Traditional Thai Massage
Traditional Thai Massage
What is the historical significance of Thai massage?
The roots of Thai massage date back to the founder of the practice, Shivago Komarpaj, known as Father Doctor. He was a doctor and friend to the Buddha. Ancient medical texts were carved in stone to preserve the tradition of Thai massage and these can be seen upon the walls in the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok.
The ancient knowledge and practice of Thai massage has been passed down from parents to children, ensuring that generations continue to benefit from these traditional techniques.
Thai massage techniques differ, depending on which areas of the country you are in. Today, these differences are found mainly in remote areas. In the South of Thailand the emphasis is on pressure points (focussing on the energy lines) and in the North of Thailand stretching is emphasised. People gather from different regions, exchanging their techniques of Thai massage. Today, commercially, Thai massage combines both pressure points and stretching.
What are the basic principles of Thai massage?
Thai massage works on the meridian (energy) lines within the body. When you become ill, the flow of energy around the body has become blocked or is not flowing as freely as it should. When you have a Thai massage it encourages the flow of energy, bringing harmony and balance to the body.
Thai massage therapists have an intuitive sense and feeling to know where to apply pressure and for how long to press, aiming to release muscular tension and stretch out tight muscles, ultimately encouraging flow of energy around the body.
When therapists use their body weight to release stress and tension from within the muscles it works deeper and is more focused. Therapists combine leverage and balance of their own body weight to apply more or to ease off, ensuring they use the correct pressure on each client.
Throughout a Thai massage the therapist will start with meridian work. This means palm and thumb presses along the energy lines, which warms the muscles and increases blood flow. Working around the joints, releasing tension and encouraging movement occurs before stretching of the limbs. Through working on the meridian lines and joints, it warms up the body physically and emotionally enabling maximum benefit from the stretching.
How is Thai massage different to other massage therapies?
The Thai method uses pressure points, muscle stretching and compression in a rhythmic motion. When doing a Thai massage, therapists use their hands, feet, elbows, forearms and knees. It is performed on a mat on the floor using no oils, as it is done on top of clothes.
Western styles of massage are usually performed on a couch and use oil, directly on the skin in long, scooping and continuous strokes.
Thai massage techniques
Examples of finger pressure and stretches used in Thai massage.
What is Thai massage good for?
Thai massage can release muscular tension, increase flexibility and mobility of joints and improve breathing. The techniques used can also help to increase blood circulation, boost the immune system and promote mental clarity.
A Thai massage experience can help you relieve stress and anxiety, encourages the flow of energy through your body, raise energy levels and stamina and promote an overall feeling of relaxation and well-being.
Who would Thai massage be most suitable for?
Thai massage is most suitable for people with lots of muscular tension, those suffering from mind and body fatigue, and people with emotional stress and worries.