Traditional Thai Therapies
We specialize in traditional Thai bodywork and therapies for neurological and neuromuscular conditions, providing therapy for a range of conditions including multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's (PD), ALS and cerebral palsy as well as for pain management, paralysis and injury recovery. No oil or lotion is used and clients remain comfortably clothed, making this versatile modality accessible to all: elderly, young, active or frail can benefit.
Thai bodywork (Nuad Borarn) is a comprehensive, in-depth therapy based in the ancient Thai medicine tradition. Thai medicine views the body and person as an interconnected whole—individual symptoms are not treated as isolated issues. If a person is paralyzed from the waist down, it is not assumed that the lower body is no longer important, or that a lack of sensation warrants treating solely the upper body. It is quite possible that someone with chronic, persistent pain may have unresolved physical injuries, however this may also be tied to PTSD for a veteran, anxiety and stress for an overworked mother, or be neurogenic or phantom pain. Gastrointestinal issues, lymphedema, and fibrosis may all be interconnected, or may be manifestations of an underlying condition.
We keep the traditional, whole-person approach in our Thai therapy sessions, as well as providing comprehensive, extended therapy programs. All sessions are offered at the client's location in Bloomington Indiana.
Who Can Benefit from Thai Bodywork?
Thai bodywork addresses soft tissue (muscle), connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, fascia), viscera (stomach, diaphragm, digestive tract) as well as structural and skeletal elements (joints, neck, spine). Muscle manipulation, myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, acupressure, joint mobilization, passive range of motion and therapeutic stretching are all components of a comprehensive therapy session. Traditional Thai herbal compresses are used throughout each session to increase circulation and ease chronic pain in joints and stiff or atrophied muscles, as well as being a primary component in relieving congestion and easing breathing in those with pulmonary conditions such as COPD.
Therapy for Neurological Conditions
Specialized therapy and bodywork for multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's (PD), cerebral palsy (CP), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), paralysis, post-polio and other neurological conditions and neuromuscular disorders has been our primary focus for twenty years. Chronic pain, joint contracture, muscle spasticity and weakness, tremors, as well as neuropathies experienced by those with neurological and neuromuscular conditions are often non-responsive to conventional treatments and physical therapies as the causative is not a 'known target' such as a specific injury, muscle strain, or structural misalignment. Overworking the body or using inappropriate methods can be detrimental rather than beneficial to those with neurological conditions: sessions are adapted to the individual, their current circumstance and medical history, as well as that day's indications. For ease and accessibility, we provide in-home therapy in Bloomington IN and the surrounding area.
Chronic Pain Management
A meta-analysis on the efficacy of traditional Thai bodywork for the treatment of chronic pain found pre- to post-treatment pain reductions up to 80%, also associated with improvements in disability, perceived muscle tension, flexibility and anxiety. We specialize in therapeutic bodywork for neurological conditions, helping to ease chronic pain resulting from immobility, spasticity, rigidity, and atrophy.
Thai bodywork is beneficial in managing back pain originating from injury, post-surgical scar tissue, scoliosis, or strained muscles and ligaments due to gait imbalances, professional occupations and overuse. Back pain frequently originates from areas other than the back itself: Simply focusing on the back is ineffective and may actually cause protective tightening of the muscles and sensitize the nerves if the pain is due to injury or surgery. Thai bodywork provides the practitioner with a multifaceted 'toolbox' when treating back pain, including steamed herbal compresses to warm and loosen muscles. Therapeutic Thai bodywork—in conjunction with mindful self-care and lifestyle—can reduce the occurrence of repetitive strain injuries, chronic pain, and overuse syndromes experienced by occupational professionals: focal dystonia, carpal tunnel, cervical spine issues, overload syndromes, compartment syndrome, frozen shoulder.
Neuromuscular Therapy & Neurodynamics
Neuropathy, Paresthesia, Phantom Pain
Nerve Entrapment, Fascial Adhesions, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Whiplash
Range of Motion
Passive range of motion, gentle joint mobilization
Joint contracture, spasticity, severe scarring, paralysis
Lymphatic Drainage & Visceral Manipulation
Lymphatic Drainage: Lymphedema, poor circulation, side-effects of cancer treatment, diabetes
Visceral Manipulation: Visceral impaction, neurogenic bowel, fibrosis, endometriosis
Traditional Thai Medicine
A note on historical accuracy and respect for cultural heritage: Thai Yoga Therapy or Thai Yoga Massage are often used to describe Thai bodywork. These terms are historically inaccurate and do not recognize that Nuad Borarn is a uniquely Thai tradition and is not related to the practice of yoga or Yoga Therapy. These terms contribute to misinformation and confusion over historical provenance, creating ambiguity and loss of cultural authenticity. UNESCO has added Nuad Thai / Nuad Boran to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity—recognizing it as an important part of the world's living heritage to be preserved for future generations. UNESCO is the United Nations' agency for education, culture, and science.
Therapeutic bodywork is an integral part of traditional Thai Medicine. This ancient tradition (Nuad Borarn) has been in practice for over 2,000 years and is still practiced throughout Thailand: recognized and respected for its therapeutic benefits, it is estimated that over 6,000 Thai medical facilities incorporate Thai bodywork and medicine into their treatment of patients. The services provided at the clinics include traditional Thai bodywork for paralysis, stroke and TBI rehabilitation, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, cerebral palsy, and passive range of motion. Inflammation, pain, and scar tissue are addressed with herbal steaming and hot compresses, and comprehensive therapy for women's health and recovery after childbirth are an inherent part of Thai medicine and bodywork.
Our therapy sessions are based on treatment characteristics of the northern Lanna-Thai tradition as well as drawing upon diverse methods used throughout Thailand. Thai bodywork can be exceedingly gentle—such as using only herbal compresses during chemotherapy or during an MS flair-up—or intensely focused, providing deep structural therapy using elbows, knees, feet if appropriate. However, we do not subscribe to the 'more is better' theory and will always approach a therapy session with a less-is-more outlook. The current, widespread, and modern emphasis on acrobatics and a rather callisthenic practice are counter to the Thai medicine tradition of reflective healing.
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Thai Herbal Therapy
All ingredients in our traditional Thai herbal compresses are fresh and sun-dried (not artificially dehydrated) and therefore retain their properties. Free of aromatherapy oils and synthetic fragrances, yet vibrantly brisk and fresh when steamed, these warm compresses are part of the Thai healing tradition and are composed of freshly dried herbs sourced directly from northern Thailand. One of the most recognizable and traditional herbs used in Thai medicine is eucalyptus (shown here). It can be found as a cultivated source, or growing as massisve trees in the northern natural areas of Thailand. Luk Pra Kob are used on stiff joints, to soften adhesions, clear the lungs, increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and ease chronic pain.