Ken Rosen has been studying medicine since he was diagnosed with cancer over thirty years ago. A qualified Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) specialist with over a decade of experience, Ken is now in residence at the Six Senses Spa at Soneva Kiri Resort, down on the island of Koh Kood, until November 9, after which it’s on to the Mandarin Oriental Spa here in town from November 16 until December 15. We asked him to outline his holistic approach, and found a man with a creative mind as well as caring hands.
What exactly is TCM and what does it entail?
There are five branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine designed to keep people healthy. Acupuncture, the most well-known and accepted form of TCM in the Western World, is the third branch. First, is lifestyle or exercise which could include everything from prayer to yoga to rest. The second branch involves the study of nutrition and diet, followed by acupuncture, herbal medicine, and massage. They all interact as proactive and preventative methods of maintaining wellness and to treat illness/ pain/imbalance before it occurs.
When and how did you start to know about it?
I had cancer as a young boy and later I had another diagnosis of cancer as a result of the radiation from the first cancer. That is when I decided to take my health into my own hands. I started reading many books on alternative health care, nutrition, yoga, Taosim and just learning about well-being. I first learned about TCM from reading a book called Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Dr. Elson Haas. Many more books and proper schooling followed.
How have you benefited from it?
Understanding how the body is connected to the mind, diagnosis and ultimately balance in your life is really is how I have benefited. TCM is a great framework with yin/yang, five elements, and so on to help empower you toward better balance in life.
What are the most common reasons people come to see you?
Without a doubt the majority of cases I deal with are due to stress, overwork, aches and pains. I also treat people with chronic pain and a variety of illnesses. The thing about acupuncture is that even people who feel well and have no known health issues can benefit from having a treatment as it is hugely beneficial, not only physically but also mentally. Those little tiny needles mysteriously vibrate in your body, unwinding your nervous system so your mind, body and spirit can be restored to balance.
How do see you the function of TCM in spa?
TCM is a solid framework for understanding the body, mind and spirit. The spa industry is craving more than just pampering treatments. I think introducing treatments that go beyond pampering is a good idea. People want results and I don’t blame them. Also, don’t forget that the first and most important branch of TCM is exercise. Spas can really use the strength of traditions like yoga, qi gung, meditation, and tai qi instead of trying to plug people into a treadmill for an hour as the only way to move the body.
What is your favourite spa treatment?
My favourite spa treatment is still a good two hour Thai massage. With its slow, rhythmic nature, it works on the energy lines or meridians of the body, helping to connect the body with the mind. As you rest, you heal. Bliss.
November 16 – December 15
The Oriental Spa Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
48 Oriental Avenue | 02-659-9000 | mandarinoriental.com/bangkok/luxury-spa
Find out more about his work at www.spatcm.com