Thai Me Up: Where Yoga Meets Massage

·Senior Writer

The Treatment: 60-minute Yoga Thai Bodywork by Kristen Collins

The Promise: Stressed? Anxious? Not sleeping? Body full of knots and tension? You might want to try this ancient healing modality that combines yoga and massage with Chinese and Ayurvedic healing. The goal is to move energy around the body using acupressure points and yoga poses to release blockages that contribute to stress and illness. Regular practice promises to increase flexibility and decrease stress significantly.

The Guru: Collins is warm, funny, direct, and knowledgeable. She’s so likable that it’s hard not to want to gab with her throughout your entire session. That likability is also key for experience where you have to completely trust your practitioner. She is, after all, manipulating your body around in a series of often-complicated stretches and poses.

Backdrop: Collins comes to your place from Brooklyn with a 17-pound floor mat that’s half her size. City-dwellers will likely need to move a little furniture out of the way to have enough space for this seriously active form of massage.

The Guinea Pig:  Having experienced significant stress in the past few weeks, sleeplessness and anxiety are reigning in my life. In addition, my back is tweaked from writing hours on end. I am totally willing to try anything that promises some relief, even if that means being lifted in aerial positions by a stranger.

The Scoop: If massage for you is synonymous with relaxing and letting your masseuse work out a few knots, this isn’t the experience for you. Ditto if you are self-conscious. While you are fully clothed (yoga pants are ideal) Collins moves you around the mat, even sitting or standing on your body. She also might lift you into aerial postures with her legs. If you’ve done a hands-on yoga class, this will feel a bit similar, but you need to be comfortable and open to it.

The Experience: Collins begins the session concentrating on my feet. She then moves up the body incorporating kneading with stretching, arching, and putting me in postures like reverse cobra. It’s actually kind of fun, a blend of exercise and massage that feels totally new.

The Results: Afterwards, my body feels limber and loose, thanks to the dozens of stretches and poses. I also feel surprisingly energized. Collins left encouraging me to drink copious amounts of water and promised I would sleep like a baby. Given how much energy I had right after, I somehow doubted that part. An hour later however, I was completely out and slept better than I had in weeks.