Frequently Asked Questions
What should I wear to a class or massage?
Whether you’re coming to a tai chi class or massage, wear something comfortable and loose enough to move in. You want to be sure you can move in your full range of motion. Additionally, you will keep your clothes during your massage.
What can I expect when I come to a tai chi class?
Come as you are – you don’t need to have prepared or learned anything. The exercises involve simple movements and are always catered to those in attendance. In other words, classes are adjusted to fit the needs, abilities, and experience of you and everyone attending.
What can I expect when I come in for a massage?
Most who come in for a massage are experiencing some kind of pain or misalignment. The goal of a massage is to bring your body into alignment, restoring it to pain-free ways of movement and living. For a Thai-style massage you will lie on the floor, but all other styles involve lying on a table unless your needs or pain make it uncomfortable. Either way, Gary will adapt according to each client. Your job is to relax while Gary’s job is to carefully and skillfully restore and maximize your range of motion.
Are there techniques or movements I can practice outside of tai chi class?
Most definitely! The purpose of class is to teach new ways of movement that can be implemented in everyday life. From putting dishes away to shoveling snow, postures learned in class can be used during any task to prevent the onset of pain.
What is the origin of Thai massage?
Thai-style massage was birthed around 500 B.C.E., with its roots traced back to Jīvaka, the Buddha’s physician. Passed along to Indian Brahmins and Buddhist monks, it was then brought to Thailand around 200 B.C.E. Chinese Buddhist monks also came to Thailand, evolving southeast Asian medicine into three distinct disciplines: massage, herbs, and meditation. Another name for Thai massage is “lazy yoga” due to the fact that the participant relaxes while their body is moved and positioned for them. Often the massage therapist will use their hands, elbows, and feet as part of their techniques. Due to its yoga-like nature, Thai massage is held on the floor for easier movement.
Gary’s expertise in Thai massage comes from a year he spent traveling and learning in Southeast Asia. Some of his best teachers were elderly, local women who were experts in Thai massage. Gary has also studied Chinese or tui na massage that also informs his practice. Tui na has the client on a table and involves techniques such as rocking, kneading, and acupressure. Typically, Gary draws from various styles of massage. Depending on your needs and preferences, he may draw from American, Thai, Chinese, and/or Laotian-style massage.
What are the health benefits of a massage?
Excessive stress becomes internalized and stored in your body. Massage helps identify the source of that stress – where it is in your body – and works it out of your body. It also relaxes your nervous system. Other benefits include increased circulation, improved connection between mind and body, relieving stress and anxiety, and improving overall physical and mental health.
What do classes and massages look like in light of COVID-19?
Tai chi classes are taught at Gabriel Park in Southwest Portland. Masks and social distancing are required. Stay tuned for location updates due to seasonal changes and inclement weather.
For massages, to avoid crowding in the waiting room, you may text Gary upon arrival and wait in the parking lot. Masks are to be worn when entering the building and during your massage. If you’re a new client, you can fill out an intake form when you come in for your appointment or beforehand. To fill it out beforehand, access the form here. You can print, fill it out, and scan it back to our office or you may print, fill it out, and bring it with you. After submitting your intake form and notifying Gary of any pain or trouble areas, your massage will begin. Masks may be removed while lying face down if doing so obstructs breathing; however, masks must be worn when lying face up. Gary will wear a mask during your entire massage. After your massage you may schedule your next appointment. Rooms, door handles, chairs, and other high-contact surfaces are sanitized between each client. If the weather permits, windows will be opened and a fan turned on to maximize air circulation.
“Tai chi is about teaching new ways of movement that can be implemented in everyday life.”
Tai chi classes are held at Gabriel Park in Southwest Portland at the intersection of Southwest 45th Avenue and Vermont Street near Multnomah Village. Stay tuned for information about classes being held at other parks around Portland.
We know finances are difficult for many at this time. Tai chi classes are currently free with donations accepted.
Due to COVID-19, Gary is no longer teaching tai chi classes at ClubSport. However, classes are being held at Gabriel Park in Southwest Portland, which offer a safer, socially distant alternative. See above for details.