Using Rusie Dutton to promote health in menopausal women

Have you had to deal with hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and musculoskeletal pain at the same time? These are some of the many symptoms affecting women during menopause. Together, they tend to negatively impact the social, psychological, and sexual lives of women. There are also physical consequences of menopause, like increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Though there is no getting around this stage of life, there are ways to help with the transition. Traditional physical exercise and other mind-body techniques have recently entered the spotlight, with one study showing Rusie Dutton, a traditional Thai exercise, as an effective tool for women with menopause.

What is Rusie Dutton?

Rusie Dutton is a traditional exercise that originated in Thailand about 200 years ago and is characterized by slow, purposeful movements that emphasize stretching and twisting the body in ways that exert force in underutilized muscle groups. Numerous studies have been published showing how Rusie Dutton improves flexibility and cardiorespiratory function as well as stress and muscle pain reduction in users. The exercise has also recently been shown to benefit menopausal women, offering an alternative route to reduce some of the symptoms associated with menopause.

Rusie Dutton
Depiction of traditional Rusie Dutton in action

How does it work?

Each Rusie Dutton class took place from 7.30 to 9.00 a.m. in a community center, with the first 40 min spent on a question-and- answer period about home practice and health problems followed by deep breathing exercises. The next 50 min were spent doing muscle stretching (5 min), practice of the postures of Rusie Dutton (40 min) and deep breathing and stretching (5 min). The practice session started with easy postures followed by more difficult ones until all 16 postures were covered. Participants were encouraged to extend, stretch or twist the limbs and body part as much as they could but not to the point of pain.


The results? According to the study, Rusie Dutton participants at the end of the observational period were found to have decreased body weight, body mass index, resting heart rate and blood pressure, increased muscle and joint flexibility, improved cardiorespiratory fitness, and improvement in quality of life with fewer menopause symptoms consisting of vasomotor, physical, psychosocial, and sexual symptoms.

The participants were also found to have benefited from elements found in other mind-body exercises, thanks to Rusie Dutton’s gentle movements, controlled breathing, and meditation—offering relief from anxiety, depression, and insomnia. A final highlight from the study about Rusie Dutton was its ease of practice, “[Rusie Dutton] is not limited to a particular population because all practitioners can find postures appropriate for themselves, it can be done in sitting position and takes less than 10 min to practice so can be done at work to release muscle stress and fight fatigue.”

Assisting those unable to assist themselves

Thai massage
A traditional Thai massage session that incorporates Rusie Dutton

Unfortunately, menopause and its symptoms can last longer than a decade, affecting women well advanced in years. For these women, and those who are recovering from an injury, even a 10-minute session of physical activity can be challenging. A solution adopted by Chaan Thai and other traditional Thai massage centers has been to incorporate Rusie Dutton techniques into the massage therapy itself—combining the benefits of multiple techniques.

Rather than do all the movements themselves, the participant is encouraged to instead focus on their breathing and meditation technique while the massage therapist performs the Rusie Dutton movements for them. This form of exercise is especially beneficial for those recovering from an injury or those with little flexibility and strength to do the movements themselves. The approach combines the practical benefits of a physical therapy session with all the rest and relaxation benefits of a massage and mind-body therapy session.

Curious to try a Rusie Dutton-infused massage session? Come by Chaan Thai Massage at our Herndon or Fairfax locations in Virginia.

Achieve those New Year’s resolutions with Thai massage

Massage your New Year's Resolution

During the high spirits of the holiday season surrounded by friends and family, we often set lofty goals for ourselves to start the new year. Goals that are eventually abandoned due to a combination of habit, injury, and stress. Here are three ways to help you achieve those New Year’s resolutions, one of which is getting a Thai massage!

Breaking new habits

Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s the result of guilt from overeating or simply a determination to look different the next time around, the fact remains that it is also one of the most failed resolutions. Losing weight relies on the interplay of exercise and healthy eating, the latter representing the most important factor in weight loss. Unfortunately, it is easy to derail from healthy eating plans. A 2014 PLOS ONE study shows that “Despite resolutions to eat more healthfully after New Year’s, consumers may adjust to a new ‘status quo’ of increased less-healthy food purchasing during the holidays…” The authors offer a relatively simple solution: be mindful in substituting healthy items for less-healthy items and set goals based on pre-holiday grocery patterns.

