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Valerie Passion Flower

Maui healer teaches and practices the “magic of Thai Massage.”

July 29, 2010
Trisha Smith

I was overjoyed to discover the best of both worlds in Thai Yoga Massage, or Thai Massage as it’s widely known. After meeting Valerie Mandall, an international teacher and therapist of Thai Massage and much more, I learned nearly all the poses are Traditional Thai Massage techniques and ancient stretches that trace back 2,500 years to Asia and the spread of Buddhism.

Valerie’s work spans over 26 years. She’s approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, teaching this ancient Ayurvedic healing art at workshops in Thailand, Bali, India, Nepal, U.S. and elsewhere.

This interactive bodywork is a unique healing system performed on a mat on the floor, where clients remain passive while the practitioner physically moves them, distinctively stretching and kneading muscles at the same time. Thai Massage—aka “lazy man’s yoga”—helps you achieve “flexibility, inner organ massage, oxygenation of the blood and quieting of the mind” similar to yoga.

Article Photos

Valerie Mandall shares the power of Thai Massage with Maui.

Brooklyn-born Valerie realized early her desire to travel, inspire and teach, and sought an open-minded “life of nonattachment.” She developed a distaste for “the bureaucratic educational system” she experienced. “My life runs in 10-year cycles,” said Valerie. “It’s been an interesting journey.”

The young, hippie vegetarian—who still carries the name “Passion Flower”— married an Oregon cattle rancher, spending a decade horseback riding across open spaces, working hard and maintaining the land. “I developed strong hands—now I wrestle people’s pains away,” she said.

This “wonder woman” of Thai Massage has journeyed to the far ends of the Earth to study techniques from the very lands it originated. After visiting Maui on holiday in 1978, the island verve called to her, but she traveled overseas and found her passion abroad. Living in Asia for 10 years, she received her Thai Massage training from Pichet Boonthumme and other highly respected master teachers in Thailand. “Massage is a gift of vital energy, a blessing—the Thai practice in a prayerful way,” she said.

During her time in Thailand, Valerie taught at the Old Medicine Hospital, giving massage as much as she could and worked in 10-day schedule cycles. She even did outcalls to the Himalayas while in Asia. “Sometimes, it took two days to fix a body,” said Valerie.

In 1995, she attended a Sufi camp in East Maui on her way back to Asia and fell in the middle of her “tribe.” “The Sufi way is like polishing rust off your heart—opening it to love, harmony and beauty, regardless of personal beliefs,” she said. “They’re kind of like the gypsies of religion.”

The nature and “rhythm of the islands” brought her back “home” to Maui for good in 1996. “It’s never been a struggle here—always welcoming,” she said.

After spending 13 years at ground-level on a mat, she “got onto the table” on Maui, fine-tuning Thai Table Stretching techniques, which practitioners can add to any modality of massage.

She learned “jep dee,” or good pain, in Thailand and said stressed clients are like “pieces of rock—you must pound them into something more malleable.” “Nowadays, I’m gentler with our sacred bodies,” she said.

A gifted teacher, Valerie has taught a variety of student workshops the “magic of Thai Massage and its tissue-changing modalities,” with deep concentration on stretching. “It’s a giving tool and creates dynamic changes,” she said. “Tissue work without stretching is no good—if you don’t move and stretch, you won’t grow or change.” 

She polished her skills during her decade as a massage therapist at Four Seasons Resort Maui—designing treatments that remain on the menu today—and was honored with “Best Hands” by luxury magazine Elite Traveler in 2005.

Valerie’s kuleana is Thai Massage, but she recommends a “menu of goodness.” On the floor, or a table, she’s proficient in massage offerings, including deep tissue and orthopedic, cranio sacral, reflexology, hot stones, Thai herbal poultice and lomi lomi, or “Hawaiian Style Massage.”

Explore Valerie’s ancient methods and calming fashion as preventive medicine. She also offers sound nutritional advice, and asserts “stretching it out” can “work out” many injuries.

“Frequently, when those in pain seek treatments and drugs from medical doctors, a whole new set of problems arises,” said Valerie.

Are you tired of living in pain? Invite Valerie’s “magic hands” to “fix your body” and transform you into a more flexible, relaxed, lighter and less painful being.

“When you’re ready to feel better and start healing, come see me,” she said.

Begin your therapeutic journey and contact Valerie Mandall, LMT (HI MAT #5290) at 264-4333 or thaimassage@hotmail.com. Insurance is welcomed, and she accepts outcalls.

 
 
 

 

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