The gentle movement, connective experience, and deep sense of loving compassion expressed in Thai massage make it not only an effective massage for treating physical ailments, but also part of living a centered life.
Thai massage has its roots in ancient Thailand, but has been welcomed around the world by modern bodyworkers and healing practitioners who have discovered this unparalleled experience of relaxation and healing.
Thai massage is known as a powerful massage method for natural pain relief, which is what brings many people in search of massage in the first place.
History of Thai Massage
Thai massage is an ancient healing art that dates back over 2500 years. It is an oral tradition that has been passed down in the villages and families of Thailand for many years.
Based on the limited historical texts still maintained in Thailand (many were destroyed during the Burmese invasion in the 1700’s), the three primary facets of ancient medicine in Thailand were Buddhist meditation, dietary practices, herbalism, massage and applied acupressure.
Practitioners of Nuad Boran, traditional Thai massage, would study and practice all three of these aspects of Thai medicine. For many Thai people, Thai massage is a natural extension of their practice of the buddhist teaching of “metta,” applied loving kindness and compassion.
There is a strong connection between the temple grounds of buddhist worshippers and monks, and Thai healing modalities. Even today, you can find Thai massage, herbal compresses, herbal remedies and steam baths at temples throughout Thailand. Some temples even have massage schools attached to the temples.
Modern Thai Massage
Over the last several decades, Thai massage schools and training programs have opened up around the world and made this ancient practice available to western students.
Students of Thai massage learn to use their own body weight to treat their clients with stretches, joint movements, traction, and acupressure to create a well-rounded treatment. Research shows that Thai massage is effective for boosting the function of the parasympathetic nervous system—which triggers the body’s rest and relaxation response—and can successfully treat conditions such as chronic tension headaches.
With the rising popularity of other complementary practices like yoga—some describe Thai massage as “passive yoga”—Thai massage has blossomed into one of the fastest-growing niches within the bodywork industry.
Mechanics of Thai Massage
Thai massage is very different from western table-based oil massage in that the practitioner gets to use their whole body to apply the pressure and stretches of the practice to the client. It is also almost entirely mat-based, occuring on a padded cushion on the ground underneath of the client. The client is fully clothed, and the practitioner assists them in moving about the mat depending upon the posture needed for a given movement.
Because of the wide variety of movements and stretches used in Thai massage, it is an excellent choice to alleviate common client problems including low back pain and tension headaches. In addition to pain relief, it can also provide significant stress relief.
When proper alignment is practiced, Thai massage can be as beneficial for the practitioner as for the client, since the practitioner’s whole body is used to move the client through various postures, and is therefore experiencing compression, movement and muscle lengthening at the same time as the client experiences it.
If you think that Thai massage is something you want to try, head over to our website, find a practitioner who offers Thai massage, and book your first session today!