Originally published in the Winter + Spring 2019 issue.
The body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care. ~Buddha
The history of Thai Yoga Massage is said to have been developed by the legendary physician Jivaka, thought to have practiced almost 2,500 years ago. History tells that Jivaka, from northern India, was a friend and the personal physician of the Buddha, and a renowned healer in the Buddhist tradition.
Thai Massage is one of the four branches of Traditional Thai medicine — a healing technique that was practiced before doctors. The massage involves deep stretching and yoga poses on a firm mat. It is a therapeutic procedure that provides relaxation and restores healthy blood circulation — also treating energy blockages, aches and pains, stress and tension.
SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, Colorado, offers Thai Yoga Therapy with roots in yoga, Ayurvedic medicine and Buddhist spiritual practices. This unique and powerful therapy is performed on a soft, dense mat using rhythmic movements, acupressure, gentle stretching, assisted yoga poses, energy work and meditation. SunWater Spa offers both private and couples Thai Yoga Therapy led by lead practitioner Kat Tudor, and others trained in the Ritam Healing Arts style.
“I find the practice is beneficial for both the giver and receiver of the massage as the therapy works on all levels, including both emotional and physical release,” explains Tudor. “It helps energy flow, which reduces body pain when our circulatory, respiratory and lymphatic systems are not functioning as well as they should. Thai Yoga Massage is my favorite treatment to both give and receive, as it leads to a deeper understanding of the body and how profoundly we effect others through touch. The benefits are very dynamic — people can even have visions and greater insight.”
Tudor trained with the noted Ritam Healing Arts, founded by Saul David Raye, with whom she has studied and traveled and collaborated with for over 10 years.
“Until I trained in Thai Yoga Massage, I didn’t have a full understanding of the body and the benefit of keeping energy flowing,” she says. “Some call the therapy the lazy person’s yoga, because we move people in and out of poses. Thai training informs everything I do as a yoga teacher. And what keeps it fresh are the other elements I add to the sessions such as using sacred oils and crystals, and doing work on a Bio Mat with infrared rays to penetrate deep into the fascia.”
“Thai Yoga Massage Therapy for couples provides each participant with enough knowledge about the therapy in one session to give the experience of Thai Yoga to each other in a non-intimidating and personal setting,” she says.
SunMountain Center, a SunWellness Company, also offers a 9-day Introductory Level Thai Yoga Therapy Training and Certificate Program with Phoebe Diftler, the author of “Urban Guide to Ancient Thai Massage” and Kat Tudor. This program gives students the skill and immediate tools to work with people after the training, as well as useful tips to set up a successful practice. SunMountain Center will offer the Training and Certificate Program January 14 – 26, 2019 with additional dates to follow. Please visit: sunwellness.net/sunmountain/retreat/ for more information.
The following are several Thai Yoga Massage poses that couples learn in a Thai Couples workshop. For a complete view of Thai Yoga Massage poses and sequences visit www.sunwellness.net/thai-yoga.
The following are four additional bodywork centers in Colorado that either practice or/and teach Thai Yoga Massage
Peace of Mind Massage
249 S Pearl St., Denver
Peace of Mind Massage offers many different massage and wellness services, including Thai Yoga Massage. Denver’s Peace of Massage mission is to help and heal their clients, while stressing that not everyone is suited for Thai Yoga Massage, such as those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, brittle bones, serious heart conditions, etc.
577 76th St., Boulder
Yoga Yuki not only offers Thai Yoga Massage, but they teach private lessons to couples on how to do Thai Yoga Massage at a studio or in the privacy of their home. For example, if your partner complains a lot about lower back discomfort from sitting for a long time, the can make a sequence to reduce the discomfort in low back and open the hips/legs. If you want to learn the fundamentals of couple’s Thai massage, instructors can teach you about the whole body.
Sunshine Massage Studio
616 W Lionshead Circle Suite 300 D, Vail
Sunshine Massage Studio located in Vail, CO, offers Thai Yoga Massage that specifically helps skiers. Their Thai Yoga Massage stretches and massages up to four parts of your body the same time~ this type of massage takes multi-tasking in the healing realm to the next level. This style of massage increases energy flow throughout the body and is the perfect massage to enjoy before starting any athletic activity, such as skiing.
Beyond Massage Aspen
300 S. Spring St. Suite 203, Aspen
Beyond Massage Aspen offers traditional Thai Yoga Massage, which help clients regain a greater range of motion, more balance, as well as a more centered mind. They also offer acupuncture, acupoint injections, diagnostic testing, and a variety of classes from Thai Yoga Massage workshops to Maya Abdominal Therapy.