There are so many different types of massage, particularly in Western culture, for example, there’s Swedish massage and Deep Tissue massage but look further afield and you will find Thai massage. The question is what’s the difference? Is it specific to certain muscles or parts of the body and what are the key benefits? This article will answer the question what is Thai massage and what it can do for you.
Thai massage history
Thai massage comes all the way from the Far East, its home being Thailand. A truly energising treatment, Thai massage was introduced thousands of years ago by a Thai gentleman called Shivago Komarpaj (sometimes referred to as Father Doctor).
He was the doctor and friend of Buddha and in ancient times, his medical texts were carved in stone giving instruction on how to perform Thai massage. Today, these ancient texts can be viewed on the walls of the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok.
So, we know that Thai massage has been practiced for thousands and thousands of years in the Far East and across the globe. It’s still very popular today and there are some great benefits to be had from the technique.
Thai massage technique and focus
If you have ever booked a Thai massage in different countries, you might notice some differences. For example, in the South of Thailand, the focus is mainly on pressure points which correspond to energy areas in the body, whereas in the North, the focus is heavily on stretching. In Western countries, Thai massage combines both stretching and pressure points.
Thai massage also focuses on the energy lines in the body (Meridian lines). During illness, the Thai culture believes that the body’s balance is knocked off centre. Thai massage restores the wavering balance and encourages the return of the flow of energy. Thai massage therapists apply pressure on these energy points, releasing muscle tension, stretching out muscles and boosting energy flow. They use their body weight as well as hands, fingers, thumbs, feet, elbows, forearms and knees.
To begin with, a Thai therapist will work on the line down the centre of the body and use their palms and thumbs along the area. This is especially to warm up the muscles and encourage good blood flow. Your therapist will also work the joints, getting rid of tension and restoring flexibility, which is excellent if you are experiencing stiffness.
It’s not just a physical response either; Thai massage is excellent for restoring positive emotion too. You should expect a deep, thorough massage which may be slightly uncomfortable in areas but should still feel pleasurable.
Thai massage benefits
Thai massage is usually performed on a mat, on the floor and there’s no oil involved because the massage is done through clothing. This is very different to Swedish massage or deep tissue massage, both of which are performed on a massage bed, using essential oils and usually almost entirely undressed.
Let’s look at what benefits Thai massage brings:
- Thai massage releases muscular tension
- The massage encourages joint and muscle flexibility and mobility
- It improves breathing patterns
- It’s designed to encourage good blood flow
- You’ll find it gives the immune system a boost
- It also promotes mental clarity
- The massage encourages positive emotion and feelings of wellness
- It’s good for worries as it relieves stress and anxiety
- It boosts stamina levels
Finally, a Thai massage gives you an overall feeling of good health and relaxation.
You should consider booking a Thai massage if you suffer with muscular tension, tiredness, emotional stress and anxiety as it will almost certainly restore the harmony your mind and body needs.