Manual therapy can be a stand-alone treatment but is usually always an adjunctive therapy to any acupuncture treatment as a way to help deepen the effects and affects of the needles. In this way massage aids in relaxation, stress-reduction, and 'muscle balancing' when there is tension or weakness. My stylistic approach is rooted in the concepts of craniosacral and visceral manipulation, myofascial release, and Thai and Chinese theory, we will always discuss your concerns and goals before proceeding.
Massage isn't (and I'd go so far to say shouldn't) be a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. I work with several systems in mind: a biomedical approach of basic anatomy and orthopedic pathology, Chinese medical theory, and Thai medical theory, and I also think with my hands. This combination of theoretical and physical inputs allows me to give you an experience that will not only be relaxing, but will help you to feel better.
In terms of a stand-alone session, while I generally focus on doing Thai Massage, I integrate Chinese Medical theory and techniques into what I do. So while I'm working on the Sen I'm thinking about the channels and organ pathologies as they are outlined in Chinese Medicine. Also, and although Thai massage is typically done on the floor, I do and will work on the table with you depending on the situation. A lot of times the massage I do is like acupuncture as far as results, insomuch that very profound results can be felt.
Thanks to my teachers Bill Helm, Richard Gold, Nephyr Jacobsen, and Jessica Dafni.
Some of the conditions both Chinese and Thai Medicine can treat (other than pain):
- allergies and asthma
- anxiety and depression
- arthritis/joint issues
- back, knee, neck pain, and sciatica
- bladder/kidney problems
- constipation/diarrhea/digestive issues
- gynecological issues
- heart problems/palpitations
- high blood pressure
- immune disorders
- menopausal issues and discomfort
- pre-menstrual syndrome
- sexual dysfunction
- side effects of chemotherapy
- skin problems
- stroke rehabilitation
- tendonitis and other musculoskeletal issues
And Who Can Benefit?
Everyone! From infants to seniors, whether seeking an alternative to Western Medicine or additional help, some turn to acupuncture and massage when other methods have been exhausted for the treatment of chronic conditions. As an acupuncturist, I may also be the first choice of care for many because it is low-risk with few side effects.
And beyond that, studies show that simple touch, such as that which you would receive as part of an acupuncture treatment or massage session, helps to lower cortisol (a hormone produced in reaction to stress) and blood pressure while activating the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for 'rest and digest').
Thai MassageTraditional Thai Massage is part of a larger an complex traditional medical system that dates back several thousand years. Thai massage is generally done clothed on a comfortable mat on the floor and can incorporate the use of liniments, balms, hot compresses, gua sha, and cupping.
Viewed from a Western physiologic perspective, Thai Massage can be classified as a system of peripheral stimulation in which the practitioner (me) finds the location of the disease, pathogen, or dysfunction in the body through asking questions and palpation, similar to Chinese medical diagnosis. Once the issue is identified, the primary therapeutic effects are accomplished by focusing on the layers of the body (from superficial to deep including skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments &c.) with pressing, passive range of motion, and stretching techniques. Done very slowly, and only when the recipient is in a deep state of relaxation, the recipient will have the opportunity to be moved beyond the edge of their perceived physical limitations. Experiencing themselves on the other side of (and beyond) those limitations can be a very empowering and pleasurable experience. The recipient can begin to diminish self-limiting thought patterns. Pain and stiffness can be reduced comfortably. The body and mind can function at more optimal levels. A new sense of self can emerge!
Thai Medicine is about as old as Chinese Medicine and similar in some regards but, instead of working with energetic channels, it works on in all layers of the body, including Sen, which are physical pathways that carry nutrients and information within the body. It is composed of five branches: external or orthopedic medicine (massage is one sub-branch of this), internal or herbal medicine, divination, spiritual medicine, an Buddhism. The massage element of the medicine has been handed down through a body of teaching throughout generations and, in the last half century or so, has begun to prevail in several different traditions, such as the Royal tradition, more indigenous traditions (which vary), and Lanna medical traditions. The legendary founder of Thai Medicine was a native of India, known to us as Shivago Komparaj, and is known to be a close personal associate of the historical Buddha, as well as the head physician of the original Sangha, the community gathered around the Buddha. Thanks to few historical documents from 2500 years ago, little is known about Thai medicine until the middle 19th century.
More specifically, Thai medical practice is concerned with wind in the body, which is a primary element to be kept balanced within the body. As opposed to Chinese medicine, in which the concept of wind would be a pathogenic factor, in Thai medicine Wind is both the force that moves physiologic functions and the element that, if out of balance, can cause pain or discomfort in the body. Manual therapy works primarily to balance the pathogenic Wind within the body, whether deep or on the surface, as an expression of Metta, or loving kindness. To both the recipient and the practitioner, the practice is its own reward.
Seitai ShiatsuUnlike Zen Shiatsu, the form of Shiatsu Massage most are familiar with, Seitai Shiatsu is a very light, quick, and structured massage that is noted for benefiting lymph circulation and encouraging drainage.
Seitai Shiatsu is a form of therapeutic bodywork developed by Master Kiyoshi Kato in Osaka, Japan. Much like Zen Shiatsu, Seitai Shiatsu shares its purpose as being to enhance the circulation of the blood and lymph, and to maximize the quality of blood formation in the body. The technique combines the use of pressure on the tsubos (acupuncture points) with various strokes of massage and is excellent for supporting the immune system as well as supporting overall health and well being.
Seitai Shiatsu is indicated when there has been damage to the lymphatic system and, for the fullest benefit, is indicated to be received on a daily - or twice daily - basis along with dietary changes. Seitai, when performed as taught or intended, is done with such a light touch that very infrequently is the muscle layer touched. For that reason, this is usually a massage that has elements integrated into a longer massage of a different modality.
The way I usually offer this massage is on a one-on-one basis the first few times, then I teach it to a family member so that it can be performed at home.
Tui Na MassageA typical session this style of massage ranges from thirty minutes to an hour. Sometimes it can be a little intense, but it's always worth it! The session timings may vary depending on the patient's needs and condition. Like for Thai massage, for tui na you would also stay clothed in comfortable clothing.
Tui na methods can include soft tissue massage, passive joint movement, and 'acupressure' in conjunction with herbal compresses, ointments, liniments, and heat. The best part of the therapy is that it relaxes as well as energizes the person receiving it. The main benefit of tui na massage is that it focuses on the specific problem, whether it is an acute or a chronic pain associated with the joints, muscles or a skeletal system. This technique is very beneficial in reducing the pain of neck, shoulders, hips, back, arms, highs, legs and ankle disorders. Like Thai massage, it can also be a very effective therapy for arthritis pain, sciatic pain, and muscle spasms. Other benefits of this massage therapy include alleviation of the stress-related disorders like insomnia, constipation, headaches and other disorders related to digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems.