At first the concept of hands-free massage sounds about as effective as acupuncture without needles. But Thai massage successfully releases energy and toxins from congested muscle tissue in a manner that doesn't involved a masseuse rubbing you down. You recline, fully clothed, as the practitioner places you in yoga poses. Though technically not "hands-free," it requires you to be a more active participant than you would with Swedish massage, but less so than in yoga class. This technique remains the sole focus of this healing arts school with a growing reputation.
A licensed teacher of Thai massage, Chuck Duff founded the sanctuary for the weary and injured. Located in an unassuming neighborhood in Evanston, the loft space perfects a bohemian feel with its cushy, rubber floor, sprawling soft mattresses surrounded with pillows, Asian design notes and soft sounds of far-off, chill-out music. Duff specializes in curing common laments, particularly knee-joint, low-back and tight-shoulder problems. He approaches ailments with a gleam in his eye and a map of the body’s network of connective tissue.
Classes:: Using his experience as a body worker and acupoint and trigger point systems developed by masters, Duff has added Clinical Thai Bodywork to his NCTMB certified curriculum. The school offers basic to advanced classes ($425 per 20-hour course) to learn the art of Thai massage and session appointments ($100/hour).
Extras:: You can learn the techniques of Thai massage without leaving the house by picking up Duff's self-produced instructional videos ($49.95).
Centerstage Reviewer: Maria Raynes