Sen are energetic pathways that form in the body through continuous use, much like well-worn forest paths that are created by wildlife traversing the same routes every day.
About Thai Structural Bodywork
Thai Structural Bodywork is a modality that re-aligns the body in gravity and reduces or eliminates pain from long-held chronic conditions, old injuries, and postural dysfunctions. It shares some common ground with Western-based practices such as Rolfing®, Structural Integration, Visceral Manipulation, and Neurovascular Mobilization in terms of its effects, while using a very different set of techniques to achieve its long-lasting results.
Thai work is done on a floor mat, and the client remains fully clothed throughout the session. It is a spiritual as well as physical practice rooted in Thai Buddhism and theories from Traditional Thai Medicine, an ancient art and science passed down through generations of monks, ascetics, and lay healing practitioners. Practitioners manipulate the body’s Sen, or energy lines, both superficial and deep, directly and indirectly, to effect positive changes throughout the body, mind, and spirit.
Examples of deep sen include the path air travels as we breathe in and out, as well as many other pathways relating to deeper functions of the body. Superficial sen are more accessible and include muscles, fascia, nerves, tendons, and ligaments—structures that link together to form lines of tension in the body, crossing multiple joints and forming the basis of our postural patterns. Joints can be conceptualized like roundabouts or junction points where the the energy from many different sen circulate (or stagnate) on their way to the next segment of their path. When soft tissues are re-aligned to accommodate better positioning of the joints, one can find more ease of movement and economy of motion in daily activities and athletic pursuits.
HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM ATSI & Structural Integration?
Thai Structural Bodywork emphasizes fascial differentiation between muscle groups and various subtle structures, allowing them to glide freely and function more independently. These methods can create tremendous positive changes in movement patterns and alignment in a very short time, but the work usually requires a day or so to begin to integrate after each session. The Thai system views the body from a perspective of balancing lines of tension along chains of fascial septa and neurovascular structures. Alternately, ATSI views the body predominantly in terms of balancing tension along planes or sheets of fascia, working within your current support system and neuromuscular movement patterns to make improvements and refine alignment.
For nerve, extremity, and neck issues: Deep differentiation of fascial septa and Thai peripheral nerve mobilization techniques are especially effective for treating the intricate patterns of misalignments that contribute to wrist pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow hyperextension, and a variety of upper extremity/neck issues. Lower body alignment issues, especially those considered relatively “hard to fix” by Western standards (pelvic inflare or torsions, various knee and ankle alignment issues, etc.) are also readily addressed with this style of work.
For back pain and SI joint issues: Oftentimes, adhesions in the fascial septa and peripheral nerve tracks in the lower body can be major contributors to persistent back pain, SI joint instability or pain, and various pelvic misalignment issues. Thai Structural Bodywork can address these factors efficiently via effective methods not often utilized in Western modalities.
Walk Through A Session...
Step 1 - Opening the Wind Gates
According to Traditional Thai Medicine theory, Lom, or wind, can stagnate in certain key areas of the body when posture is misaligned. By increasing circulation to these points prior to deep bodywork, results will last longer and be more effective.
Step 2 - Clearing the Channels
Myofascial restrictions are released to improve blood flow, muscle, and nerve function. The practitioner uses hands, feet, knees, and elbows depending on the depth of each technique.
Step 3 - Treating the Sen
Detail work, using deep thumb pressure, re-organizes and re-aligns soft tissues to decompress joints, promote better posture, and decrease pain in the body.
Step 4 - MOVEMENT Integration
Stretches and exercises, both assisted and active, are utilized to bring awareness and conscious control to the positive changes that have occurred in the body over the course of the session.
In addition to Thai Structural Bodywork, we also offer ATSI Structural Integration series based on the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf and the conceptual framework of Anatomy Trains myofascial meridians created by Tom Myers. Although similar in overall results, the Thai and Western systems each have different areas in which they excel. Work from one or both modalities, depending on one’s needs, may be beneficial.