Ancient oriental systems of traditional healing and medicine proclaim that feet are the gateway to the body and learning how to stimulate them leads to better health. This message caught Bengaluru-based Reena Singh’s attention who enrolled herself and her son at the International Training Massage (ITM) School in Chiangmai, Thailand, to master the art of holistic healing.
Singh (54) is spreading awareness about ‘touch’ as a tool for healing and well-being. She remembers the old days when a younger member massaged the feet or head of an elder in the family, it fostered better relations between the giver and receiver. She wants people to learn and experience these treatments to acknowledge and propagate “touch as an ancient form of healing and get its due in holistic health systems”.
Singh’s motivation to study in Thailand was to equip her dyslexic son, Tarundeep, with a set of skills to enable him to be a self-employed practitioner in the ancient Nuad Bo-Rarn therapies of wellness. At that time, she was managing international medical tourism department at a leading Bengaluru hospital. During her stay in Thailand, she took advantage of the wellness therapies and treatments that the masters offered after school hours. She was healed of her chronic lower back and knee-pain. This made her to turn practitioner and spread the practice. “The training and curriculum was tough. Students had to be fit and flexible, and have stamina to perform many therapies in a day. We had Thai yoga and Tai Chi classes every morning,” says Singh who was born in Sirsa, Haryana.
After the teacher training course and notching up hours of practice in therapy and treatments, Singh returned and founded the International Institute of Reflexology Management in Bengaluru. Foot and back reflexology caught her attention as an effective treatment to achieve holistic healing. “Reflexology is a treatment protocol where reflex points that correspond to organs and parts of the body are stimulated to enhance healing. Did you know each foot has 7,000 nerve endings? The feet are truly the gateway to the body,” says the ITM-authorised trainer for ancient Nuad Bo-Rarn therapies. Back reflexology is useful for elders, infirm and those with mobility issues. Assisted stretching of arms, hands, back, and shoulders, and stimulating reflex points give relief from migraines, arthritis and spinal problems that arise due to bad posture and long hours of working at a desk.
Ancient Nuad Bo-Rarn Thai therapies are unknown in India. The knee and elbow massage, and deep tissue massage are useful to sportsperson in soothing sore and stiff muscles. The Tok Sen is an ancient therapy where rhythmic tapping, using a wooden hammer and wedge made from tamarind wood, is combined with stimulating Thai accupoints to create a healing vibration in the body. Prenatal massage is light and ideal for women from the fourth month of pregnancy. These therapies are recognised in Japan, China, Denmark, the UK and the US. It is mandatory to learn the basics in China as part of the syllabus, and in Japan as it is part of their health programmes.
Singh has worked on a wide range of patients. “I have given therapies to dancers and martial artists who face back and knee pain; to the diabetics who often suffer from foot problems; to cancer patients and survivors by removing stress, anxiety and negative thoughts as feel-good hormones are released during these treatments. And for the beauty conscious, facials using herbs and simple massage strokes, including lymphatic drainage steps, make you look and feel younger,” she concludes.