Getting back in balance

TL;DR – Thai massage is good for you!

This is what a disastrous re-opening of the economy looks like. Israel had 1,441 new cases in a day, and as of yesterday, a total of 351 people died.

This is the same graph for Thailand (pop. 69.4 million). FYI, 58 people TOTAL have died in Thailand from coronavirus. They had a small uptick of 14 new cases today.

This week I strained my back and my knowledge of Thai massage principles and acupressure points saved me a lot of pain and aggravation. Based on the graphs, Thai massage and a culture of caring for others helped save the country from coronavirus too.

First contact

My beloved Thai Massage School in Chiang Mai

My first contact with Thai massage was when I was in Thailand taking Thai massage courses. I liked the treatment combination of stretching and pressure, and I could feel the influences of both yoga and Chinese medicine. But I became a true believer when I came down with a stomach virus during my first week of training.

During a practice session, my partner pressed a spot on my foot causing me to run out of the room and throw up my lunch. “This is not how this adventure ends!” And back I went.

The next session was, of course, stomach massage. With my new partner, we modified the massage to deal with my stomach issues. And I was CURED.

UNESCO recognizes the power of Thai massage

Last year, I was very happy to see that UNESCO recognized Thai massage as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. There’s a 9-minute video on the site if you want to know more about it. The legend of Thai massage is that it was invented by Buddha’s physician. It migrated from India to Thailand and picked up some Chinese medicine elements on the way. The Thais simplified it and now have a beautiful national wellness practice.

Back to my back

Thai massage and acupressure is not a miracle cure. It’s not too “woo-woo” for ordinary folk. In short, any kind of massage increases blood flow and more blood circulation will help heal muscles. But Thai massage has the added benefits of increasing energy, bringing on relaxation, and lessening pain.

My pain was probably an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. I tried some stretching, a hot bath, medicinal creams, rest, ibuprofen, and a bit of trigger point therapy. All of these helped the acute issue of back strain and the resulting leg pains. When I was able to move around a bit more freely, I still had pain at times up to 7 or 8 as an ache, not as a result of movement.

Then I remembered I have all these treatment protocols from my Thai massage training. Once the acute issues had subsided somewhat, I could do some of the protocols on myself. It’s not easy!

But I can do as many acupressure protocols as I want whenever I want to do them. Yesterday I did about 4 protocols over 45 minutes and brought my pain down from 7/8 to about 2. In fact, I felt so good I did some light tai chi.

This morning, the pain was about 6.5, and another round of 45 minutes brought it down to 0.75.

I’m not 100% yet, but I think I’m about 85-90% better. I have residual pains here and there from other stuff that Thai massage doesn’t treat (or that I can’t treat myself).

This episode reminded me that I miss practicing Thai massage. Thai massage is almost as good for the practitioner as for the client – a case where it really is as good to give as to receive.

I’m looking forward to getting back to it eventually. But not yet.