mind over matter
Over a cup of tea, Dr Buathon Thienarrom tells me that my shoulders are drooping. This, she says, is a sign of mental stress, exerting itself physically. With awareness, better posture and some gentle massage to unblock obstructed energy flows, the drooping shoulders could be corrected; however, until I purge the mental stress away, the problem would always return. This is the crux of her ZenNaTai technique; that the mind and body are one, and to heal one requires healing both.
In residence at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur recently, Dr Thienarrom’s ZenNaTai technique is a unique blend of Thai, Chinese and Tibetian wellness philosophies designed by the doctor herself over her long career, which includes roles as nurse, consulting psychologist, medical manager and now, independent holistic professional. Her practice is based in Hua Hin, Thailand, but Dr Thienarrom also travels extensively, working with hotels within the Aman, Mandarin Oriental and The One and Only groups in Asia for workshops and treatment residences.
“To be healthy, you not only have to be healthy physically, but also mentally," says the jovial and motherly doctor. “Most problems come from the mind, but that is not easy to locate. So I start with the physical. And once the body is calm, then it is easier to heal the mind, which is the root of all problems."
In my case, mind transformation is beyond the single hour I have with Dr Thienarrom. But one has to start somewhere. Through a combination of breathing exercises and singing bowl chimes, I am brought into a state of calm, lying face up on a table. A series of gentle kneading motions ensue, as Dr. Thienarrom identifies problems and issues. I should stand up straight and elongate my spine, she says, since I have a tendency to hunch. Too much wind, she says and admonishes that I ‘think too much.’ The diagnosis is educational, almost telepathically incisive. The massage is soft but controlled; no terrifying bone cracking here. Tense muscles become supple under her administration, and by the end of the 60 minutes, I feel like I have had a great night’s sleep.
There is a progression to ZenNaTai. With the seeds of physical mending sown, the treatment then moves on energy enhancing, which focuses on augmenting qi flows through healing oils and chakra stimulation. Once optimal vigour is achieved, Dr Thienarrom will move on to the last, and hardest, stage – mind transformation, a form of meditation that seeks to purge ‘mental poisons.’
That will take a while, though it is something to work towards. As it is, I already feel lighter and brighter. Perhaps it is the sunny cheerfulness that Dr Thienarrom exudes. As I contemplate how I could adapt her observations to everyday life, I ask the good doctor if she has any simple advice to how to start on the ZenNaTai path to wellness. “When you wake up, before you smile to anyone else, smile to yourself," she says. “Imagine a happy body, and your body will become happy."