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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Thai Yoga Massage: A Dynamic Therapy for Physical Well-Being and Spiritual Energy by Kam Thye Chow (Healing Arts Press) A paperback edition with DVD featuring a unique massage therapy that combines stretching, breath work, assisted yoga postures, and pressure point therapy.

  • Text includes more than 125 black-and-white photographs of instructional postures and 3 color charts showing practitioners the sense energy lines.

  • DVD features author demonstrating techniques for performing a one-hour massage.

In the temples of Thailand many centuries ago, a dynamic bodywork therapy based on yoga, ayurveda, and the martial arts was born. In this unique healing system of Thai Yoga Massage, the practitioner guides the recipient through a series of yoga postures while palming and thumbing along the body's energy lines and pressure points. Together these actions result in a treatment that relieves muscular tension, improves circulation, boosts the immune system, and balances the body energetically.

In this paperback edition of Thai Yoga Massage, Kam Thye Chow not only leads readers through every aspect of this ancient bodywork therapy using more than 125 detailed, step-by-step photographs, but he also demonstrates the techniques for performing a one-hour massage in the accompanying DVD. Kam Thye Chow is one of the world's foremost practitioners and has taught massage in Thailand and throughout Europe and North America. With this text and DVD set, his personal training is now available for those who wish to see the techniques demonstrated live as a complement to the points discussed in the text. The addition of color charts showing sen energy lines make this edition of Thai Yoga Massage an even more valuable tool for massage therapists, physical therapists, yoga practitioners, and others in the somatic arts.

Job's Body: A Handbook for Bodywork Third Edition by Deane Juhan (Station Hill Press) This updated, reader-friendly yet scientifically reliable and detailed introduction to the human body is ideal for use by massage therapists, bodyworkers, and the general public.

Possibly the most famous and widely used resource in therapeutic bodywork (required for national massage therapy certification), this beautifully written, detailed, and reader-friendly picture of how and why the body responds to touch is both scientifically reliable and inspiring. Furthering the presentation of recent research in biochemistry, cell biology, and energy medicine in the Second Edition, this new update includes advances in neurophysiology and physics, reconfiguring knowledge of mind and body, from "microgenesis" to "quantum consciousness." A rare book that fits general reader as much as professional and student.

The central galvanizing discovery for Juhan came when read­ing the clinical literature is the star­tling fact that no infant mammal can survive without enough tactile input. Zoo keepers and farmers have long been aware of this, and have conscientiously supplied that input if the mother could not. But there has been very little awareness of such a thing in the general population, and the principle has not been cer­tainly not applied in any systematic way to infant care and child-rearing in our culture.

Juhan’s compulsive curiosity about the power of touch and its therapeutic signifi­cance was not to any agree laid to rest by the publication of earlier editions of Job's Body. In fact the kind of clinical evidence that surfaced during his research for the book, and the themes he found developing during the writing, have continued to be intriguing for him.

Touched by the Goddess by Deane Juhan (Station Hill Press) continues his reflections, especially on the ethics of touch, one of the critical issues facing therapeutic touch. What happens to children when no distinction is made between beneficial and harmful touching? Why do we continue to fear pleasurable contact, despite the proven necessity of touch to human survival? Could it be that learning to touch each other in healing, positive ways is indispensable to productive change in society as a whole? On the sociological as well as the biological level, this handbook is a primer not just for body workers but for conscious living.

What begins as an attempt to account for the effectiveness of touch and movement therapies has led Juhan to a very different view of the nature and devel­opment of the human organism and society. Juhan had assumed that bodywork--and all the processes it can animate within us--could be shown to be a viable way out of many painful and pathological conditions. Now he is convinced that this is hardly the surface of what touch can do and of what we can learn from it.

Compassionate, nurturing touch has become alarmingly rare in almost all con­texts of modern life. There are far more regulations restricting physical con­tact than there are educational pursuits that might show us how to develop and use it. The result of this cultural condition is that we as a people are not only "out of touch" with ourselves and one another, but also out of touch with many of the forces that shape us and misshape us. And as this absence erodes each of us individually in various ways, it also undermines the physical and psychological foundations that could give more daily satisfaction and functional coherence to our social interactions. Friends, lovers, families, communities, schools, corporations, churches-even legislatures­ can all benefit in incalculable ways from the grounding, the bonding, and the trust that only honest, actual contact can create. A simple, brief handshake is used to convey friendliness. If we as persons and society can manage to take acceptable touch beyond that, our contact might convey a great deal of good grounding in sympathy and care.
Effective touch is not just a way out of much of our physical or emotional pain, Juhan asserts. It is also a way out of the isolation so endemic in our culture, and out of many of the interpersonal, social and philosophical cul-de-sac which that isola­tion has produced. In the end, touch is far more than therapeutic; it is communi­cative, and has the power to communicate dimensions of ourselves and our inten­tions that simply cannot be passed on in any other way. This language of touch and all it has to teach us must be added to our social currency before its absence bankrupts us as organisms. The only genuine escape from the labyrinths of solip­sism is direct contact, and this escape through contact is one of the chief pleasures of being human.

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