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In this episode of The Truth about Massage Therapy Podcast, Krzys interview Barbara Wall from BHP007 What is a Thai massage?

BHP007 What is a Thai massage?


Barbara Wall first became aware of Yoga when she was eight years old, her interest sparked by a book, which she bought with pocket money. This interest has developed over many years with different teachers. Her practice has been mostly inspired by the late Marilyn Freedman, a dedicated follower of the late Vanda Scaravelli. Thai massage intrigued her due to it’s close relationship to Yoga.

Her business and practice is situated in the heart of Worcestershire countryside.


Favorite Quote:

”contentment breathes extreme happiness”

Tag a Guest Game:

Stella Huxley

Links mentioned in this episode:

Paadena School of Yoga & Thai Yoga  Massage Therapy –

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KRZYS:  Welcome Barbara and thank you for joining me here at Busy Hive Podcast.

BARBARA:                Good morning.

KRZYS:                     So here at Busy Hive, we like to start every show with our guests’ favorite quote. It’s kind of our way to getting everybody motivated and excited for the rest of the show. So can you tell me, what’s your favorite quote and why?

BARBARA:                My favorite quote I think is “contentment breathes extreme happiness“. It’s a Patanjali quote and it reflects a lot about me and attempting to just be content with myself and trying not to be something that I’m not!

KRZYS:                     Okay. Thank you for sharing that. I just going to come back quickly, you bought the book from pocket money, what, what’s, what’s the book?

BARBARA:                It was a book of yoga moves, by Vanda Scaravelli. I didn’t understand it! I had no idea what yoga was. In fact, my, my mom was, was quite upset when I bought it because she thought it was something decadent and a little bit evil which made me actually want to play with it even more (laughter) and look at these different moves that, that I was just very bendy as a child. So, it intrigued me and my interest sort of carried out and continued from there.


KRZYS:                     Do you still have this book?


BARBARA:                I do!


KRZYS:                     Do you?


BARBARA:                I do! Yes!


KRZYS:                     That’s amazing!


BARBARA:                And it’s, it still comes out periodically.


KRZYS:                     Yeah!


BARBARA:                Very old fashioned but, but still good.


KRZYS:                     So here at Busy Hive, we really focus on the beginning of our journey. So why don’t you tell us, how did you start it and how did you get to the point where you are today?


BARBARA:                Okay! Well, it’s a slightly long story but I’ll try to keep it brief for you. I’m a trained Accountant and after some difficulties with a not very pleasant boss, I changed direction and retrained as a Chiropodist. And the Chiropody brought me in, more into the health side of things.


KRZYS:                     And what is that? Can you explain?


BARBARA:                Chiropody? Feet! Healthcare of feet! But it got me more involved, and actually although I paid for the course myself, the government, if you’re classed as unemployed at that time, would pay for any add-on courses. So I did anything that was on offer. So I did Indian head massage, I did aromatherapy, I did acupressure and all these different things which brought me and got me more involved with holistic therapies. And in the eighties, I had a motorbike accident and broke my back, and I was recommended by a GP to actually take up yoga which I’d always been practicing it.

KRZYS:                     That’s something you don’t hear that very often from a GP.


BARBARA:                Exactly! That’s why I was very, very lucky to have an enlightened GP, but I got involved with yoga more and I approached yoga originally as very much as just a, let’s build up and stretch muscles. There was no spirituality or holistic therapy involved at all and I mean that’s how I kind of came into Thai Massage. With my history of yoga and holistic therapies, I met a wonderful lady in Colorado and she helped me get involved with Thai Massage and then subsequently became my teacher. And when I returned back to Britain, I qualified with a lady down in London so that I had a recognized qualification in this country and that’s kind of how I came …

KRZYS:                     So you trained in the States?


BARBARA:                Yes! Yes, but unlike European courses, a lot of the insurance companies in this country don’t recognize (don’t recognize) the USA and that’s why, as a fact, actually, it was probably a bit of a waste of time cause a lot of insurance companies still don’t recognize Thai Massage as a subject. They’ll recognize Yoga, cause I, I call mine Thai Yoga Massage; or they recognize massage but they don’t recognize Thai Massage. But as long as you cover yourself with Yoga and the massage, then you’re covered, so.

KRZYS:                     In your mind, can you share with us one of the challenges of a new Therapist?

BARBARA:                I think one of the main challenges for me was believing in myself. Believing that I’d got a good qualification and that I actually was good at what I did. So that was the big thing and then the second thing I thought was actually knowing how to price myself.

KRZYS:                     Always the big one!

