Traditional Thai Massage
Traditional Thai style massage has gained popularity in recent years as many people have travelled to the country and experienced the beneficial effects of this energizing and rigorous form of massage.
Thai massage is sometimes referred to as Thai Yoga Massage although the Thai people themselves would not call it that. The style was originally developed and practiced by Buddhist monks as a part of traditional Thai medicine and healing.
The yoga reference comes from the similarity of some of the positions you will find yourself in when you receive a traditional Thai massage! The massage therapist uses their hands, feet, elbows, knees and body weight to lift and twist your body. The Thai techniques also include acupressure, joint mobilization and muscle compression throughout the session.
What to expect
A Thai massage is performed while you are fully clothed although you will need to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing for the massage. The massage takes place on a padded mat or thin mattress on the floor and no oil is applied to your body throughout the session.
During a Thai massage your therapist will use their body weight to massage and pummel your body – they may use their hands, feet or elbows to do this. Lines in your body known as ‘sen’ lines, similar to the meridian lines used in Chinese medicine, are tracked to stimulate your entire system. The therapist will also perform a number of twists and stretches to relieve tension especially in the back, neck, shoulders and legs. You will also have your fingers, toes and possibly your neck pulled and cracked!
A massage session can last from 1 to 2 hours and will leave you feeling both relaxed and energized. Muscles are soothed, joint tightness eased, circulation stimulated and your sense of well being heightened.
Thai Massage and Your Safety
It is important that you avoid eating heavily before a Thai massage session and that you wear clothing that does not restrict your movement or blood flow in any way. You should also let your therapist know of any medical problems you may have and also speak out during the massage if you find any move particularly uncomfortable. A lot of emphasis is given to twists and bends and this may not be suitable for people who experience back problems.
One technique used in Thai massage that needs careful consideration is a blood-stopping manoeuvre. In this technique the therapist will press down firmly on the major arteries that supply the legs and arms with blood, stopping the flow of blood. When the hold is released blood flows back into the area giving you an invigorating feeling of warmth. This technique must be avoided if you have high blood pressure, circulatory problems, varicose veins or you are pregnant.