage workshops and practicing Thai massage on individuals for 19 years. I’ve worked on professional dancers, athletes, elders in nursing homes, hospitalized patients, yogis- all different types of bodies and people. Each session in unique. I never really sought to leading a Thai Massage certification course, so I preferred sending people to practice with Kam Thye. Two years ago he passed away, in order to carry out this tradition, I decided to begin leading Thai bodywork certification courses. A year into leading the courses, I went to the ashram that I first took a yoga training in. I ran into one of the teachers there Hanuman and he said to me, hey you do Thai massage, right? I said, yeah why? I have something for you, he said. Wait a minute, I’ll be right back. 5 minutes later he came out with two boxes of books, textbooks and manuals that my teacher Kam Thye Chow had left, for him to pass on to whoever would make good use of it. He had been holding onto these for 10 years in anticipation of passing them on. I told Hanuman that Kam Thye was my teacher and we both started laughing. I saw it as a sign from Kam Thye, letting me know that it was ok to share his work.
Thai massage is a dance and we are all dancers and we all have our own unique dance. Whether we are dancing by ourselves, or with a partner. I feel very grateful to be sharing this practice and doing this dance.
Upcoming Thai Massage 101 Certifications:
- Breathing Dragon Yoga – Princeton, NJ, February 21-22-23, 2020
- Breathe Hot Yoga – Belltown, Seattle, WA, June 26-27-28, 2020