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Feb 15, 2012

Cold Weather Remedy | Thai Herbal Compress Massage

With the first rains of the season in the Bay Area recently, we started getting a little chilly!  And what better way to fight off the winter blues than a steamy Thai Herbal Compress Massage!  NHI Instructors Kristine TenBrink and Darlene Campo recently led a special lab for Group 30 Seniors in Luk Pra Kob (as the modality is known in Thailand).  Both teachers have had extensive, but slightly different experience working with the compresses: Kristine was trained in Thaiyurveda while working at the exclusive Preston Wynne Spa in Saratoga, while Darlene studied Thai Herbalism at Spirit Winds School of Thai Massage in Nevada City and recently attended a lecture given by Ajahn Supamas Kananurak at the Second Annual Traditional Thai Medicine & Massage Symposium organized by the Thai Institute of Healing Arts in Arlington, Virginia.

Students used authentic, handmade herbal compresses from Thailand which were purchased at Bua Thai Wellness Center in San Mateo.  Each cotton muslin sachet contained indigenous Thai herbs such as Siamese ginger, tamarind leaves, lemongrass, and kaffir lime peel, along with generous portions of camphor, borneol, sea salt, and turmeric.  (Note: For more information about the healing properties of Thai herbs, please see A Thai Herbal: Traditional Recipes for Health and Harmony by Dr. Pierce Salguero.)

The poultices were placed in a vegetable steamer to heat, which released the aromatherapy and medicinal properties of the herbs.  After testing the bundles on their forearm to ensure that they weren’t too hot for the client, the students addressed the Sen lines (energy pathways) of the back, softening the musculature, and encouraging the free flow of energy.  The combination of moist heat and compression was not only therapeutic, but also highly relaxing for the client.  Even Kristine and Darlene left the lab happy and calm from just being in the room with the herbs all morning!

To learn more about NHI’s curriculum including both Eastern and Western modalities, check out Our Curriculum Page.