Mac (Terdchai Chumphoopong)

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This week, I had the pleasure of visiting Mac at his new school.

Situated on the outskirts of East Chiang Mai, the school is in a traditional walled complex which also contains Mac’s house, a student guesthouse with its own kitchen, and tents on bamboo platforms scattered beneath the fruit trees.  The space is beautiful and peaceful, and provides a wonderful platform to immerse yourself into the practice of Thai Massage.

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IMG_0162Thai Massage is a family tradition for Mac, with his mother and grandparents practicing the healing arts of massage and herbal medicine.  Mac has been teaching massage from a young age, and opened his first school in 1999.  After some years absence from Thailand, he recently returned to put his energy towards building a school to teach his style of Thai Massage.

IMG_0161Mac teaches Thai Massage as a three week course.  All students, no matter how experienced, start learning from Mac as beginners with open minds, and he then tailors his teaching to suit the student as they progress.  After the basic three week course is completed, there is a course in Thai acupressure and herbal therapy.

There are rooms and tents available to rent.  This gives students access to practice massage in the school outside teaching hours.  It is a good time to learn from Mac as currently class sizes are small.

It is early days for Mac’s school and complex, and he has plans to add more accommodation and plant more trees.

For more information about Mac and his school, visit http://www.art-of-thai-massage.com

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Ralf Marzen

 

 

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Thierry Bienfaisant

 

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Some thoughts on the Pelvis

PELVIC ANATOMY

The “true” or “lesser” pelvis lies between the pelvic inlet and the pelvic floor and houses the reproductive organs, the urinary bladder, the sigmoid colon and rectum.

 

 

 

 

 

The pelvic inlet is protected by the “greater” pelvis or wings of the ilia, which also hold the ascending and descending colon, so our best access to this area is via the pelvic floor, or via the area superior to the pubic bone and symphesis.

The pelvic floor lines the pelvic outlet and is a muscular partition consisting of the levator ani and coccygeus muscle.  The pelvic diaphragm act as a sling, holding viscera  in place.  We have probably all heard about the importance of pelvic floor exercises in order to maintain pelvic health.  However, sometimes it is impossible for some people to engage their pelvic floor either because they have no awareness and control of these muscles, or because the muscles are already chronically tight bilaterally or unilaterally.  The pelvic diaphragm is the base of our “core muscles” (along with the respiratory diaphragm, transverse abdominus and multifidus), so inability to engage the pelvic floor fully may affect lumbar stability and breathing patterns.

The Levator Ani muscle (which when combined with the coccygeus muscle forms the pelvic diaphragm) can have a profound effect on the local area if  it becomes imbalanced.  The Levator Ani is suspended like a hammock from the fascia of another muscle: the Obturator Internus.  Therefore one way to help find balance is to assess for a tightened and restricted obturator internus.  This can be accessed at the base of the thigh, and once you have found it, you can slowly sink into the deeper layers of pelvic floor muscles.  Encouraging your client to gently activate this muscle also can help it release.

Tension in these muscles may cause pelvic torsion/imbalance and may also compress the Pudendal Nerve causing chronic pain, incontinence, genital numbness, and inability to orgasm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MALE VS FEMALE

THE UTERUS

Perhaps improving mobility and motility of the uterus and blood supply will promote circulation, reduce inflammation, and improve local movement.

UTERINE ANATOMY

The uterus keeps its position suspended in the pelvic cavity by being hung from it’s ligaments.  Releasing restrictions of the fascia around these ligaments allows motility to the uterus and may help relieve pain and dysfunction to the area.  The main ligaments are the suspensory ligament (which is also important also brings blood to the ovaries), broad ligament, round ligament, cardinal ligament and uterosacral ligament.  Also, looking for blockages in the blood supply to the area is very important to help rebalance this crucial area.

DIET

Diet is extremely important in order to maintain a healthy pelvic cavity.

The first important problem to counter is inflammation – a byproduct of muscle fibre trauma. Inflammatory mediators are released into the area resulting increased sensitization to pain.  While it is possible to take pharmaceutical drugs, there are also dietary measures you can take to support this, as Hippocrates said “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food”.

  • Turmeric can suppress expression of COX-2.
  • Nutmeg inhibits TNF-α.
  • Phenolic compounds in olive oil have antioxidant compounds, anti inflammatory properties, prevent hypoperoxidation, induce favourable changes of lipid profile, improve endothelial function and have antithrombotic properties – studies suggesting that 50m (3.5 tblsp) has the same effect as 200mg of ibuprofen.
  • Weight loss itself is an effective anti-inflammatory strategy.

For endometriosis, oxidative stress can be improved by intake of antioxidant compounds.   Antioxidant containing foods also help counter inflammation.

  • helpful anti-inflammatories: Resveratrol, Carvacrol, pomegranate and blueberry extract,  bromelain, and green tea.
  • omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  The main sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseed oil, walnut oil, krill oil and oily fish.  They also can be found in green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, hempseed.  It seems that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is crucial, and intake should probably be around 4:1.  High intake of trans fats are associated with increased levels endometriosis.
  • Vitamin D deficiency was noted to be prevalent with women with pelvic disorders.

Most of this info is from “Chronic Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction” by Leon Chaitow and Ruth Lovegrove Jones.

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I would like to try this massage.

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A Story of Healing

When my mother was a little girl, perhaps 8 years old, she and her brother were playing on a piece of land by the water.  They called it their “island” and drove in stakes scrawled with warning signs “Trespassers will be prosecuted”.  They claimed the land for themselves and went charging up and down the riverbank.

But someone else was already there.  Somebody who really did own the land.  And he was watching them.

This was the shell of man, a war wounded soldier returned from the trenches of the first world war.  Civilization, when he had returned to it, was all too much for him.  So he had sold his house, but kept the end half of the garden.  And here he had dug himself a trench.  Lined it with plywood.  And decided to live there.  Right down in the depths of the earth.

He had been living in solitude in his trench until these two little children came down and unwittingly claimed his land.  And for days, he simply watched them playing their games.

Over the coming months, they gradually befriended each other.  They would spend hours playing together, the war veteran enthusiastically playing “horsey” for the kids, and making them cups of tea in his trench, he adored them and would do anything for them.  They always begged him to come over to their house for tea, he was, after all their great friend and ally.

And eventually, after months of persuasion, he finally agreed to come over to their house for tea.  This was a momentus occasion, even my mother as a young child recognized these first steps to re-engage with the world.

Eventually he got his foothold back in society, and got a job in a crew building roads.  The kids moved frequently, every year or so, but he managed to stay in touch, coming to visit every couple of years to wherever they might be.  The last time my mother remembers seeing him, she had just started university.

When my mother told me this story, it struck me as a horrific yet beautiful tale.  It made me wonder, do we have patience today for damaged people in our midst?  Would mothers today let their children play with fully grown men who unable to engage with the world?  What would you do if your children brought home a dirty bedraggled man who lived in a hole for tea?

Trench warfare had scarred this poor man, but given time, and fresh nonjudgmental playmates, he was able to let go of the nightmare.

For Lent this year, I pledge to meet everybody with the same clear gaze, and perhaps play a little.

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This Teacher Rocks!

Felicity Keebaugh

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