Miss Wanna has perfected a touch that is gentle yet firm, delving into muscles knotted with stress and tension without causing too much pain. She brings you just to the edge of discomfort so that you emerge from her touch feeling loosened, opened, and relaxed. And, she makes it look effortless. After Miss Wanna demonstrated a series of moves, it was our turn to practice:
Thai massage thoroughly works on all parts of the body, from the large muscles such as quadriceps and biceps to the fine joints of the hand and the third eye of the forehead:
Sometimes we pulled and twisted each other into alignment (hopefully):
For those of you interested in geeking out a bit with me, Thea and I researched the theory and history of Thai massage after our course. The legendary founder of Thai massage was Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, a contemporary of the Buddha and personal physician to King Bimbisara. Dr. Bhaccha is also viewed by Thais as the "Father of Medicine." His massage art likely reached Thailand with Buddhism around the 3rd or 2nd century B.C., though this history remains obscure.
The theory of Thai massage is based on the concept of inivisible energy lines running through the body, known as the 10 Sen in Thai. According to this practice, massaging important acupressure points along these lines makes it possible to treat certain diseases and relieve pain.
Historically, Thai massage was never merely a job; it was a spiritual practice intertwined with the teachings of the Buddha. The establishment of massage practice and teaching outside of temples is a new development. Giving a massage was a physical application of "Metta," a word in Buddhism for "loving kindness," so practitioners strived to attain a state of mindfulness in which they were fully concentrated on the client and thereby able to intuit the client's individual needs. I think this level of mindfulness is equally important for healing in Western medicine but highly underrated, so this is a memorable experience that I will carry with me on my path to starting medical school next fall.
A final good-bye from Miss Wanna (unfortunately we did not have a selfie stick -- those are very popular among the tourists over here):