Helping You Feel, Move, & Live Better
A vision realized
Thai Sport Bodyworks started in 2013 by Lawani Nueng inside a small fitness center in San Diego, CA. It was a humble beginning but she had a mighty vision: To help people feel, move, and live better with therapies based upon Thai massage.
Thai massage is a very energetic and healing massage that uses acupressure to relieve stress and muscular tightness plus yoga-style assisted stretches for realigning muscles and joints. Traditional Thai massage is based upon ancient Chinese medicine and utilizes the meridians or acupuncture points of the body. Normally, Thai acupressure is applied by hands, arms, elbows, and sometimes even the feet to the client onto the same meridians. These tried and true locations have worked well over the centuries but sometimes the old ways can be improved. Lawani stepped up to the challenge.
Lawani developed a new style of Thai massage that we call the Thai Sport Method. But it began with her first therapy the Thai Sport Massage. This isn’t just a “combo massage” of Thai and Sport massages but a complete reinvention of Thai massage while keeping its traditional roots of acupressure and stretching. Today it includes entirely new acupressure protocols, provides simpler and safer stretching techniques, includes the addition of sport massage therapies, and adds over 100 new manual motions that replace traditional Thai massage motions.
The end result has been unprecedented success. The Thai Sport Method has been applied to tens of thousands of clients over the last six years and has been acclaimed by doctors, physical therapists, professional players, fitness experts, and even injured war veterans as an incredibly effective therapy for stress, pain, and injury.
But the journey was long and took years to evolve.
A new approach to Thai Massage
Her attention to detail and absolute focus on perfection was the beginning of a re-invention of traditional Thai massage. It all started with how she designed her very first therapy room that led to some new discoveries in Thai style bodywork. Normally a Thai massage is performed on a floor mat in an open or curtained room with no walls. Sometimes there are ceiling bars to allow ashiastu (foot walking) therapy as part of the acupressure therapy. So usually the therapist is required to do most of the deep tissue work with their hands and elbows.
In Thailand, this worked fine because both the therapist and the client are small and similar in stature compared to American and western people in general, who are heavier and much more muscular than the average Thai. Here in America the therapist may be half the weight so the effort takes twice as long and therefor seems less effective to the client and also more expensive due to the longer times.
Lawani developed the perfect solution, which was to design private rooms in a very specific dimension to give the therapist the ability to use the sturdy walls for leverage giving them infinitely more pressure power than just by standing or knelling in an open room. Not only is the leverage able to deliver deep enough acupressure but can now to deliver an exacting amount of pressure (and also moderate the speed of pressure delivery) using their feet. Now a 90 pound therapist can deliver deep tissue that could even give a 300 pound football player some real relief.
This opened up a entirely new dimension to massage with the feet being up to 50% of the massage therapy (Thai foot walking is usually around 10%). Yet most clients have no idea that the feet are even being used during this time.
The reason is because exact pressure is being applied in a very slow and predictable motion, so the client can fully relax their body and not over-anticipate any sudden moves that involuntarily engages their guard reflex. This causes them to actually fight the therapy ending up with poor results. You may hear of Thai therapists overdoing the pressure and actually causing even more pain and injury. Often that’s because the client is stiffening their body because they are afraid of being injured and the therapist is moving too fast and with inconsistency, thus causing a negative outcome.
The benefits of this new found leverage with slow precise motion was quite amazing because acupressure is one of the most therapeutic forms of massage. It enables the muscles to relax and surrender their knots, toxins, and adhesions. Only the feet (properly used) can apply enough deep tissue with so much accuracy, yet her approach is also so smooth and gentle that the client has no idea that feet are being used!
Evolving into Specific Protocols
This led to new discoveries, since now the therapist can work differently on the body than acupuncture meridians. After several years and thousands of clients later, Lawani was able to design an entirely new series of movements and protocols not only with the leveraged feet but also with their hands, arms, and elbows as acupressure tools. Today with over 100 different documented motions, this has evolved into its own method that while it looks and feels like traditional Thai Massage to the layman — it works on the body very differently from its direction, location, pressure, and speed of delivery.
The end result is our signature massage called the Thai Sport Massage™ that also includes oils and westernized sport massage techniques as well as acupressure and yoga-style stretching. This was the only massage she and her staff performed for the first few years. But as the company evolved — upgrades such as cupping with movement and bamboo rolling were added along with other tools and services to enhanced the therapy.
Even more therapy improvements emerged due to new clients with more chronic problems. Thus more advanced bodywork techniques were integrated into her approach such as neuromuscular massage and active release techniques. These became their own special fusions of Thai massage such as Thai Neuromuscular.
Perfecting the Mission
In 2017/18 she added non-massage physical therapies such as Dynamic Stretching and Taping with Graston-style techniques. Plus our first body analytics services using the Fit3D body scanner. And so after six years the company has evolved from your very typical Thai Massage business into a full service bodywork company.
Over the years, her tiny room in the back of a gym grew into two locations and a dedicated team trained in her special approach to bodywork. Today the company is always working on new and better ways to provide quality services and a great customer experience, while remaining accessible and affordable to everyone.
Everything we do has a laser-like focus on helping you feel better, move better, and even live better.