The traditional Thai massage has been around for thousands of years, with ancient medical texts preserving the craft, to be passed from one generation to the next.
It differs from other massage therapies, as it is not a passive experience. Along with the kneading of muscles with palms, the masseuse will also use their feet to work the body, which will be stretched and twisted to relieve tension.
There may even be a few yoga positions required throughout the treatment, blending two ancient Eastern traditions together.
- What is a Thai Massage?
- Who is Suitable for a Thai Massage?
- The Benefits of a Thai Massage
- Where you Can Find a Thai Massage
Even though Thai massage is quite different from other popular massage therapies, such as sports massage, it can still prove to be a relaxing and uplifting experience. The purpose of the massage is to clear any blockages of the meridian (energy) lines around the body, so that energy can flow freely, restoring balance and harmony throughout the body. This is achieved by massaging and stretching the muscles and manipulating the body into yoga poses.
A traditional Thai massage usually takes place on a padded mat on the floor (or similar) and will take place fully clothed and without the use of oils. Starting with meridian work, the masseuse will use their palms and thumbs to apply pressure along the energy lines. This will increase blood flow, warming up the muscles before moving on to deeper pressure and manipulation of the joints to relieve any stiffness and tension. These steps are important as they prepare the body for movement and manipulation, to get the greatest results from the stretching.
During the stretching part of the massage, your masseuse will use their knees, elbows, and feet to gain just the right amount of leverage to manipulate your limbs into deep stretches. You will also be guided through some partner yoga poses, none of which should be too uncomfortable.
As this is a deep tissue massage and there is manipulation of the body, there may be a small amount of pain during the treatment, particularly if the muscles are very tight. For this reason, Thai massage is not suitable for those with bone or joint conditions, pregnancy, a skeletal condition, varicose veins, thrombosis, and high blood pressure. It is also not suitable for elderly clients or those who have had a recent surgical procedure. However, for certain conditions, a Thai masseuse may be able to adapt their massage.
The Thai massage is best suited to clients with muscle tension, and for those who need to relieve emotional and physical tension. A client can go into a massage feeling fatigued and leave feeling completely rejuvenated.
A Thai massage from an experienced masseuse can work wonders on the body and mind. Research has shown that the invigorating massage has a number of beneficial effects on both the mind and body, including:
Alleviates Anxiety and Lower Mood
Thai massage has been linked to an improvement in mood disorders as well as reducing anxiety and tension. Furthermore, deep massages have been demonstrated to reduce the levels of cortisol (i.e. the stress hormone), to aid in relaxation.
Improves Chronic Lower Back Pain
Traditional massage therapy has been proven to reduce pain in those with lower back conditions. Research has shown that the improvement in muscle pain is not just limited to the lower back, but can be beneficial in other muscle groups too, thanks to the boosted energy and blood flow.
Court-type Thai massage is a technique that targets specific meridians. It has been shown to be effective in reducing incidences in those with migraines and chronic tension headaches. This may be a result of the induced relaxation of the sympathetic nervous system, and the stimulation of the lymphatic system.
Regular Thai massages and their assisted yoga poses will stretch the body in a safe and controlled way, gradually leading to better flexibility and range of motion in the joints. Furthermore, Thai massage can improve the symptoms of those suffering from osteoarthritis, thanks to its beneficial effect on the musculoskeletal system.
There is no need to travel all the way to the Far East to get the best Thai massage. There are many Thai Massage specialists in UK cities like London or Manchester, who will be fully trained in the traditional technique. A Thai massage should only be performed by a fully accredited massage therapist at a fully licensed and insured spa or salon.