Bee-oootiful Chiang Mai

the massage crew

the massage crew

This is the second time I’ve walked into a vocational school setting next to my time at Kendall College for culinary school several years ago. Just so happened I sat down at the same table as Marcell, a guy who took this course 12 years ago and has been teaching Thai Massage at his yoga studio in Germany. And, it was just me, him and our instructor Aam for the first day. Marcell and I became coffee buddies and fast friends. Friend making is fast when practicing the intimate art of Thai Massage. You can quickly feel whether you are on the same wavelength with someone or not.

“Be-ooo-tiful pillow,” Aam indicated by pointing at the disorganized group of pillows on the massage mat. Marcell and I clambered to reorganize the pillows at once. This simple phrase reminds me to be organized, clean and always use support pillows when giving Thai Massage. Keeping the space arranged “beautifully” and moving “beautifully” improves the quality and relaxation of massage.

Buddhist traditions are an integral part of Thai Massage. The practice is always begun by cleaning the feet and then prayer, yoga and meditation. The religious overtones and politics historically with Eastern culture must be why this powerful healing art has not been widely accepted and practiced in Western Culture but interest from certain communities is growing I would say. Maybe also the historic association of Thai massage with happy endings…a sad association as this is a bastardization of such a beautiful practice and ancient science.

All of the techniques are centered around stimulating the Sen Sib energy lines discovered thousands of years ago. It is very peculiar that Western culture largely turns its nose up or isn’t aware of this powerful healing art. Now that more research is going into the positive result of massage in this way, Western culture is beginning to open up to these practices.

Aside from that, I learned that Thai Massage may have stemmed from India and Ayurvedic medicine, ha! Once I got here to the school, I knew that I had made a great choice to dapple in this ancient and sensual art. It’s likely to become more than dappling. Thai massage, as polite as the school tries to have it seem, is extremely intimate and there’s no way to get around that if you are doing it right. I am not speaking from a sexual perspective, its more from the perspective of getting to know someone by feeling certain things on a person that you didn’t really know were so private like blood pumping from one place to another or the bone structure of a person’s face and head through a layer of skin. Within these techniques, you feel the recipient’s vulnerabilities and their details. These are just the basics that I am learning. I am sure that it can get quite intense.

Aside from the massage course, Chiang Mai has a get-things-done-in-a-laid-back-way that I fell in love with. I seriously think I could live there for a while. The energy of the place and the people was intoxicating for me. It’s in the mountains, the weather is lovely and there is a strong culture of people that I click with. Also, I can’t deny the appeal of the most organized and clean outdoor wholesale market I have seen in the WORLD with amazing produce and other ingredients. I could do some cooking in this city and there’s the clientele for it.

Radical Larder