CACAO PLANT MEDICINE
THAI YOGA MASSAGE
Relaxing, nurturing treatments - for women only
- focusing on Thai abdominal massage
WHAT IS THAI YOGA MASSAGE?
Thai Yoga Massage is a name sometimes given to Traditional Thai Massage, which combines yoga posture-inspired stretches and joint-manipulation with oriental-style acupressure using palming and thumbing along energy lines (sen lines) and acupressure points to balance subtle energy (lom/prana). Although you certainly don't need to be a Yoga practitioner to receive and benefit from this type of massage, Thai massage is a wonderful complement to a personal Yoga practice, especially if you are seeking to release deeply-held patterns of tension (which you might not even be aware of) from your body.
Although we are working with the physical body, Thai - like many other eastern and indigenous styles of bodywork - is really focused on working with the more subtle energetic layer of your being. Traditional Thai massage has its roots partly in Thai folk medicine, partly in Buddhist healing practices as well as other influences from neighbouring Asian holistic healing / wisdom traditions. Alongside the acupressure and energy lines, Thai massage uses breathing and stretches to release energy blockages, and help to unwind our habitual, unbalanced posture patterns in the body, and release both physical and emotional tension - just as yoga does.
Thai massage's partly Buddhist origins bring a compassionate, spiritual dimension to this form of bodywork, a beautiful energetic exchange shared in a spirit of metta - loving-kindness.
I trained in the "Northern style" (see below for more about my training etc), which is less forceful than the Wat Pho/Southern style - and my own personal style these days is gentler than what you would experience in Thailand. I favour a slower pace, listening to the body, working more intuitively and focusing on quality of touch, allowing for greater responsiveness rather than imposing lots of different & fast techniques, which I find can be unsettling as a recipient, and does not allow space for the body to respond.
WHAT TO EXPECT IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TREATMENT
Thai massage treatments are performed fully clothed (simply wear loose, comfortable clothing such as what you would wear for a yoga class) on a futon on the floor. I will ask you to complete a health form before we begin and there will be time to discuss any issues, and if there are any particular areas you'd like to focus on. (Before I take your booking I will also check there are no contraindications for you receiving a treatment - see below.)
Full-body Thai is not an oil-based massage, it's more akin to eg a shiatsu treatment than a Swedish massage. It is also at times like having Yoga done to you.
Increasingly, I am focusing on Thai abdominal treatments, although this will still involve working on the rest of the body - you'll be lying supine ie on your back, clothed, while I work feet, legs, hips, abdomen, and some lighter work elsewhere along the sen energy lines.
Breathing & relaxation are the key to receiving the full benefits of Thai massage. Treatments are practiced as a meditative flow, so conversation is kept to a minimum throughout. As the recipient, all you need do is lie back and breathe, surrender to the experience, and enjoy the healing journey, transporting you to a place of deep relaxation and bliss.
TESTIMONIALS FROM RECENT CLIENTS:
"Tania … I almost don’t have the words to describe what a blessing it is to receive massage from you especially Thai yoga massage and with the cacao as well!...I just wanted to reach out and thank you for sharing your wisdom and expertise in Thai Yoga Massage... Tania you have a gentle power which ...in the Thai yoga massage session (especially with the addition of Cacao) invited an unravelling
and an exploration inwards which reverberated through the rest of the week and into my daily life having a very positive effect on my whole being….From the very bottom of my heart thank you." - SUE B
"For the second time I've treated myself with the Thai massage, accompanied with the loving, heart opening cacao, with Tania
The space was an oasis of peace, filled with nurturing aromas and sounds, so inviting and welcoming.
Tania is very gentle yet strong, it felt as she has listened to my body's needs and helped me to release lots of physical and emotional tension. Thanks to paying special attention to my lower back I was pain free after the session, I am very grateful!!! Coming back soon!!!" - ANIA S
"Prior to the cacao ceremony (and within the same session) I received Thai massage therapy from Tania. This is a wonderfully relaxing form of massage therapy and a perfect accompaniment to the 121 cacao ceremony; the whole experience was deeply relaxing and rejuvenating and I came away feeling calm and grounded, with a sense of release and an open heart. Thank you, Tania!"
- AMY, MARINE BIOLOGIST
BOOKING A TREATMENT:
I am based south west of Totnes - it's preferable if you can come to me, although I may be able to travel for you (sometimes this will involve an extra charge). To discuss this and book a treatment contact me here.
