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What is Traditional Thai Medicine (TTM)?

The Thai Government’s Ministry of Health, states that, “The medical processes dealing with the examination, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, or prevention of diseases, or promotion and rehabilitation of the health of humans or animals, midwifery, the physical therapy massage, as well as the preparation or production of Thai traditional remedies and the making of devices and instruments for medical purposes; all constitute Traditional Thai Medicine. All of these are based on a body of knowledge that was passed on and developed from generation to generation.”


How is Thai Medicine massage different from Western massage?

Thai Medicine massage is a physical therapy under the umbrella of Traditional Thai Medicine (TTM). The cultural ethics around the practice are rooted in Buddhist philosophy and ceremony. A session is done on a mat on the floor, no oil is used, and the patient is clothed. Our practice at Sacredasia School of Thai Therapies is of the Northern Lanna lineage. It is slower with more stretching, less intense movements (in terms of joint mobilizing) and a focus on working through the 5 layers of the body (skin, muscles, channels, bones & organs). Thai Medicine massage evolved from the hermit practice of the Reusi (Rishi, Sage, Seer), which is similar to Tibetan Yoga. The figureheads of Traditional Thai Medicine are The Buddha, Jivaka (the Buddha’s Doctor) and the Reusi.


What are the benefits of Thai Medicine massage?

The therapeutic approach of Thai Medicine massage treats the body in terms of layers that address skin, tissues, Sen channels, bones & organs. It supports harmony to elemental imbalances that affect the individual constitution. Channel work in Thai Medicine massage makes space between muscles and bones for Wind to flow (increased nerve flow, blood and lymph flow), thereby reducing pain and inflammation. The practice incorporates acupressure, point work and stretching to improve range of motion, improve circulation, immune response, respiration and diaphragmatic movement. It also increases digestion and calms the nervous system, as well as it improves and tonifies organ function through visceral work and freeing peripheral nerve roots.


How is Traditional Thai Medicine different from Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda?

The diagnosis of the different patterns of the elements in relation to the body have unique qualities in all three systems of health. In TTM, disease develops from an imbalance of three elements in three degrees: excess, deficient and erratic. The elements appear in the combination of structure and function as part of nature and the universe, they are: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Space. TTM has six branches - Internal herbal and food therapies, External physical therapies, Oracular sciences/Divination, Buddhism, Magic and Midwifery.


How is Thai Medicine massage different from Shiatsu massage?

Thai Medicine massage emphasizes passive stretching and clearing of the channels with acupressure. Shiatsu massage emphasizes pointwork and compression techniques that are directed to specific meridians and stretching is not as prominent. Although Thai Medical massage may look the same in some movements, the intent stems the theory of balancing the elements present vs. treating the organs with reflexive point work.


How often should someone receive a session?

For relaxation, as often as you like. For chronic pain; once every two weeks. For acute pain; daily until improvement, then once every two weeks.


When should someone not have a session?

If one is intoxicated, has a fever or a serious injury. If in the first trimester of pregnancy. If advanced osteoporosis is present or certain types of cancer.


How long is a Thai Medicine massage session?

A complete session lasts from 90 minutes to two hours.


How does Thai Medicine massage relate to Yoga?

Often referred to as ‘Thai Yoga massage’ or ‘Lazy person’s Yoga’, there is an aspect of Asana in the supported postures and stretches. While safely taking the client deeper into stretches, the practitioner applies acupressure techniques to the channels in various postures. Yoga teacher who learn Thai massage techniques offer better hands on support and a better understanding of the body.


What is Thai Medicine cupping therapy?

In this treatment, cups are applied to create inverted pressure which pulls blood to the surface of the skin. It is helpful to clear blood stasis and interstitial lymphatic stagnation. Fevers, viral and bacterial infections are drawn into the superficial layers and eradicated more effectively. It stretches the connective tissue and loosens the muscles. It should not be painful but is sometimes intense if done strongly. There are often marks remaining on the skin for 2 - 7  days. The colour of the marks (which are not bruises) indicate the state of the tissue health and inform as to what other therapy could be beneficial.


What is Thai Medicine herbal compress?

Heated herbal poultice packs are applied to heat the 5 layers of the body. Compressions follow the channels, with added focus to the joints. The herbs soothe aching muscles with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties while also tonifying the skin. This is an excellent treatment for anyone recovering from physical exertion from outdoor sports to childbirth.

How do Thai Therapies relate to Buddhism?

Buddhist philosophies are resonated at the core of all Thai therapies. The Four Divine States of Mind; Metta, which is the Theravada Pali word for loving-kindness, Compassion, Vicarious Joy and Equanimity are always cultivated by devoted practitioners. Meditation is important to bring awareness and sensitivity forward through full presence and embodiment. Pali chanting prepares for the teachings, protects and shows gratitude to the revered Masters of the Lineage. Rather than being a religious context, we aspire to Buddhism as a philosophy to adopt revered qualities within ourselves.


How often has the Instructor taught these classes?

Kristin Nuttall, RTT & THAI Instructor began teaching classes in 2002 and founded the Sacredasia school in 2007. Teachings of all Thai therapy courses in the school curriculum have been held 3-4 times per year since 2007.


What kind of commitment is involved in these studies?

The 200-hour Practitioner certification program is sometimes offered in 4 modules, but usually in 5-6 week intensive formats. There is some suggested reading and practice outside of class recommended. A written test and a two-hour clinical exam are required to complete the program. Other classes are offered for 2-4 day modality-specific trainings.


Who are these courses suited to?

The classes are open to all people of all backgrounds beyond post-secondary education that intend to use the training for therapeutic work. After completing our initial 200 hour program you are eligible for professional designation and liability insurance. After logged sessions, study and practice requirements are completed, you can also join the Thai Healing Alliance - an organization for standards of practice. Joining the Thai Healing Alliance International to become a Registered Thai Therapist (RTT) requires 50 logged sessions submitted within a year of graduation.


What would prevent someone from learning?

The student must be in good health, any illnesses or recent injuries may prevent one from being comfortable while learning Thai therapies. We have had students that range from the elderly, to the blind, to those physically rehabilitating and we can adapt the teachings for many challenges such as poor knees and wrists.


What if I can't accommodate all the hours of the scheduled classes?

For any class time missed there is the option of tutorials... One 3hr private tutorial = One full day in class. Or there is the option of auditing over a future training and participating again with a 50% discount on the tuition.


Should I study in Thailand or BC?

We encourage our students to study with many different teachers. Every practitioner should have some experience with the Thai culture during their development and there are many qualified instructors located all over the world. Sacredasia brings aspects of Thai culture to Canada for you to have a traditional experience with Western anatomical landmarks and clinical pathology.


What are graduates of the program doing with their studies?

Many of our graduates have created customized practices, some mesh other healing arts into their offerings, while others are exclusively focused on Thai Medicine therapies. Many have enjoyed the complimentary benefits of Yoga teaching with becoming a Thai Medicine massage practitioner. Browse some graduates’ sites: Student Success Stories

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