Hands Free Thai Yoga Massage Saves Hands

Hands Free Thai Yoga Massage Saves hands!

SomaVeda® Hands Free/ No Hands Thai Yoga

By Anthony B. James DNM(P), ND(T), MD(AM), DPHC(h.c.), DOM, RAAP, SMOKH Academic Dean SomaVeda College of Natural Medicine and Thai Yoga Center (SCNM).

Hands Free Thai Yoga saves hands!

Hands Free Thai Yoga Saves Hands!  SomaVeda Integrated Traditional Therapies® offers several specialties which are intended to broaden the possibilities of practicing. The SomaVeda® Hands Free/ No Hands Thai Yoga is one set of these. SomaVeda Integrated Traditional Therapies® offers several specialties which are intended to broaden the possibilities of practicing.

When you consider the ten thousand different Thai Yoga techniques contained in the system that there are so many which do not directly involve using the hands that you could do entire sessions and practically never have to use your hands! This opens up a whole realm of possibilities both for SomaVeda® practitioners and their clients. Massage Therapy although potentially helpful for the client is risky for the therapist. Massage Therapist develop a whole range of disabling conditions which range from simply painful to down right disabling. Examples of common disabling conditions according to the AMTA (1) (American Massage Therapy Association) are hand and arm and neck issues such as Saddle Joint deterioration and inflammation, Tenosynovitus(2) ( inflammation of the fluid-filled sheath (called the synovium) that surrounds a tendon.), Carpal Tunnel Syndrome(3), Medial Epicondylitus(4) (Golfers Elbow), Lateral Epicondylitus (Tennis Elbow)(5), Postural Neck Strain(6) (Cervical spondylitis), Shoulder Strain, Low Back Pain, Emotional Problems due to lack of clear boundries,

Why do well meaning and professionally trained massage therapist and other modalities using similar methodologies commonly develop these types of disabling conditions as a direct result of their “healing” work? First of all Massage Therapy as it is currently practiced primarily in the US is a new and developing profession and industry. As a new healing discipline and practice it is subject to the foibles and limitations of all new disciplines. Barley in practice a hundred years old and only practiced by more than a hand full in recent times, it did not exist as a profession legally at all until the late eighties. The problems are two fold. 1) The primary use of a massage table and 2) Over use of the hands and arms to create mechanical pressure.

Lets look at #1 The therapist works on a client on a table. The therapist works around the perimeter of the table. The Table defines the angles and postures the therapist uses while bringing pressure to bear on the client.  Because the therapist is working “off center” and at great mechanical disadvantage they must lean and bend over to bring pressure to bear. This constant leaning over the table ( unavoidable) and absence of leverage is the original origin of the degenerative and disabling conditions plaguing massage therapist.

When we consider #2 we think that the over use of hands and arms is a direct result of the loss or lacking of mechanical advantage that using a massage table inevitably causes. Only the mechanical strength can overcome the lack of pressure which leverage and gravity could create. The end result is a lot of squeezing, poking, grabbing with the fingers and then over leverage of the nearest major joints in the wrist, elbow and shoulder which then transfer stress and pressure to the back and neck!

This has to occur as a simple engineering issue. The physics of conventional table use and force being primarily applied with the hands and fingers demonstrate how inefficient the practice is. Based on overall conditioning and physical fitness there will be a wide variety of conditions developing and in what period of time. Factors such as how long in practice and how many sessions including how much “Deep Pressure”  and or “Deep Tissue” is used will determine the rate of deterioration suffered.

Please note that I am not recommending to quit using massage therapy technique entirely! I am recommending that MT’s and similar avoid using the standard table based techniques and thumb pressure as primary tools and add a variety of bio-mechanically efficient alternatives to their practice to reduce injury and disability from poor body mechanics and repetitive stress issues.

We have good role models

In system based on Traditional Thai Medicine and Traditional Thai Massage we have very good role models demonstrating our ancient healing methods. Consider our primary schools have been practicing and teaching for over 1000 years, existing to the present day. It is not unusual to meet practitioners in their sixties, seventies and eighties who have been in practice for fifty, sixty years with virtually no occupational disorders resulting from their practice. Additionally, our experience is that Thai Yoga practitioners actually gain health and vitality as a direct result over time from the practice it’s self! Our traditions say that a healing practice should be equally healthy for the therapist and practitioner as for the patient/ client. My 35 plus years of practice have born this truth out.

