The staff, children, and mothers of Baan Unrak have been studying the foundations of Thai and Ayurvedic medicine for the last several days with our new volunteer from the US, Kymber Owens. Kymber is a yoga teacher, massage therapist, and a certified ayurvedic health counselor. She also specializes in massage and herbal bodywork therapies from Thailand. Kymber has been offering complimentary massage and herbal bodywork treatments for the children and mothers, as well as teaching them how to provide the treatments for each other.
Baan Unrak is home to several children with special needs, as well as many hardworking mothers and caregivers who are in need of receiving care themselves. A few of the teenage girls have been learning to give treatments to one of our children with special needs. Even a very small little girl was excited to learn how to give treatments to her mother! A few of the staff members and volunteers have also been participating in the courses.
Both Thai and Ayurvedic medicine are based on the theory of the five elements: air, ether, fire, water, earth. Sometimes in Thai medicine, the space (or ether) element is sometimes left out to create a four element theory. Yet, all five are considered for many types of ailments and conditions. The staff, children, and mothers have been learning about how different oils and herbs benefit the different elements. For instance, sesame oil is beneficial for reducing the air element, and coconut oil is beneficial for reducing the fire element.
Kymber has also been teaching how to prepare various herbal therapies with herbs that grow right here in the jungle. A few of the herbs we have used this week include guduchi, turmeric, ginger, lemongrass, camphor, keffir lime, tamarind, and cinnamon, to name a few. Many of these plants grow right here at Baan Unrak, and the rest can be purchased at the local market down the street.
Baan Unrak has also been sharing with Kymber a few traditions about Thailand. One of our staff members was sharing in a workshop a few days ago that after a person receives a massage (or herbal treatment), that it is traditional for that person to pour a cup of water over the hands of the person giving the treatment. This helps to separate the energies of the receiver and practitioner, and is offered as a symbol of gratitude. Kymber was quite pleased and honored to receive this offering of water from one of our children.
Kymber has also been helping Didi, our founder, to prepare a business plan for a new wellness retreat center at Baan Unrak called Body/Mind/Spirit Rejuvenation Center. The Rejuvenation Center will offer yoga, meditation, and wellness retreats to public guests and members of Ananda Marga. The Rejuvenation Center will also offer workshops on natural medicine for our staff, children, and our local community members. We hope for the new retreat center building to be open in 2019. The Rejuvenation Center proceeds will directly benefit Baan Unrak Children’s Home and its affiliate projects.