For a small extra charge, I can also include a simple cacao ritual involving a serving of Mayan ceremonial cacao. I have a strong connection to this medicine and have been sharing for several years in dedicated group circles and 121 for women; increasingly, I am bringing this gentle heart medicine into my sacred bodywork sessions as well. Learn more about one-to-one cacao offerings here.
Please note that if you cancel your appointment with less than 24hrs' notice the full fee is still payable as I have set aside that time for you and may have turned down other clients.
Please wear loose/comfortable clothing for your treatment, as you would for a yoga class, and refrain from eating for a couple of hours beforehand.
MY BACKGROUND IN THAI MASSAGE
(& a little Hawaiian traditional lomilomi)
My training is rooted in the northern style, Asokananda lineage of Thai massage. Basic training with the Sunshine Network, Lahu Hill Tribe village in Northern Thailand 2014 ; advanced techniques training with Hadadi School of Thai Massage in Portugal 2017.
I came to Thai massage partly through my long-term Yoga practice and teaching work (I used to give gentle adjustments in classes and realised that I really enjoyed being hands-on and offering a compassionate, encouraging quality of touch), and partly through my own experiences as a recipient of Thai treatments (and other forms of massage & bodywork) over the years. Initially I was curious to learn more about Thai massage to enhance my Yoga teaching, but over time I realised I loved giving one-to-one treatments which were nurturing, deeply relaxing and energising, with deeper healing potential.
I also already had a deeply-established personal connection to Thailand and its beautiful Buddhist culture: I lived there in 2000 (teaching English as a foreign language), and my time there had a profound impact on me. My dear students took me to Buddhist temples regularly I probably learned as much from them as they did from me! - and I've continued to explore Buddhist philosophies and practices ever since.
I am trained in the northern style of traditional Thai massage (gentler than the southern style taught in Wat Pho, Bangkok). After some basic training in Devon in 2013-14 (with Emma Cayless), I travelled to Thailand for my main training in 2014 with Chatchoi Jamu of the Sunshine Network, in Huai Naam Rin, a Lahu Hill Tribe village in the mountains of the far north of Thailand. This school is part of the Asokananda lineage: Chatchoi is the son of Sunshine Network founder Asokananda, who was a key figure in the modern revival and recognition of Thai massage as a sacred and effective healing art. Living in an animist village whilst also exploring aspects of Buddhist spirituality and Thai healing practices each day was a unique and enriching experience which I still feel the impact and inspiration of. (It was also here, in an indigenous tribal setting, that I first heard about cacao being worked with in plant spirit medicine ceremonies - which opened up another powerful path of exploration and healing in my life a few years later.)
I have been a professional Thai massage practitioner since 2015. People generally come away from my treatments feeling they have had a beautiful experience of nurturing & release, feeling light, energised and profoundly relaxed. Over the years, my practice has become much more gentle and slow than the often strenuous and dynamic styles I was first trained in; I've come to really appreciate the less is more approach, allowing the recipient's body more time to relax and then working more responsively with each individual's body rather than imposing lots of different moves & techniques. My intention is to create a gentle, slow, relaxing and nurturing experience. I work more slowly & responsively with the body, to allow it time to release and relax more.
I also have some basic training in traditional Hawaiian lomilomi massage - known as "Big Island lomilomi" (this is a different style & lineage to the modern "Temple style" , lomilomi nui" or "Huna" massage more commonly found in Europe): in 2015 I undertook a one-to-one training in basic lomilomi techniques at Ho'omana Spa & Training whilst on the Hawaiian island of Maui, and later took their Ho'oponopono training (there is much more to this than the mantra which has become popular in recent times.)
I returned to Thailand in the winter of 2016-17 offering Thai massage treatments as well as teaching yoga at an international retreat centre in southern Thailand, working with western and Thai clients. During my time here, I began to experiment with weaving in a little lomilomi since we were in the tropics! Since then, I've enjoyed allowing some of the theory, practice and spirit of lomilomi to filter organically into my work too.
In 2017, I took a training in Advanced Techniques for Thai Massage with Hadadi School of Thai massage in Portugal: this training opened up new possibilities for using forearms, elbows and feet as well as hands; and also helped me to free up the structure of my practice and work more intuitively. My practice style has evolved to become more gentle and with a focus on relaxing, releasing and nurturing the body and through this, your whole being.