Running an Thai Herbal Compress Workshop is the most labour intensive workshop that Natasha de Grunwald currently offers, but it is also one of her favourites. It is a 2 day workshop where students learn to make and use therapeutic Thai Herbal Compresses.
Natasha spends days running around to various Asian supermarkets all over London and make endless phone calls to hunt down obscure herbs, roots and spices. She finds herself in wonderful fabric shops and charity shops and then borrows equipment from friends, neighbours and whoever else she thinks may have what is needed. Natasha also has to contend with the fact that, sadly and surprisingly London does not have a big Thai community and therefore some of the herbs she wants are not available at all. This means some of the recipes are short of a few ingredients.
A call and message to her teacher who reassures Natasha that this is just the way it is and what she can get hold of will be superbly therapeutic and smell wonderful.
Natasha then spends hours preparing and drying herbs, fruits and roots and has invested in a dehydrating machine to help speed up the process turning fresh produce to dried.
Throughout all the preparations strong scents like kaffir lime, Eucalyptus and lemongrass permeate her house and this builds her excitement for teaching class. She loads the car with equipment such as pestle and mortars, jars, trays, fabric, herbs, steamers and much more.
Then, as Natasha finally sits down with her students and starts teaching how to make medicinal Thai herbal compresses she realise how much joy it brings me not only because they are truly an awesome massage tool, (Natasha personally uses them in nearly every treatment she gives) but because it is so rewarding making something from herbs that will go deep into the body, nourish and heal.
However, it is more than that – the whole process of making the Thai Herbal Compress together is also really special. Its time consuming and repetitive but incredibly therapeutic as we sit together chatting, laughing, creating, pounding and preparing – being very much in the moment and feeling like a community (or a production line!).
Massaging the body with these small bundles of lovely, natural, medicinal herbs is incredible – it is both easy on the practitioner’s body and deeply therapeutic for the recipient. Natasha looks forward to teaching more of the Herbal Compress Workshops soon – you can find out more here.