I love the Thai colloquialism “same-same”. Reminds me of the western response to certain questions: “It depends.”
You know what I’m talking about if you have ever had a client ask, “How long will it take for me to recover from….?” Well, that depends – on how long the condition has existed, what caused it, the current strength of the individual’s immune system, how often the person is willing to schedule regular therapy sessions, the client’s compliance with “homework”, the level of stress in the person’s life, the person’s willingness to eliminate (or at least reduce) lifestyle habits that exacerbate the situation and introduce habits that support health, and the person’s belief system regarding her ability to change the situation.
When students ask me how Thai Foot Reflexology compares to our western model, I respond in the way the Thais do with “same same”, which translates as “similar and not the same”. Again, think of clients with the same health imbalance or injuries; they each experience their pain and recovery differently.
As far as the difference between Thai and western reflexology goes, in the west, the focus is on points, with the intent to improve the functioning of the related organs and glands. As a reference, we look to a map of reflexes reflected on the feet.
Although the Thai practitioner certainly shares the same desire to foster better health within the organs, the focus is more on encouraging the flow of lom (energy). The traditional Thai practitioner rarely thinks of points – in fact, the charts visitors find everywhere in Thailand these days were created simply to satisfy foreign students’ demand for one! Thai practitioners trust that every part of the body is being stimulated through their well thought-out and time-proven protocol. The ordered sequence of moves and techniques are all designed to systematically open up the sen (energy lines) and free blocked lom. With that accomplished, the body is then free to restore itself and to correct whatever imbalances are present within the organs and glands.
This attitude of same-same asks that the practitioner be willing to give up the ego-driven illusion of “fixer”, and to enter into the role of witness and facilitator; to trust the wisdom of the client’s body to direct the individual’s journey back to health. I know that for myself (a woman born with a strong western inclination to understand and control everything!), working within the realm of ambiguity and uncertainly taught me that the responsibility and possibility for healing lays within each of us, not outside. Same-same. Only our paths are different.
2-day Thai Foot Reflexology trainings:
Taos, New Mexico – September 29 & 30
Minneapolis, Minnesota – October 6 & 7
Houston, Texas – November 10 & 11