Sometimes you get a massage and at other times you get a massage.
Drew Hume gives the italicized version. His Thai massages clear your head and are so attuned to your body that you wonder if he’s got X-ray vision.
But, this certainly wasn’t the path he foresaw. Born in Australia, Drew studied human biology but ended up falling in love and marrying a Canadian yoga instructor, Duncan Parviainen. Drew’s life went in a totally different direction; one that he embraced wholeheartedly.
Although he's still getting used to Canadian winter (aren’t we all, Drew) he bundled up to let us in on his unexpected life. His story is one to hear if you are considering making a big change:
From science guy to Thai massage guy. How did the leap happen?
When I moved over, I was looking for jobs – lab work and stuff like that. I fell into learning Thai massage. I thought it was going to be a hobby on the side. I kept practicing and practicing and it kind of spiraled from there. Eight months ago, I started my own Thai massage school. There have been a lot of jumps in the last few years, but it has all been fun. To create my own company has been a wild ride.
What are some of the references that have really helped you with building a business, and in particular, building a school?
I have to read a lot. I try to bring in new ideas, and to reference the ideas that I am saying. This has really expanded the way I am moving towards practicing. One book is Thomas Myer’s Anatomy Trains – it’s going to be a huge part of my curriculum. It’s all about how amazingly connected we are in our body. In a way I think fascia and this book is the bridge between energy work. Fascia and energy can be seen as the same thing. It’s just different ways of talking about it.
Is it hard to work in Thai massage when the massages are not covered under insurance?
The bigger picture is to raise the profile of Thai massage. I think that the lack of anatomy and physiology prevents it from being covered, and it really should be, because it’s such a healing modality. I would like to go through the process of giving it a higher reputation.
Some people believe Thai massages are a little aggressive for their taste. Is this a misconception?
We don’t need to make chiropractic adjustments to be effective. Navina’s principles are a little different. It takes into effect, that first and foremost as a culture, we need relaxation. So many people have forgotten what it feels like to relax, to release and surrender. That is our primary focus. Secondary to that is how we can help improve health, release tension, release restriction and restore movement and function. We want to put therapeutic work into a relaxed model.
How can you inspire people to relax through Thai massage?
One of my favourite things to say in any course is “Slow it down.” You can have a deep and profound effect if you just: Slow. It. Down. Some practitioners can get caught up in their own rhythm. It is different from other modalities that are all about giving. If you are trying to release someone else’s tension by holding tension in your body, it’s kind of counterproductive. In Thai massage, we position ourselves effectively using biomechanics, physiology and gravity to apply pressure and sink in as opposed to doing the work. It is less work, and using bodyweight, it changes the whole environment of massage.
So the original model of Thai massage has been given a Western Angle through your company?
The way that I conceptualize it is that Thai people get massages for a different reason. It is to invigorate, which is one reason why it is a little rough. They have different lifestyles than us, and the energizing massage helps them to get through long days on their feet and physical labour. We are the opposite. We need a different kind of attention. We need to breathe more deeply. We can work with the body on a deep physiological level to cue breath. I don’t need to verbally ask for it. I can use my touch and the way that I apply pressure. It allows people to seek where they need to go, and many fall into a state in between awake and asleep. Whatever needs to happen is what happens, but we can guide it with our touch.
Do you remember the first Thai massage you ever had? The one that put you on this path?
Hilariously, I never had a Thai massage before I entered school, which is kind of ridiculous. I’ve never really been the kind of person who makes rash decisions, but I did just sign up and it fit really perfectly. It felt like slipping into a role. Like doing something I already knew how to do.
If you would like a taste of Drew’s services, or to possibly attend one of his courses, check out his website.
Who knows, it could move your life in an entirely new direction…