As my practice in treatment-driven Thai bodywork continues to develop, so does my herbal toolkit. Though each item in my toolkit is useful, I use a few almost every day.
I just finished frying several different herbs in oil to make warming Thai massage balm—item A in the image above. This is a traditional preparation on which Tiger Balm and others are based. My partner uses this as part of his martial arts training to help stay sharp and injury free.
Penetrating through the layers, the warming balm helps the tissue open to technique so that the deeper body can be accessed with more ease. The warmth is relaxing and cozy; the smell is enjoyable; and the consistency allows it to soak in, not just sit atop the skin.
Almost as frequently as the warming balm, I reach for the wind calming liniment: item M in the image above. So many people come into my studio overstimulated and sedentary, life leaving them stressed and anxious.
Mildly warming and aromatic, the wind calming liniment helps to calm the subtle winds, the winds of thought and emotion. Calming the subtle winds helps connect the mind to the body. My clients and I love it because it is a time-tested and traditional solution to a problem we all have.
(One tool I use in almost every session, not pictured above, is hot Thai herbal compresses, which I will talk about in another post soon.)
Here’s a list of the rest of what’s in my kit:
A – warming Thai massage balm
B – injury massage oil
C – plai cream
D – plai and wintergreen warming (hot) balm from Thailand
E – scraping spoons (this is a traditional Thai method of instrumented soft tissue work)
F – bruise/sprain liniment
G – trauma liniment
H – plai and wintergreen warming liniment from Thailand
I – drawing liniment
J – small dishes for liniments or balms
K – massage oil with warming and drawing properties
L – cooling liniment from Thailand
M – wind calming liniment
N – nerve liniment
O – healing balm
P – coconut oil
Tell me, what are the most used items in your herbal toolkit?