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SOTHA

School of Thai Healing Arts

Nuad Bo Ruan (lit: Ancient manual healing) is the traditional practice of acupressure, joint mobilisation and stretching practiced in Thailand. There are 2 main styles, Rajasamnak The Royal Style, and Cheloysiak The popular style .

Rajasamnak is the style reserved for the nobility and ruling class, it has a strictly medical curative scope and involves applying acupressure to specific points on the body to relieve pain. The practitioner adopts a very deferential posture to the client, approaching on thier knees and applying the acupressure with as little contact as possible. The practice is rigidly codified and ritualistic. Rajasamnak is little known outside Thailand.

Cheloysiak is the style popularised as Thai Yoga Massage, involving pressure with the palms, thumbs, elbows, knees, feet and activities such as pressing, pulling, grasping, stretching, twisting and placing the receiver's body in positions resembling the postures of Hatha Yoga.  There is no difference in kind between the giver and the receiver . Cheloysiak is open and individual, has many variations in style and sequence. It is both rational and intuitive, curative and preventive, a science and an art, widely practiced in Thailand in the home, monasteries, massage clinics and even street markets.  Cheloysiak itself is divided into 2 main groups, the "southern" style originating in the famous monastery and teaching center of Wat Po in Bangkok, and the "northern"  grouped around the various schools and teachers in Chiang mai. However, from village to village, from one practitioner to another, it is full of variety and interpretation. It is Cheloysiak which has gained such a strong following in the west, and that is the style we teach.

Cheloysiak works on 3 levels: Physical, Emotional and Energetic

Physical: the practitoner uses  a large range of techniques to cause physiological changes in the body, often involving pressure applied with the thumbs or palms, combined with joint mobilisation and passive assisted stretching , to decongest stagnant blood, ease restrictions in the fascia and influence muscle length and tone. This is called unblocking energy "Lom" in Thai. The practitioner uses his experience , sense experience (palpation) and intuition to locate and treat areas of restriction. He does not follow any "map" or adhere to a therapeutic protocol which would interfere with his experience of the present time and place.

Some times the massage can be strong, sometimes not, it depends on the style which the practitioner uses and the scope of the treatment, at this level the practitioner feels with his hands to understand the flow of Lom within the body, it is an aquired skill.

Emotional:  Nuad is sometimes called "massage with two hands and a heart" , before the treatment the parctitioner says a prayer for the wellbeing of the client the WAI Khru, Nuad is an expression of the Theravada Bhuddhist concept of Mettą or loving kindness. Thus the giver seeks to act within a loving context.  Nuad is also refered to as "massage of a thousand waves", as the gentle rocking motion of the giver acts on the nervous system like the waves on the shore, or the gentle cradling of the infant by the mother. These aspects of Nuad act to create a soothing and relaxing effect, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. At this level the practitoner acts with a clear intention for the welbeing of the receiver. 

Energetic: the practitioner who acts with love, secure in their connection to their own heart, produces a strong electromagnetic field, which is able to influence the energetic field of the reciever. The coherent rythms of the practitioner's energetic system influence the rythms of the receiver through a phenomenon called entrainment, wherby more ordered systems positively influence weaker and disordered ones (this may be one explanation of why certain people make us feel better just by their presence). This process of entrainment can effect all systems in the body, including  thoughts. Of course it depends on the practitioner having an ordered coherent energetic system, which is why it is important to practice some kind of meditation, preferably heart centered. At this level the practitioner works directly with his intuition, or heart wisdom.