About Thai Bodywork
Touch is an integral part of our everyday life, yet how often to we take a moment to connect with it, our body, and our mind? It is a key element in our health, but in the fast-paced society we live in, we often lose touch with our mind and body, making it difficult to be present with our self and with others.
Thai Bodywork (sometimes called Thai Yoga Massage or Thai Massage) is a healing practice that is distinguished by its inherent life force. Between the practitioner and the receiver, a beautiful exchange of energies takes place as if in a dance. The experience is unlike any other massage modality, as it incorporates yoga-like movements and stretches while the practitioner simultaneously applies direct pressure to your muscles. The sessions are therapeutic, wherein the practitioner cultivates unconditional loving touch (metta) with each receiver – this creates a safe space and a sacred container for deep healing to occur and for a meditative state to be reached. The results of the session are both immediate and long lasting.
Thai Bodywork is an ancient holistic bodywork modality, said to pre-date Buddha, rooted in the belief that all true healing comes from within. The session includes acupressure, muscle compression, joint mobilization, assisted yoga postures, energy work, and breath work to treat the body on both a physical and energetic level. Thai medicine is similar to Chinese medicine, focusing on the flow of energy through the body’s sen lines (or meridians). To promote the flow of energy through your sen, the practitioner applies direct or rhythmic pressure to your muscles, listening for the body’s reaction to pressure and its limits. Ultimately, our aim is to move stagnant energies and heal blockages so that the receiver may feel released of both physical and mental tension to increase their well-being and mind-body connection.
What sets a Thai Bodywork session apart from other bodywork modalities is that the receiver lays fully clothed on a well-padded mat on the floor. Without any lotions or oils, the practitioner uses only their hands, forearms, elbows, knees, and feet to move your joints through their ranges of motion, stretch your muscles, and apply direct massaging pressure. In one session you may be lying on your belly, on your back, on your side, or even sitting upright. True Thai massage treats the entire body, and this is why longer 90-minute sessions are the standard length. The practice is not recommended for pregnant women in the final stages of pregnancy, nor for people with serious circulatory problems, recent surgeries, or other serious injuries – be sure to communicate this with your practitioner.
In one Thai Bodywork session you will receive the same benefits of yoga, massage, and energy work all together. This may mean you could experience an increase in range of motion and flexibility, inner organ massage and fluid mobility, blood oxygenation, increased energy, stress reduction, increased circulation, and a centering of the mind and body. By aligning the energies of the body, one will leave the session feeling relaxed, stretched, and nurtured.
Jess Crutchfield’s natural leadership, confident yet soft voice, and expertise of music and the body make her an exceptional teacher of yoga. With a background in instrumental music education, she now is known for her skillful presence as a teacher of Yoga in the classrooms of studios, workplaces, and public schools, and especially for playing the harmonium during mantra and meditation in her classes. She is a devoted daily practitioner of yoga and has completed a 200hr Hatha Raja yoga teacher training of the Sri Dharma Mittra lineage under Gabrielle Sulc, has studied extensively with her gurus and mentors Martha McAlpine and Kia Miller, and is registered with Yoga Alliance. Jess currently teaches Hatha yoga and Kriya Yoga in a few regular studios, children’s yoga classes and parties, and Thai Bodywork workshops and series classes in and around Baltimore.
Her dedicated focus is to educate others by raising awareness of the self from the inside-out, through creating classes and workshops for students, teachers, and practitioners of all kinds seeking this deeper connection. This commitment to bringing healing and awareness to the world is supported by Jess’s encouragement of her students to align with their body and mind through conscious breath both on, and off the mat.
“The body has an incredible, innate capacity to heal itself, if only given the chance.”
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