BARBARA:                It is and I kind of got over that by phoning around locally to find out what people were charging for their therapies and I sort of gauged myself somewhere in the middle and then had to learn just to believe that actually I’m working hard for this and I deserve to get that money.

KRZYS:                     And you were a fit? Yes?

BARBARA:                Yes! Absolutely!

KRZYS:                     So, Barbara, you share a lot with us today and I appreciate that. So now we have reached my favorite part of the show. We are about to enter the part when we choose a topic on the conversation which always relates to close work of our guest. So we’re going to start with a few questions and gather some amazing insight. So could you explain to us, what’s Thai Massage?

BARBARA:                Thai Massage is a form of deep tissue manipulation, so you use your whole body to take a passive client into different stretches and you also manipulate traditionally the energy lines that run through the body. If you’re looking at it from a scientific point of view, it’s the lymphatics. so you are manipulating those lines that travel through the body with your thumbs, your heel of your hands, your elbows, your feet and then you proceed to take the client into deep stretches which they are actually, mostly surprised that they can do and mainly it’s because their body is completely passive.

KRZYS:                     And relaxed!

BARBARA:                Exactly!

KRZYS:                     Well, Thai Massage all, always had a description, it’s like yoga for lazy people.

BARBARA:                Kind of yeah! I mean, not all, I mean, you’ll have some clients that you won’t take into these deep stretches and, and some of the moves do, yes, reflect some yoga asanas or movements; so yeah, I guess! But not necessary, I wouldn’t want people to think that it’s about yoga and yoga stretches cause it’s more than that. So it uses acupressure points and it takes a beautiful passive body into these lovely deep stretches.

KRZYS:                     So as a, you know, a Thai Yoga Practitioner, what sort of clients like can come to you or can be treated by a Thai massage?

BARBARA:                All ages and right through to, my oldest client is eighty-four (84) and obviously you have to adjust what you’re doing to suit the body like with any treatment. But I also have people coming to me either as gift certificates cause they don’t actually know what Thai Massage is or they’ve got something specifically wrong that they need treatment for. So I have people with ranges of complaints and problems.

KRZYS:                     Could you give us examples?

BARBARA:                I suppose the main, which I think for most Massage Therapists is back issues. So we got a lot of back issues but I also get women coming to me because they’ve got imbalances due to menopause and I have people that come to me with disabilities that are not necessarily looking for a cure cause I can’t cure when, when not diagnostic or therapeutic; but they come looking for relief of some sort and just being touched sometimes, just being moved can help people enormous amount if they are with a limb that doesn’t move and you’re just taking that part of their body that they have no feeling or sensation that actually can bring relief in other parts of the body.

KRZYS:                     Brilliant! So, can you just briefly let us know, like if someone doesn’t have an idea how the session runs through, can you give us a brief description, what’s going involved into sessions? How it’s in the beginning, middle, start, what’s, how’s the session happening?

BARBARA:                Okay! So Thai Massage is practiced usually on a mat on the floor and the client remains fully clothed. That’s not to say that you won’t find some Practitioners that do use the massage bed and will remove clothing but traditionally on a mat on the floor, fully clothed. And the client will come in, lie on their back, you start at their feet, it’s furthest away from their head so you start gently at their feet.

KRZYS:                     Just come back to the clothing, something more comfortable, isn’t it?

BARBARA:                Yeah, absolutely! Loose clothing that they can, they can move in. So something maybe that you’d wear to an exercise class and Thai Massage can be very much in your face and can feel quite invasive cause you do get up close and personal to a person. So start at their feet, work up through their body, turn them on their sides, turn them on to their stomachs, bring them up into seated and they finish usually on their back and manipulating around the face and shoulders. So that’s kind of it really!

KRZYS:                     Now, brilliant! Thank you! So you mentioned this massage is done on mat, but can, just because, well me as a Massage Therapist, I do lots of stretches for my clients on a couch and always clients compliment every session when I use all, some of them, can we use some of the bits from the Thai Massage on a couch?

BARBARA:                Absolutely, yes! It can be adapted quite easily to a massage bed. Some of the traditionalist frowns at it but I’ve kind of made quite a few traditionalists frown anyway by going a different direction.

KRZYS:                     Great!

BARBARA:                Yeah! Absolutely! But it, it’s very easy to adapt. Obviously, some of the more dynamic stretches where you’re using both client’s body and yours to counterweight each other, you have to either be careful with that or not do it; and the massage body’s always, always lowered as well so that you can always keep one foot on the floor.

KRZYS:                     Okay! Thank you! So apart from the Practitioner as well, you are a Teacher? So you run courses for Thai Massage?

BARBARA:                I do, yes!

KRZYS:                      Can you give us some, you know, description of that?