The answer to the issue presented by the table first of all is to stop using the massage table as the primary tool! Second is to stop using the hands as the primary method of bringing energy or pressure to bear on the client.

How to do this? Simple, Start emphasizing the hands and start walking!

The first thing that happens when you start walking to create pressure is you are now in a natural posture and the first mechanical exercise (second to crawling) ever learned as a human being. We are designed to walk upright and for days. We are designed to carry weight while walking and to walk with little or no waste of energy.

Consider this… What do you weigh? Now visualize that weight… say 150 to 200lbs! How hard would you have to squeeze your hands or lever your wrist and arm to create even a fraction of that static weight. How much effort would it take to maintain or repeat that pressure repetitively? Now consider that if the object you were compressing was sitting under your feet or foot that you would be creating that pressure with little to NO effort… as your simply standing! In essence that’s it. Passive generation of compression due to positioning and posture is the most efficient way to bring pressure to bear. We call it in SomaVeda® Thai Yoga “Finess Principle” the art of creating the most therapeutic result with the least energy!

One of the SomaVeda® specialties we have been offering for over 30 years the SomaVeda® Hands Free Thai Yoga has become very popular in the in Massage and Bodywork Community. Hands Free/ No Hands Thai Yoga emphasis the traditional Thai Massage core values of working on the whole person with the whole person. Using a conventional orthopedic walker to support the body allowing us to walk safely and comfortably on the client. Great tool for large and or obese clients and or muscular clients who are other wise difficult to work with.

SomaVeda® Thai Yoga Hands Free therapy allows the therapist to reduce their own hand and arm stress, using their feet in an ergonomically efficient way to do the therapy.

For larger and or more bulky clients and if the balance and control while walking of the therapist is not perfect, we use a device to assist us in walking on the client. We use an orthopedic walker! Designed to assist elderly and injured patients to have the mobility that walking offers. Walkers are ergonomically designed to support walking motion in a safe manner. Perfect positioning of the hands under the shoulders where they belong to safely support the body weight.

No “over the head” arm positions for walking Thai Yoga! There are some advocates of using suspension systems where the therapist is precariously balanced on top of a massage table while literally hanging like a monkey from bars or rails. Problem is we are not monkeys! We are not mechanically and or structurally designed to hang from our arms for more than a minute or two. Unlike monkeys our shoulder girdle does not fully articulate and when suspending the body weight from the over head railing we compress the brachial plexus cutting off both nerve and vital fluid circulation while hyper mobilizing and partially dislocating the shoulder as well. Not to mention that as fatigue sets in, and it will, that the therapist is balancing on a client on top of a table! Again, both the insistence on using a table and the improper or inefficient use of body mechanics leads to issues. I will say this for the “over head ” hanging therapist… at least they have the right idea as to placing the weight over the client to create force! Problem is in the least mechanical, most risky and expensive way imaginable! Did I say expensive? Recent I have seem suspension systems for walking on clients go from $2500.00 to over $6,000.00! How much does an Orthopedic Walker cost? New ones from $100.00 to $200.00 and used ones at the thrift store from $1.00 to $20.00.

Hands Free Thai Yoga Massage saves hands!

Hands Free/ No Hands techniques are taught to all students in the 200 Hr. SomaVeda® Thai Yoga Practitioner Certificate class held at the US National Home for Traditional Thai Massage based healing arts, The Thai Yoga Center in Brooksville, Florida.  End hand injury, hand pain and stress now. Learn SomaVeda® Thai Yoga, Hands Free Thai Yoga Saves Hands. www.ThaiYogaCenter.Com


(1) Don’t Get Sidelined: https://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/2593

(2) Tenosynovitus: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001242.htm

(3) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: https://vsearch.nlm.nih.gov/vivisimo/cgi-bin/query-meta?v%3Aproject=medlineplus&v%3Asources=medlineplus-bundle&query=carpal+tunnel+syndrome

(4) Medial Epicondylitus (Golfers Elbow): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golfer’s_elbow

(5) Lateral Epicondylitus (Tennis Elbow): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis_elbow

(6) Postural Neck Strain: http://www.spondylitis.org/Learn-About-Spondyloarthritis/Exercise-Posture#.Vd8XG5ftpgg

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