Kanchana is from Thailand and her treatments come from an ancient culture of healing and rejuvenating practices that are very rare to be found in the UK.
Her upbringing in Buddhist culture and philosophy naturally led her to become a practicing Buddhist and so she studied at the famous Wat Po Temple which is known as the Temple of the reclining Buddha in Thailand.
A Wat is a Buddhist sacred place or temple and “Po” refers to the Bodhi Tree which Buddha sat under the night he became enlightened. The tree is a symbol of peace, and a reminder of Buddha’s Enlightenment and the ultimate potential that lies within us all.
What’s different about Wat Po Thai Massage and other therapies?
Kanchana’s treatments differ from other massage therapies in that she has to be in a state of active meditation (relaxation) when she massages her clients so to transmit a feeling of happiness onto them. Before Kanchana massages her clients she will send them blessings wishing them well. True Thai Massage is, "the practical expression of loving kindness", and can be traced through Thailand's history to the “Diamond Healing” lineage originally from Tibet. It requires the practitioner to empty their mind, feel compassion in their heart and transmit relaxation through their hands. It is not an erotic or sexual service that some people in the West mistaken it to be.
Thai massage is based on the theory that we have 10 major life energy lines, known as “sen” running through our bodies. To balance energy and release blockages Kanchana uses her palms, fingers, elbows, forearms, knees and feet to perform stretches and pressure point massage along these 10 lines, pulling, pressing, lifting and loosening muscles and joints. The treatment can release emotional and mental blockages as well as those you may have on a physical and energetic level. To have a holistic treatment which includes a foot massage, it’s recommended to book at least an hour and a half treatment.
Kanchana also practices oil massage which is similar to western massage in that it is softer than traditional Thai massage but it does not have roots in Buddhist culture or history.
What to expect
The massage is done on a wide mat, low on the floor. You will be given traditional Thai fisherman’s trousers to wear which are comfortable, light and loose fitting. For the top half of the body it’s recommended you wear either loose fitting clothing like a T-Shirt or nothing at all. Sometimes “tiger balm” may be applied to the body which is a combination of healing herbs used to treat sprains and painful or rheumatic joints. The massage itself can be harder than other types of massage and can sometimes be slightly painful depending on your condition, although it is nothing like a sports massage. The more one relaxes into it, the more effective and enjoyable the massage will be, leaving you feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and revitalized. The full benefits are often felt the next day after a good night’s sleep.
History of Thai Massage
Thai massage is a Buddhist form of physiotherapy, and is said to have developed between 2,000-2,500 years ago by the physician to the Buddha, Shivago Komarpaj (as he is known in Thailand). Shivago is affectionately referred to as the "Father Doctor". He is credited with spreading the practice of massage to the Thai Sangha or monastic community as a way to soothe the muscles and ease body pain experienced by Theravadin monks after long hours of practicing meditation.
The monks and nuns cherished the teachings of Shivago called 'nuat phaen boran thai', which literally means 'the old Thai way of healing with the hands'. They preserved the teachings, passing them down from one generation to the next in the form of an oral tradition. Each master in turn would personally transmit and pass on the lineage and knowledge to the next generation in a ceremony. Thousands of years later with some of the original scriptures remaining intact, and with the help of the monks, King Rama III commissioned carvings of them to be made and mounted onto the walls of the Wat Po temple in Bangkok, which was founded in 1788 as Thailand’s first university. At the temple today you’ll find life-size figurines of devotees practicing yoga poses and massage shapes.
These remarkable teachings aiding restoration and maintenance of life have now been passed to this generation and Kanchana is keeping this culture alive in the UK.