Thai Yoga Massage

I have always been a believer that exercise and relaxation are a key part of everyday life and enjoy fitness as an integral part of my daily routine.  However, there are times in our lives we need to redress the balance in the body and mind and take a more holistic approach, and I have discovered two practises new to me, which you should definitely be acquainted with, Bowen Technique and Thai Yoga Massage. 

Natasha de GrunwaldRecently I met with  Natasha De Grunwald, a local Mum living in Hampton Hill, and she has been practising Thai Yoga Massage for 24 years.  She initially discovered Thai Yoga Massage on a trip to Thailand in the early 90’s and has spent a considerable amount of time in Bangkok researching her training.  She has her own training school and practise based in Kingston and also practises at Natures Medicine in Hampton, as well as at home in Hampton Hill. 

Natasha specifically trained in two very different techniques to be able to offer clients a broad and holistic approach to achieving optimum health and well-being. With her client’s health at the forefront of her mind, and with her 24 years of experience as a practitioner, she carefully selects a treatment plan around the individual needs of each client she sees.

With both Thai yoga massage and Bowen technique, clients often report a reduction in the pain they may have been suffering with, sometimes for many years, whilst reporting that they have a general sense of heightened well-being and increased energy.  Our article today is all about Thai Yoga Massage. 

Thai Yoga Massage by Natasha de GrunwaldTYM1

Often known as lazy person’s yoga or applied Hatha yoga, Thai yoga massage is an amazing combination of reflexology, acupressure, yoga, and assisted progressive stretching.

The history of Thai massage dates back 2,200 years. It was originally taught and practised in Buddhist temples by local village health workers. The temples doubled up as health centres for local people to come for spiritual and physical healing. Thai massage was also passed down through generations of family lines, throughout Thailand and over the centuries. This contributed to it becoming the diverse and unique approach to body work that it is.

TYM2Given through the clothes on a floor mat, over 2 hours, each section of the body is thoroughly and repeatedly massaged and stretched. Thai massage starts at the feet and ends with a neck, face and head massage. The pressure throughout the treatment is carefully adjusted for each individual, but should be pleasant and deep. Natasha skilfully uses her feet, elbows, palms, thumbs, knuckles and forearms to apply pressure. During a general massage The recipient is massaged in four positions, on the back, front, side and sitting, whilst pregnant women are able to enjoy a full 2 hour massage lying on their sides with plenty of pillows around them for support and comfort.

Thai massage works on the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional levels of the body. Clients often report a deep sense of relaxation and an increased sense of general well-being, as well as feeling more balanced and energised, with these effects often lasting for many days. The combination of applied yoga and deep pressure allows the body and mind to relax. The client often falls into a deeply relaxed state, allowing the body to rest and repair.

TYM3On a physical level the joints are mobilised and the muscles stretched, increasing mobility and range of movement and releasing tension held in these areas of the body. The energy lines are continuously worked on releasing blockages on an emotional and physical level. Specific acupressure points are often stimulated to help with common complaints such as insomnia, headaches, back and shoulder pain, digestive disturbances, neck ache, poor posture or any condition where the body is out of balance. Thai Yoga massage is unique as it helps to relax the body deeply and at the same time can restore energy, and balance the body and mind. The overall effect is both calming and energising. The massage can also release toxins, support the immune system and increases a sense of well-being, as well as helping to improve posture and flexibility. The primary focus of Thai massage is to work on invisible energy lines that are in the body, similar to the meridian philosophy in Chinese medicine. In Thai massage philosophy there are ten main lines that are worked on. Most often they are worked equally to balance the flow of energy throughout the body. In some cases one energy line may be focused on more specifically as an addition to the other lines as a therapy for a condition, and certain pressure points may also be repeatedly stimulated. The dynamic stretching sequences are to stretch the lines, and the pressure work is to stimulate the lines, with muscular relaxation being a secondary effect of the massage work. ThaiTYM4 massage can be beneficial for anyone, no matter of age or flexibility. With the many techniques and stretches available to apply to the body, the sequence can easily be adapted for anyone to enjoy.

Clients who have limited range of motion, stiffness, soreness in joints and muscles, or who want to increase their flexibility or improve their posture can benefit from having regular Thai yoga massage treatments. Those clients who wish to relax and unwind will also find Thai massage very helpful, with the benefits lasting many days.

Many conditions can respond positively to Thai yoga massage. These include: Knee pain, back pain, whiplash injury, frozen shoulder, neck problems, depression and anxiety, migraines and headaches, insomnia and poor sleep patterns and lack of energy.

Natasha teaches Thai Yoga Massage to Practitioner Diploma Level at the London School of Thai Yoga Massage in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.

Parents with young children will often face the dilemma of needing to go back to work full time and finding a way of balancing this with being a full time parent does not always seem compatible. Often  a change of direction, building new skills and working for oneself can be an invaluable way of  creating the family and work life balance.

Being a Thai massage practitioner and teacher has been the ideal job for Natasha to have whilst her daughter was growing up.  She has been able to schedule clients and courses around the demands of being a mum and ensuring she is at the school gates each day at pick up time.

It’s great to find out that Natasha de grunwald teaches complete massage novices or existing therapists to become Thai yoga massage practitioners at a venue in Kingston, and that with mums and dads in mind she tries to schedule the day to run within school hours.

Training is over 9 months with London institute of Thai yoga massage, natasha’s training college.  The practitioner course is fully accredited, certified and recognised with insurance companies and governing bodies. This means that once students have qualified they are able to set up a practice, work in clinics, health clubs, salons or from home etc.

There are 12 days of training to attend, and then a break to do lots of practice at home on friends and family, before returning for an exam. The course is generally one Monday and Tuesday a month (consecutively) from 9.30 -3.00 each day. London institute of Thai yoga massage run 2 courses a year, one starting in the spring, and the other starting in autumn.

One of the beautiful things about Thai massage is that it’s so accessible for anyone to give or receive.   Participants on Natasha’s courses get to receive lots of massage during the course and also learn how to use their bodies to apply and vary pressure according to the needs of the individual.

The structure of the course has been very carefully worked out so that students can learn in bite sized and manageable chunks.  For example the first session is learning how to massage the feet, the second session would be massaging the legs, the third session the sequence of dynamic stretches and so on. Each day starts with a couple of demonstrations so that students can see how it’s done and get a chance to experience how it should feel, before they go off and work together to get stuck in exploring the moves and sequence. Natasha creates an exciting learning environment for her students where they can feel relaxed, have a lot of fun and learn a new skill for life.

Learning this ancient style of massage has other benefits for participants too as they often find they become physically stronger and more toned, this is due to the two hour massage sequence they learn being both dynamic and physical.  Students also find they develop awareness of their own bodies, and intuition for others, whilst also learning relaxation and breathing techniques and often report an increase in their energy levels and general well being.

Article written by Natasha De Grunwald   email:

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