Did you know how therapeutic Thai massage can be, and the many benefits it has to offer? In this article, we take a closer look at the ancient healing art of Thai bodywork.
What is Thai massage?
Traditional Thai massage, also known as Thai Yoga massage, has its roots in Ayurveda and Buddhism and is believed to have been brought to Thailand from India some 2,000 years ago. It was originally developed as a medical practice to prepare the body for the prevention of sickness and disease and is still widely used in Thai medicine today.
Thai massage works by applying a combination of acupressure and manipulative adjustments in the form of assisted yoga-style stretches to rebalance the Lom Pran (life force) which flows throughout the Sen Sib (10 energy channels) in our body. By following these natural energy lines we can remove stagnant energy and blockages that have built up due to muscular tension, negative patterns and emotional attachments.
What are the benefits of Thai massage?
The aim of Thai massage is to encourage the body’s natural ability to heal itself, through the sensitive touch and nurturing energy of the therapist. It has been said that “Thai massage is the art of giving from two hands and the heart” and most therapists bring an intention of metta or loving kindness to their treatments.
Thai massage offers countless benefits for the circulatory, musculoskeletal, nervous, respiratory and digestive systems, such as:
- increasing muscle strength
- opening the joints
- developing flexibility
- removing emotional and physical blockages
- releasing tension
- revitalising energy
- encouraging a profound state of relaxation
- bringing the body back into balance
Regular massage can lessen or alleviate a wide range of conditions, such as:
- headaches & migraines
- back pain
- neck & shoulder stiffness
- anxiety & depression
- high blood pressure
- digestive issues
- menstrual cramps
What to expect during a session
A typical Thai massage lasts around 90 minutes and is given fully clothed on a futon-style mattress on the floor. Your therapist will stretch and manipulate various parts of your body and will ask you to inhale and exhale at certain points. It is important to wear comfortable clothes you can move in and not to eat for at least 1-2 hours beforehand. As with any massage, you should drink lots of water afterwards.
Your therapist may invite you to focus on anything you wish to release, i.e. anything that no longer serves you in your life. This could be mental, emotional or physical, and is a wonderful way to harmonise the mind with the body.
Dispelling the myths
Unfortunately, Thai massage has gained a bit of a reputation for being brutal, or even painful. In my experience, Thai practitioners tend to use a lot more force, “cracking” and even walking on the back in some cases. Rest assured, most practitioners in the west are focused on relaxing and rejuvenating their clients, whilst encouraging a deep release of tension and an increased sense of wellbeing.
You should let your therapist know if you experience any pain during a treatment. “Good” muscular pain is fine, but sharp, shooting pain is not!
– Hannah Moss
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