I came to massage and energy work quite late in life. I was 38 at the time, living in London, with a regular job, but suffering stress and panic attacks without having any clear reason for doing so. On the advice of a friend, I took up yoga in order to reduce my stress levels and it was during a yoga holiday in Crete in 1999 that I discovered Thai massage when a wonderful French teacher, Alain Daligault was giving a taster workshop there.
On returning to London, I signed up for my first Thai massage beginner's course with Amy Ku Redler and Andrea Baglioni of the Metta College for Thai Massage.
Studying with Amy and Andrea then lead me to studying with their teacher, Asokananda and studying with Asokananda lead me to studying with his teacher, Chaiyuth Priyasith.
It was at this time that two very important things happened.
I received a massage treatment from Chaiyuth which was unlike any other massage I had ever received. Instead of performing on me the structured routine massage I had learnt with Amy, Andrea and Asokananda, Chaiyuth performed a massage of high-tempo body rocking and acupressure on my energy lines while I lay in supine for three hours. The effect was dramatic. During the treatment I shook, shivered, sweated, felt sick, freezing cold, heavy and completely drained of energy. I was completely lost by what had happened and so asked Chaiyuth for an explanation. In his usual masterful, humeorus way he explained: "before you closed, now you open".
No one had ever massaged me like that before and no Thai massage had ever made me react like that before. This was when I realised that Thai massage not only addresses the physical body, it also addresses the energy you store in your body: your subtle energy body.
With my interest in energy work piqued, through fate, I was introduced to a wonderful energy worker, Jasmine Vishnu, who lives just south of Chiang Mai. Over the following four winter seasons in Chiang Mai, I worked with Jasmine to explore the nature of subtle energy in all its forms, whether it be spiritual energy, mental energy, sexual energy, emotional energy, ancestral energy or karmic energy, discovering what effect each energy had in my body, such as the hardening effect of mental energy on the muscles and the contracting effect on the muscles of the colder emotional energies, such as fear or loneliness. I also felt for the first time the connection between physical hardness or contraction in the body and the emotional state you experience during certain important events in life, whether past or present. For example, the emotional experience of a cold childhood and its effect in the body of coldness, or contraction, in the tops of the hamstrings. I also discovered that the stress and panic attacks I suffered in London had their roots in unpleasant early childhood experiences which had been totally hidden from me by my parents.
Then, as I continued in my massage career, I discovered that an emotionally cold childhood not only lead to contracted hamstrings in my body, but that if any of my massage clients also suffered a cold childhood, it would lead to contracted hamstrings in their body too.
Over time, I realised that everyone carries the same physical effects of the same emotional experiences in the same parts of their body.
Now when I begin a session with a client, I not only treat their physical condition, but also the underlying emotional condition causing the physical condition. This leads to a deeper, longer-lasting result.
The understanding that our emotional and mental state, or the state of our subtle energy body, has profound effect on our physical body also shapes the workshops I give, which are now exclusively devoted to the effects of subtle energy on the body. Where and for how long this path takes me, I do not know, but what I do know is that for the time being, it is a most fascinating journey to be part of.
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