Resting in between workouts

Working out goes hand-in-hand with weight loss as a common New Year’s resolution, and many of us actually follow through on this resolution during the first few weeks of the new year. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the seasonal demands for gym memberships, our attendance tapers off over the course of the year. One of the biggest contributors to abandoned gym memberships is an exercise-related injury. Most of us ignore or forget to schedule an appointment with our doctor (looking for a doctor in Herndon, VA?) to ensure we aren’t putting undue stress on our bodies. Your doctor will help you reduce the chance of injury by working with you to set moderate exercise goals and ensure you set aside enough rest in between workout days. Building in improved recovery measures with massage is another way. As we wrote late last year, Thai massage therapy has been used by sports players for years, with traditional Thai massage a favored technique for soccer players in Thailand. The study demonstrated improved recovery and fitness metrics across the board for the test group, with the authors postulating that the massage helped by improving flexibility and blood flow.

Relaxation for renewed focus

In our era of the Internet and technology, there is an ever-growing list of distractions out there acting as roadblocks to our New Year’s resolutions. Our hyper-connected society keeps us moving at a breakneck pace and makes it easy to lose track of time that we have otherwise earmarked for important tasks like cooking, cleaning, exercise, and work. Though this could be a time management problem, stress is a heavy contributor. Take a break from your busy day to relax and treat yourself to activities that both relax and get you offline. A Thai massage can be the perfect combination of both.

Your New Year’s resolutions are important, don’t give up on them. Taking on holiday habits, an injury, and stress stops many of us along the way, but it doesn’t have to. Massage those resolutions back into shape.

A winter repose with Thai herbal compress

Thai herbal compress

Traditional Thai massage exists in many forms and one ancillary technique developed from this practice uses herbal compresses or “Luk Prakob,” which has existed in Thailand for hundreds of years. The Thai herbal compress is purported to leverage a heat compress in conjunction with specially selected herbs to combine the benefits of applied heat (to improve blood flow), herbal ingredients (as anti-inflammatory agents), and aroma (to induce relaxation) to give a unique treatment that relieves muscle sprains and joint pain.

A systemic review of the Thai herbal compress was published earlier this year in order to test the efficacy of the technique and determine the full extent of its clinical effect. The authors of the article were able to conclude that the heat application from the herbal compress bestowed the majority of the benefit, with the herbal benefit depending largely on the type of herb used, the preparation, and the purpose. For instance, the consumption of some herbs like turmeric extract is known to be as effective as ibuprofen for treating knee osteoarthritis.

While the efficacy of the topical application of these herbs is still being studied, the authors concluded that the Thai herbal compress could be considered as an alternative treatment option to alleviate certain symptoms from osteoarthritis, muscle pain, and as a treatment of choice to induce lactation. They were also keen on the benefit of the Thai herbal compress for those who need to avoid potential adverse effects of contemporary treatments that use NSAIDs.

Thai herbal compresses are approved and listed on Thailand’s National List of Essential Medicines and are provided for therapeutic and rehabilitative purposes in most of the country’s public health service facilities. For the future, the authors recommended further study on the herbal benefit in addition to streamlining the herbal component through standardization and good manufacturing practices in order to better quantify its effects in studies.

Until then, the Thai herbal compress is a form of integrative and complementary medicine in the United States that is practiced by traditional massage therapists and in centers for complementary medicine.

If you are in the Fairfax, Virginia area, come by one of our Chaan Thai Massage locations to try a Thai herbal compress for yourself, a perfect repose for this chilly winter weather!

Dhippayom T. et al., Evid. Based Complement. Alternat. Med. 942378 (2015).

Gaining a physical fitness edge with Thai massage

Physical fitness with Thai massage

Massage has been widely used as a part of warm-up and recovery techniques in sports, with studies published showing the ability for massage to decrease muscle soreness, increase flexibility, improve blood flow, and increase a sense of well-being. Although traditional Thai massage has been used by soccer players in Thailand to help enhance their physical fitness for years, until recently there had been little supporting evidence of such a benefit.

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The budding science behind touch-based healing

Have you ever wondered why you feel better after a massage? Researchers have sought to answer that question. While the traditional explanation—that the success of the ritual hinges on the practitioner’s ability to change energy flows surrounding the body—may not be a satisfactory answer, it is not completely off base. Scientists are beginning to unravel the science behind touch-based healing.

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Introducing the Chaan Thai Blog

Chaan Thai Blog

The Chaan Thai Blog covers the latest news and research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by sharing potential benefits and other vital information to readers, and by describing how CAM can be incorporated to improve quality of life. While many forms of alternative medicine have not yet been shown in clinical trials to be more effective than placebos, CAM continues to grow in popularity across the world. In third world nations without adequate access to health care, alternative medicine is the only source of healing. And even in the United States, patients with incurable or untreatable chronic symptoms often seek refuge with CAM.

Continue reading “Introducing the Chaan Thai Blog”