As predicted over ten years ago by the International Spa Association, Asian massage modalities and treatments have become the next big trend in the spa industry. The predication was never a surprise to Healing Hands School of Holistic Health’s (HHSHH) Founding Director, Ms. Paula Curtiss, who’s been including Asian massage modalities into the school’s massage training curriculum since its opening in 1992.
“Our mission has always been to preserve and enhance human health by providing quality education through a well-rounded curriculum,” said Paula. “These ancient Asian modalities and treatments have stood the test of time and earned their place among effective holistic health and healing practices. That’s why both our Programs – Massage Therapist and Holistic Health Practitioner – require students to take classes in both Eastern and Western massage modalities. Our aim is to assure students are exposed to a broad range of specialized skills and knowledge in the holistic healing arts,” she added.
The 80+ courses offered at HHSHH include Asian modalities such as TuiNa (Acupressure), Shiatsu, Ayurvedic Abhyanga, Udvartana, & Vishesh, Zen-Touch, Traditional Oriental Clinical Techniques, and Zen-Moves . The school’s most recent additions to their Asian curriculum include three popular Thai massage modalities; Traditional Thai Massage, Herbal Thai Massage and Thai Foot Massage.
The school’s Thai classes were added in 2012 after a former HHSHH Graduate and Guest Instructor, Ms. Claudia Baben, took an educational sabbatical to Chiang Mai, Thailand. There, Claudia learned these three dynamic massage modalities just as they had been taught for centuries. Upon her return, Claudia worked diligently with Paula to develop the curriculum to share her knowledge and skills with students at both the Escondido and Laguna Hills campuses.
Thai Massage is a form of body work that is practiced on a thick mat on the floor with the client wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothing,” explained Harmony Curtiss, Classroom Manager for HHSHH Laguna Hills location. “In Thai massage, the therapist uses hands, feet and knees to provide gentle, rhythmic compressions and yoga-like stretches to joints and muscles while stimulating the ten major energy lines in the body called ‘sen’. Though Traditional Thai Massage has been popular among many pro and amateur athletes for decades due to its invigorating effects on the body and mind, it is now gaining popularity as a highly beneficial modality for almost anyone. A well -executed Thai Massage will leave the client feeling physically energized, as well as mentally alert and refreshed. These benefits are a result of the techniques used to stretch muscles, increase range of motion of joints and clear the body’s energy pathways”, added Harmony.
In Claudia’s Traditional Thai Massage class, students study Thai massage theory and are introduced to the basic flow (progression) of a Traditional Thai Massage. The modality includes breath work, rhythmic rocking and progressively deeper stretches. Both client and therapist enter into a state of meditative relaxation. Thai Massage modalities positively affect he body’s internal organs and bodily functions. For example, regular recipients of Traditional Thai Massage may enjoy positive shifts in their metabolism and energy levels, emotional state/mood, mental clarity, digestive process and sleep patterns.
In Claudia’s Herbal Thai Massage class, students learn to make and integrate the use a Thai Herbal Ball (made from select herbs and essential oils) into their Thai massage practice. Benefits of this modality include all those mentioned above for Traditional Thai Massage plus detoxification, deep muscle relaxation, increased lymph flow and quicker repair of muscle tissue due to injury or strain.
In the Thai Foot Massage class, Claudia teaches students to deliver a reflexology foot massage that is a marriage between the ancient healing arts of Reflexology, Chinese Tui Na, Japanese Shiatsu and Indian Ayurvedic Yoga. Students learn how to apply pressure to specific areas of the soles of the feet. They learn to use hands, fingers, thumbs, knuckles, and a rounded wooden stick with lotion or oil to work the feet, lower legs and knees. As with other Thai modalities, a Thai Foot Massage frees up blocked energy within the body’s many energy (sen) lines to produce a deeply relaxed and unique feeling of balance, mental alertness, and well-being.
To learn more about our Thai Massage classes or any of the 80+ holistic health courses offered at HHSHH, please visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills, or (760)756-9364 in Escondido.