Thai medicine is a unique
healing system based on a holistic approach to health, incorporating
treatment for body (through diet and herbs), psycho-spiritual healing
(through practices such as meditation), and the energetic systems
(treating the flow and balance of vital energy through Thai massage).
The roots of Thai medicine are found in T'ai hill-tribe shamanism
and indigenous medicine. Over the years, Thai medicine and massage
have adopted and incorporated influences from Indian Ayurveda and
yoga practices, as well as Chinese healing arts.
“Three" in Thai Massage
Three is a significant
number in each of the systems we explore. In Indian Ayurveda, we recognize
three layers of being - the physical, the astral (mind, emotions)
and the causal (spirit). In Chinese philosophy and medicine, there
are three powers, San Tsai - heaven, human and earth. In Thai medicine,
it is recognized that there are three aspects of existence - the physical,
the energetic and the spiritual (heart consciousness).
In Thai medicine, as with
most traditional medicines, all three layers are addressed simultaneously.
The physical is addressed through diet and herbs. The energetic is
addressed through Thai massage which works with the various energy
pathways and elements. The spiritual is addressed through Theravada
Buddhism mixed with Tantric philosophy and hill-tribe shamanism.
Although the Thai massage
itself was conceived to be specific to energetic healing, one can
see that all three layers are both directly and indirectly addressed
in the massage practice. The physical is addressed through touch,
pressure, movement and manipulation of tissues, organs, joints and
various other systems of the body. The energetic is addressed through
working with energy pathways and elements. The spiritual is addressed
through awareness, resonance, intent, visualization, prayer and ritual.
As practitioners of Thai
massage, we are not just listening to one level or layer of our client,
but allowing all levels of being to suffuse and communicate as sensation,
image, thought, feeling… The practitioner allows the logical
to dance with the intuitive, conscious to merge with unconscious,
intellectually-learned knowledge to intertwine with heart-lived wisdom…
Past, present and future merge into a singular eternal moment. Inner
and outer are no longer merely reflections, but exist as one continuum
of being. Spirit becomes solid - palpable - and physical dissolves
into an ocean of energy.
This is the realm of the
traditional Shaman. It is the traversing of many planes of existence,
many ways of perceiving at once to allow an image to emerge built
of body, energy and spirit that describe the person, the time, the
condition and the potential for healing.
We are affiliated with
the Northern Thai Tradition of the Shivago Komarpaj Lineage and the
Tao Mountain Association in the United States, whose director and
founder is Pierce Salguero (for more info on Pierce).
This lineage was established
by Ajahn Sintorn Chaichakan through his work at the Traditional Medicine
Hospital, Chiang Mai, Thailand which he founded in 1973. Ajahn Sintorn
was instrumental in the development of a Thai massage program at the
prestigious Wat Pho temple of Bangkok at the request of King Rama
IX in the late 1950's. Ajahn Sintorn later returned to Chiang Mai,
adapting the massage techniques to the people and traditional practices
he encountered there.
Pierce spent much time
in Thailand (1997-2001) studying and later teaching with Ajahn Sintorn,
as well as studying with other practitioners/teachers associated with
the hill-tribe traditions of Northern Thai massage. In late 2001,
Pierce returned to the States, and with the permission of his teacher,
established a school and organization dedicated to the study, preservation
and education of Traditional Thai massage, herbal medicine, healing
culture and Theravada Buddhism.
Three Winds is proud to
be affiliated with these teachings as part of its curriculum. While
we explore other healing traditions (such as Indian Ayurveda) along
with traditional Thai Massage and medicine, it is done with care to
keep the distinctions between these systems clear, while exploring
cross-influences in culture, philosophy and traditional medicine theory.
I have been teaching yoga
and facilitating individual healing sessions since 1994. I originally
studied Thai massage with Kam Thye Chow of Lotus Palm, in Montreal,
Quebec 2001-2003 and am ever-grateful for the opening he provided
to the world of Thai massage... It is through his offerings that I
began to pursue studies in Ayurveda with Dr. Frawley. Kam Thye's grace
and heart are ever-present in my work and practice.
In 2004, the seeds for
teaching Thai massage were planted by interested students, and I developed
the Energies of Healing program that was launched in 2005. However,
wanting to offer connections to Thai medicine, culture and practices
that were out of my reach and understanding, I extended my practice
to study with Pierce Salguero, pursuing teaching training through
Tao Mountain beginning in the fall of 2005.
The journey with Thai massage
is ever deepening --- we have barely even touched the surface of Thai
medicine in the West. The potential for healing through this and other
traditional medicines is a topic dear to my own heart. As both a practitioner
and teacher, I am happy to be co-exploring with interested others
the vast and rich traditions Three Winds touches on.
Thai Massage Workshops