BARBARA:                Well I usually introduce people to Thai Massage by doing a daily workshop and that involves learning how to do a Thai Foot Massage. But also then we have a play with some of the biggest stretches to give people an insight into the art of Thai Massage and we go on, if they want to, they can then go on to do the full Diploma Course and that qualifies you as a Practitioner.

KRZYS:                     And that’s with you as well?

BARBARA:                Absolutely yes! There is an advanced course and, and, cause there are thousands of different moves of Thai Massage and I am continually learning myself about new moves, new stretches, new ways of doing something. And actually, the more you learn, the less you use your body and you learn to, to, to just move much more smoothly and swiftly.

KRZYS:                     Thank you! So, next, next part of the interview is a big question because a lot of our listeners are either just starting out or they may have been in their business practice for a while but they’re still struggling with self-doubt as they work on building their own business practices. So if you wake up tomorrow morning, but you still possess all of the experience and knowledge you currently have but your business had completely disappeared forcing you to start from the scratch, what would you do?

BARBARA:                What would I do today? Well, I’m a little bit archaic; I’m of an older generation so I’ve been around a little while. Things have changed immensely! When I first started out, I spent a lot of money on, on incorrect advertising. So a big thing I do now is…

KRZYS:                     Like what? Can you give us examples?

BARBARA:                I got these offers where you could advertise in the back of one of the major magazines or in the back of a newspaper which sounds marvelous and it’s just a waste of time, basically. Keep local, give talks to local groups but the big thing for me now, if I was starting again was I would learn a lot more about social media. I would have a decent website which hopefully, finally I’ve got and I think that is the way things have to go nowadays. More and more people are coming to me for my yoga and massage through social media. They’ve searched for me, they would have searched for a Therapist locally and that’s how they found me.

KRZYS:                     Yes. Where’s the business maze mainly coming from?

BARBARA:                The truth?

KRZYS:                     Yes!

BARBARA:                The church magazine in the village! That’s where most (unbelievable, yeah) and it costs me sixty pounds (£60) a year (okay) for an advertisement every month, and that’s my, and word of mouth.

KRZYS:                     That is amazing! I think that’s like a gold nugget! (Laughter) (Inaudible 14:39-14:41) the Church Magazine, that’s brilliant!

BARBARA:                It’s absolute! Most people look at it locally, they all get it delivered for a few pence or they don’t have to spend a lot. If they feel that they are doing something good so they’ll buy it or it’s given to them, they share it and we all try to shop local so we all try to get the local builder, we all try to get the local plumber, so something like massage, why not look in your church magazine?

KRZYS:                     Now, that’s brilliant! And that, that’s really an amazing idea because well you are in the just complete countryside is Worcestershire, amazing, amazing place. My drive, so I live at the moment in Malvern not far, it’s just a twenty minutes’ drive but this twenty minutes of drive it was just like a pure twenty minutes meditation of this pure, nice sunny day! So if you are in the countryside where there are not many people, you just finding exactly that kind of way to advertise, even, you know, try in local churches, in local shops, just put a little bit of advert.

BARBARA:                Absolutely!

KRZYS:                     It works out!

BARBARA:                I have a poster in both local village shops. You’ve got to get known locally so that word of mouth will get around and as long as you are doing something good, people will keep coming back.


KRZYS:                     Do you, do you talk to people about, like wherever, you’re in the shop, someone “awwh, you know, my back hurts!”

BARBARA:                Absolutely! I, I will tell them what I do. I don’t tend to push myself so much! I think that comes down to a confidence thing but if somebody is asking for my advice or conversation just leads that way, I’ll just kind of say “why don’t you try having a massage or why don’t you try having a yoga lesson?” I won’t necessarily say, “Why don’t you come to my class?” which maybe I should, but I don’t, I don’t! But that’s just me I think. Excuse me, but I do think you’ve got to get if you in a rural community, you’ve got to get known rurally and for that, you need to advertise yourself.

KRZYS:                     Now, thank you! So the next part is all about you, and here we will give you a moment to get some promotion of, of either your courses, your practice, anything you would like share. So we will give you a little bit of the freestyle time. Here you go!

BARBARA:                Okay! Well, I would like everybody out there to at least look at, take an interest in Thai Massage because it’s a little-known therapy in this country. It has this association in the sixties with Ladies of the Night and it’s just finally coming back to its traditional values, so I’d like everybody out there to have a look at that if they could!

KRZYS:                     Can you tell us the little bit of your practice? What’s the name? What do you practice?

BARBARA:                My practice is called “Paadena”, which is the Sanskrit word for ‘on one’s feet’. So it kind of reflects through my Chiropody, my yoga, and my massage and it’s a website which is

KRZYS:                     And can you give us a little bit more information about your courses.

