PERFECT HARMONY: AN INNSBRUCK MONK

INNSBRUCK MONK USES SHAOLIN MASSAGE TO RESTORE A SKIER’S BALANCE


Innsbruck monk? For the last 1,500 years, monks at the famed Shaolin Temple in the verdant mountains of China’s Henan Province have been practicing an assortment of arts meant to better the human mind, body, and soul. The birthplace of Chan Buddhism and the cradle of kung fu, this monastery’s monks are also trained in an ancient form of Chinese massage known as Shaolin. Stemming from the Tui Na method of Chinese manipulative therapy — which archaeologists have dated as far back as 2,700 B.C. — the Shaolin method has been used by monks at the Shaolin Temple to cure medical conditions and alleviate chronic pain.

THIS JACKIE CHAN OF SHAOLIN MONKS SOMEHOW MANAGES TO RESTORE A SKIER’S MIND AND BODY TO HARMONY.

perfect-harmony2One of these monks, an Innsbruck monkShi Yan Xuan — a 34th-generation master in kung fu, tai chi, qigong and Shaolin massage — is now in residence at the Adlers Hotel, the newest, tallest, most futuristic hotel in Innsbruck, with a birds-eye view of Austria’s glistening alps and a sky-high spa overlooking Innsbruck’s snow-laden rooftops. Master Xuan’s task at the Adlers: tending to skiers sore from riding the slopes of Kühtai, Igls, or Innsbruck’s wondrous Stubai Glacier.

So much more than humdrum muscle massage, the ultimate goal of an après-ski Shaolin massage is the reduction and prevention of stress. Master Xuan turns his razor-sharp focus on the regulation of his client’s internal and external systems, intent on bringing a skier’s mind and body back into harmony.

As Master Xuan demonstrates, achieving harmony isn’t always Zen-like. Clad in togs of brilliant orange, the monk zeros in with relish on a skier’s various acupressure points in order to clear energy pathways and to facilitate the flow of energy. His Shaolin massage is a mix of traction and martial arts — including kneading, rubbing, brushing, squeezing, pushing, and pulling the areas around a skier’s joints. Master Xuan’s technique can even be described as kung fu on the body.

Does it work? Absolutely. Despite his zestful manipulation of the body on the Adlers Spa massage table, this Jackie Chan of Shaolin monks somehow manages to restore a skier’s mind and body to harmony — a 1,500-year-old healing gift from the birthplace of Buddhism now available in the birthplace of modern alpine skiing from an Innsbruck monk.
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