How i fell in love

By Nicole van Zurk

‘Ready to take off’ said the pilot from our plane that August in 2010. I was supposed to go to Ghana for my work but I never arrived there. When the wheels of the airplane started to move, I felt a big bang on my head and everything became black. Apparently a suitcase fell on my head, quite a big one from the overhead locker.

It was not even my suitcase, and it was not even my plane seat! I had switched seats some minutes before with another passenger. How unfortunate… I remember vaguely that we had to taxi back to the gate, me in the ambulance and being in a bed in the hospital. My luck… another whiplash and severe concussion.

The suitcase that changed my life

Maybe the suitcase that fell on my head was meant to be for me? I don’t know. But what I know is that this suitcase changed my life! This was my seventh concussion and fourth whiplash. Yes, true! A bit clumsy I am and a bit unlucky with my head. One time fainted in the sauna, a ski accident, fallen down like a rock from a hill while roller-skating with self-made garbage-bag-wings (don’t laugh I was only seven and thought I could fly!), a tricycle-accident in the Philippines… etc… So my head was hurt again. Nothing else to do then wait and recover…

Why take pills instead take massage?

Some years before that I lived in the Philippines and my colleagues from work told me: ‘Why do you take pills for your neck pain and headaches? Why not receive massage?’ I was surprised, massage was in my eyes luxury, only when you go once in a while to a Spa or Wellness Center. Or for the rich and famous that had a weekly massage. And there I was working in an NGO and my colleagues got weekly massages. My colleagues told me it was super healthy to receive massage frequently and they did not know what stress, rsi or burn out was. And let me tell you, they worked very hard! Let alone, they lived in a very stressful surrounding with natural disasters, war and poverty. Weekly a masseur came to our office to massage us. Wow, amazing! This woman came from a small village to give us massages to prevent us from illnesses and cure diseases. There was even another NGO that taught (and still teaches) massage in small remote villages, so the villagers were able to learn how to massage each other. In these villages were no doctors, nor pharmacies, so they learned how to massage each other to help cure headaches, muscle pain, back pain, destress, improve the blood circulation and massage against insomnia. Wow, I liked to know more. So I took all different massages, watched the woman that massaged us in the office and went with the NGO to the villages to see how they learn massage.

How Thai massage cured me

I tried different massages. The traditional Thai yoga massage, received on a matt over loose cotton clothes, worked the best for me. My colleagues were right, I did feel super energetic, relaxed at the same time and most of all pain-free! So I got rid of my

ibuprofen and I started to receive weekly massage. Months later I moved to Thailand to follow the teacher training for Thai yoga massage Nuad Bo Rarn at ITM Chiang Mai. Once back in Amsterdam, I started to work part time in Thai yoga massage, teaching and giving treatments.

But then again… the suitcase fell on my head when in the airplane. And again I had a whiplash and concussion. It was my neurologist in Amsterdam however who advised me: ‘I am already 25 years a neurologist and about to retire so now I tell you: stop taking medicine, quit your office job and work full-time in Thai massage. This eastern technique we should use much more together with our western medicine. People should take less medicine and receive more traditional Thai massages to be cured!’ I was astonished again, why did my other doctors never told me this? I followed her advice and I fell in love completely with Thai massage again. My headache and pains disappeared and did not come back ever since!