BARBARA:                The courses, I’m very proud to say that I actually got accredited by the FHT which is the Federation of Holistic Therapies. I worked hard for that and I’m proud that I actually got it but the reason I went for it was I wanted people to have a recognized qualification, not just Barbara Wall saying, “hey you’ve qualified and here’s a piece of paper!” It is actually backed up by the federation so I’m very proud of that and my courses are led by me, they’re instructed by me and I run the examinations as well, but they are governed by the FHT which I think hopefully gives confidence to, to, to, to students coming to me; that the know they are coming into a safe environment and they know that if they work hard they’re going to get a recognized qualification with me.

KRZYS:                     Are the one to one classes or group classes?

BARBARA:                I tend to have moved more onto very small groups or one to ones. I’ve found that the group classes, whilst they were good fun and it was really nice to practice on each other, I was finding that I just wasn’t able to give my full attention to maybe the student that needed that bit of extra attention. So I found that by going into smaller groups and if you and a few friends want to come along and have a go, then that works really well or you do it one to one. And it really gives that focus on you as the student, and I think the developing Practitioner then is, they’re not practicing on a person they’ve just met in the room, they’re practicing on me so I’m able to then say “uh, not quite right, or you’re stretching that too far!” And I think for the student that’s a lot better as a learning tool.

KRZYS:                     And that, can you, so what’s involved in? Can you give us a little bit in the beginning course? What’s in the beginning course? What’s the difference in the Beginning Course and the Advanced?

BARBARA:                Okay, so the Diploma Course, you will learn the basic techniques to go and be able to give a two-hour massage. So I will go through learning all the different moves on the back, on the front, on the sides and seated and you’ll also learn a little bit about A and P but I don’t tend to focus on the A and P. The A and P is done in your own time and I monitor that. All the work within the studio is on the body!

KRZYS:                     So as well as this one, do you have to be a qualified Massage Therapist to go to this course or not?


BARBARA:                No! Not at all! You can come as a complete and absolute never done anything like this before. You, you’d have to, the only things that are needed to take the course are you need to get a First Aid Certificate; it’s something I ask people to do and that’s it. You don’t need anything else. I’d give you everything. I’ve written a book which isn’t sold (yet) but I give it with the course, yet. So everything I teach is in that book and everything they need to know. So the history of Thai Massage, the history of the actual movements, where they come from and everything you need to know is in that book.

KRZYS:                     Okay and Advanced Course?

BARBARA:                The Advanced Course is, will give you more details about the Sen Lines which is s-e-n. And the Sen Lines are the energy lines that I was talking about earlier that run through the body. So it goes into more details about those and the names of them but also some of the more advanced moves, so at that point you’ll be comfortable in, in working with Thai and us just kind of develop these moves cause also a part of the course, that is actually how to adapt Thai Massage to the massage table.

KRZYS:                     Okay!

BARBARA:                So, and also it runs through pregnancy, so and how to be able to treat somebody who’s pregnant.

KRZYS:                     Okay, that amazing. Thank you. So in this part, is what we call ‘Tag a Guest Game’. We would like to ask you, “who do you admire and can you help us to get recommendations for upcoming interviews?”

BARBARA:                Absolutely! The person I most admire…., admire is a wonderful lady who unfortunately passed away a few years ago and her name was Marilyn Friedman. She was inspirational in getting me into teaching, into teaching yoga and into teaching Thai Massage really. The lady I would think would be really happy to talk to you is a lady called Stella Huxley. She’s a local Massage Therapist and like me is rural, so she’s looking at ways of how to develop her practice.

KRZYS:                     I thank you for that! That’s all great. Thank you so much for joining us today Barbara. You give us some really great advice and inspiration. So let’s finish the show with the last piece of advice for Busy Hive listeners and we will say goodbye. So if you have just one thing for our listeners to take out of this episode, what would it be?

BARBARA:                Try a Thai Massage.

KRZYS:                     That’s perfect! That’s enough! (Chuckle) So how can we connect with you online?

BARBARA:                Through my website. There is a contact form, there’s a mobile telephone number details all on the website.

KRZYS:                     Can you tell us your website again?

BARBARA:                Yes! It’s

KRZYS:                     Thank you! So thank you for joining me here at Busy Hive Podcast and if you listeners are interested in learning a bit more about Yoga and Thai Massage and Thai Massage Courses with Barbara, you can go to the and we will have all the information there in the show notes.


So, Barbara, it’s a pleasure to have you today on the show and I hope we will chat again soon. Bye for now!

BARBARA:                Thank you!




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