A perk of working in wellness is that you get to meet many other awesome wellness professionals on a regular basis. Recently I had the opportunity to have a bodywork session with Erin Mader, who has recently moved back to Iowa to practice massage therapy. One form of bodywork she specializes in is Thai Massage. While I’ve had Rolfing and other forms of massage therapy, this is one form of massage I’m not too familiar with. I was so excited and pleased with the session that I thought it would be a great article for anyone interested in this type of massage! In case you’re wondering, yes, that is me in the photos but no the session was not photographed. My photographer friend Dylan was doing a shoot for Erin and needed a body. Yours truly stepped up to the plate. Check out Dylan’s website if you need a local photographer!
Erin: Massage Therapy has both physiological and psychological benefits for the body. Most people associate massage with relaxation but certain types of massage can be rejuvenating or even stimulating, such as sports massage before an event. Massage relieves tension by breaking down adhesions and scar tissue within muscles and connective tissue and helps to flush out metabolic by-products, like lactic acid. Manipulating the tissues can improve posture, relieve anxiety, increase blood flow and metabolism plus it just feels great!
J: Thai Massage is very different from what most people think of when they think of massage therapy. Explain some of its benefits and what someone should expect in their first session.
E: Thai Massage, or “lazy man’s yoga,” is much different from Western-style massage therapy but has all of the same benefits. At its core, Thai Massage is energy work; the body is stretched, compressed and acupressure points are often integrated to manipulate the energy flow. Thai also differs from Western massage in its method; the client remains clothed, no oils or lotions are used and the session is performed on a large, comfortable mat. Clients breathe rhythmically with the stretches, deepening them and stimulating the mind-body connection.
J: This session was really beneficial to me as I exercise a lot and sometimes neglect to stretch as often as I should. I’m also fairly inflexible, all things considered. Who would you recommend this type of massage for?
E: Anyone from an active athlete to a couch potato can benefit from Thai Massage! In the Western world, we sit too much and work too hard and over time our bodies lose range of motion and energy becomes stagnant. Even an avid runner will feel the effects of hip or low back tension and these issues can be hard to address solo. Thai Massage helps to open up the body and allows one to focus on themselves, something we rarely do enough of!
J: Because Thai Massage involves a lot of stretching, are there certain aspects someone can take away from a session with you and start implementing on their own to improve blood flow and flexibility?
E: Thai Massage is often called Thai Yoga Massage because it mimics many yoga positions. In fact, Thai Massage is a variation of Hatha Yoga, brought to Thailand from India. Practicing yoga is similar to Thai Massage in that it focuses on the breath and increases flexibility and I encourage all of my clients to do yoga regularly to maintain the mind-body connection.
J: Other than Thai Massage, what services do you provide?
E: In addition to Thai Massage, I practice traditional Deep Tissue/Swedish Massage, Massage Cupping and Hot Bamboo Fusion. Descriptions of these modalities can be found on my website at www.getbodybalanced.com. Thank you to Johanna Determann at Hello Wellness for allowing me to spread the word about the amazing benefits of massage!
Consider contacting Erin for bodywork! I believe this is one aspect of preventive care most people neglect. Have you ever had a Thai massage? Do you prefer this type of massage over a traditional massage? Leave a comment as I’d like to hear your thoughts!