Assisted Stretching Postures from Thai Massage
Thai Massage is an ancient healing system. In Thailand, Thai Massage has been practiced and taught in Buddhist monasteries. It has also been a family tradition handed down from one generation to the next. Thailand is a crossroads for healing information, including Yoga from India and Acupressure from China. Traditional Thai Massage combines assisted yoga stretching postures with a unique and specific system of acupressure.
Dr. Clay teaches the assisted yoga postures from Thai Massage and two stretches he developed, which are the Hip Joint Capsule Stretch and the Occiput/Atlas Connective Tissue Stretch. Although he has studied the traditional Thai Massage acupressure in depth and found it useful, and very time consuming. He does not often use the acupressure point therapy, and does not teach it.
When doing Assisted Yoga, a deep knowledge of anatomy is not necessary, although it is very beneficial. Most Thai Massage practitioners in Thailand have not studied human anatomy. In Thailand Assisted Yoga is usually preformed on a floor mat with the client fully clothed.
Since the 1980’s, Yoga’s popularity in the west has grown exponentially. Many people understand the benefits of practicing Yoga. Explaining “Assisted Yoga” to them is easy! It is Yoga with help. The client is passive while the Assisted Yoga practitioner is active. The client gets flexible while the therapist gets strong. It is sometimes referred to as “a lazy person’s Yoga”. Presently, assisted stretching is practiced most by Massage Therapists, Physical Trainers, Physical Therapists, Yoga Instructors and a few Chiropractors and Osteopaths. I believe that one day lay people will also practice assisted stretching facilitating flexibility, health, and stress relief for family members, friends and coworkers.
Hallmarks of Assisted Yoga are energy balancing, and muscle, tendon, ligament, fascia and joint stretching at its best! Our blood vessels, lymphatic channels, cerebral spinal spaces and nerves all travel through and are supported by our connective tissue. Connective tissue stretching causes increase circulation of blood, lymph and cerebral spinal fluid, facilitating the removal of cellular waste products and enhancing delivery of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues. It also helps balance and align the musculoskeletal system and facilitates nerve com, and gait. Assisted Yoga helps relieve tension and pain, and facilitates clarity, emotional fortitude, and a propensity towards happiness!
Our older generation first began learning about weight training in the 1950’s. They did not learn about flexibility training. So like generations before them, they are now old and stiff. It is never too late to improve your flexibility unless you have rigormortis. Dr. Clay has a segment of his clienttele who are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s who come in regularly and use Assisted Yoga as their regular yoga class.
Dr. Clay has condensed Thai Massage On The Floor into a 12 hour course including his best 25 postures taught on the floor and best 23 postures taught on the massage table. Photo gallery below is from 2007. Photography by Larry Ciccarello.