Alexandra Schunemann says she may be able to ease modern stress-related problems by using ancient therapy techniques.

Many people are now turning to alternative forms of therapy to help them cope with the stresses and strains of daily life.

One practice which has recently gained popularity, although it is thousands of years old, is Thai yoga massage.

Practioner Alexandra Schunemann, from Brighton, says interest has steadily been growing and demand for help through her massage increasing.

This particular form of massage is an ancient form of bodywork based on the theory the body is made up of 84,000 Sen or energy lines, of which ten hold priority.

During a session, the practitioner places the patient's body in different yoga-like positions and uses pressure points and rhythmic compression to induce a deep, relaxed state.

This allows the energy to flow more freely around the body and create an all-over sense of wellbeing.

This type of massage is also known as Nuad Bo Rarn and has been taught and practised in Thailand for more than 2,500 years.

Credit for its development is given to Jivaka Khumar Bhacca from Northern India, believed to be a contemporary of the Buddha.

He is considered to be the Father of Medicine and prayer ceremonies to invoke and honour his presence are conducted regularly. They are considered essential to the practice of the massage.

Alexandra trained in New York where she established a school for traditional Thai Yoga massage.

She said: "It has always been something that greatly interested me and I wanted other people to learn its benefits.

"I like the idea of having a holistic approach. There is a lot of discussion with the patient beforehand so we get things exactly right for them.

"Combining the yoga with the massage is very effective and always leaves people feeling relaxed and re-energised at the same time.

"Feedback has been very positive and people say this type of session really helps them to cope with other aspects of their lives."

The massage is practised on a firm mattress on the floor while the receiver remains fully clothed.

After a short discussion about lifestyle, health and overall physical condition, the session begins.

It is important that all parts of the body are treated so the massage is carried out in four different positions - front, side, back and sitting.

Palm pressure warms the body, while slow, deep thumb pressure unblock the Sen lines.

Gentle stretches lead to deeper, yoga-like positions, all of which "open" the body, helping to increase circulation and relieve stress.

Each session is tailored to suit individual needs and the massage is suitable for and beneficial to anyone, irrespective of their level of fitness.

Alexandra, whose patients include people from Brighton and Hove and across East Sussex, said: "People are certainly becoming more interested in Thai yoga massage.

"The good thing about this type of practice is that it suits many different people.

"It can be adapted to accommodate individual requirements such as whether a person is large or heavy or whether they have problems with their back.

"I have a chat beforehand to find out their various needs and problems and work from there.

"Some people assume that massage involves having their body covered in oil, and this can put them off, but this is not the case with Thai yoga massage."

The treatments generally help to relieve physical and emotional problems caused by stress and are also effective in easing back, shoulder and neck pain.

Regular sessions increase fitness and flexibility and are equally useful for people who do a lot of sport and for those who don't exercise at all.

Alexandra said: "If you spend most of the day sitting in front of a computer screen, yoga can help stretch and ease the muscles, helping them to relax. It can also help with posture."

For more details, call the Dyke Road Clinic in Brighton on 01273 561845 or Alexandra on 01273 600726.