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Let’s Tok: Thailand’s Vibrational Therapy Makes Waves in the States

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  • Tok Sen
    Tok Sen is an ancient Thai vibrational therapy that was originally taught to monks. Very little written literature exists on Tok Sen as this modality was, and still is, passed down from teacher to student.
  • Tok Sen
    Traditionally, Tok Sen is performed in temples in a group setting, however, the treatment has been modified to be performed in a treatment room in a spa setting.
  • Tok Sen
    The practitioner quite literally taps into the client’s energy flow with a wooden hammer and peg.
  • Tok Sen
    Similar to meridian lines in Chinese medicine, the 26,000 sen lines are associated with the body’s anatomy. Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is one of the few spas in the United States that offers this treatment.
  • Tok Sen
    Each set of tools is hand-carved and blessed by monks.
  • Tok Sen
    Tools made from thunderwood—wood from a tree that has been struck by lightning—are said to have an energy all their own.

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Tok Sen is a traditional Thai vibrational therapy designed to relax and immerse the client in the rhythmic energy created by this ancient modality. Tok Sen is based on the theory that because the body is comprised of 70% water, each tap is sending a ripple effect through the body, like tossing a pebble in a lake.

At Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa (Paradise Valley, Arizona.), Tok Sen is performed by a group of elite Sensei Therapists, who have received extensive training above and beyond that of traditional spa professionals. Ginny Poole is one such sensei therapist who actually brought Tok Sen to Arizona after receiving training in Thailand.

“There was something that drew me to it, and I thought ‘I have to take this training,’” said Poole. “I even messaged my Thai teachers in the United States, and they didn’t know what it was, so I took the training and it just blew me away.”

Good Vibrations

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Literally translated, tok means to hammer, and sen refers to the energy lines known in Thai massage. True to its name, the practitioner uses a hand-carved hammer and peg to gently tap along the body’s 26,000 sen lines, which are linked to the anatomy, similar to meridian lines in Chinese medicine. In doing so, the vibration releases energy blockages, relaxes the body, softens the muscles and creates a trance-like state.

“There’s an energetic flow to it, that’s why we call it a vibrational therapy.” —Ginny Poole, Sensei Therapist 

“Everyone has their own vibration, so I may start to work on you and tap into your rhythm and that may slow or speed up depending on the connection I have with the rhythm of your body,” explained Poole.

Traditionally, Tok Sen is performed in a Thai temple with multiple therapists practicing on clients at the same time. In the U.S., the treatment has been adapted to be performed privately in a treatment room and accompanied by Thai massage, stretching and compressions.

“In Thailand, when you have a room full of practitioners performing Tok Sen on multiple people, you hear all these different tapping sounds,” said Poole. “You would think it would be distracting but it’s very hypnotic.”

At Sanctuary, a typical Tok Sen treatment begins with the client lying face up. Some light stretching, compressions and traditional Thai massage techniques are then applied before the vibrational therapy begins. Tapping follows the rhythm of the energy within the body.

“There’s an energetic flow to it, that’s why we call it a vibrational therapy,” Poole explained.

Tok Sen Training

Poole began her training in Thailand in 2010, and returned the following year for advanced training. After her trip, Sanctuary was the first spa in the U.S. to offer the service and now provides training to therapists wanting to learn this ancient modality.

Poole notes that Tok Sen is regaining popularity in Thailand and training is much more readily available there than it has been in previous years. However, very little written literature exists as it is traditional passed down from teacher to student.

“Everything is very energetic based. The tools are hand-carved, all of them are blessed by monks before they’re used and some of them have prayers [chiseled into] them. There’s also a thought that some tools that are made out of wood that’s called thunderwood—from a tree that has been struck by lightning—holds a different energy and a higher vibration.”

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