In a traditional Thai massage, practitioners use their hands, thumbs, elbows, forearms, and sometimes even feet to reduce tension in the muscles.
Thai massageis based on the idea that energy moves through the body along predictable lines or pathways known as sens. This ancient healing practice originated in India and dates back about 2,500 to 7,000 years ago. It is a form of therapeutic touch that differs in many ways from traditional massage.
Instead of a massage table, you lie on a mat on the floor while the provider manipulates your body in certain ways to stimulate your organs and improve flexibility. Thai massage uses gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the entire body. It combines acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles and assisted yoga poses. The idea of SEN-lines, aka energy lines, was first used as a Thai yoga massage.
These are similar to Nadis according to Gorakhnath's philosophy of yoga. You lie on a mat on the floor and the doctor stretches, massages and rotates, covering all parts of the client's body, from the top to the toes. Use your thumbs, palms, forearms, elbows, feet, knees, and even shins to press and stretch the body. Traditional Thai massage is also called Thai yoga massage because the therapist moves you to a series of yoga-like stretches.
A lot of people say Thai massage is like doing yoga without work. Traditional Thai medicine has four components to ensure good health: herbal medicine, the right diet, meditation and massage. All four are important for maintaining balance in health. The most important thing about Thai medicine is that it takes a preventive approach, treating the cause of an illness before it becomes serious.
Thai belief is that energy channels run throughout the body and if any of these channels are blocked it can create physical or emotional problems. A traditional Thai massage is believed to be beneficial for the body and mind as it eliminates bottlenecks or obstructions along the body's energy channels. If the energy channels are clean, a person's vital energy (qi or prana) can flow unhindered and ensure balanced health. That's why in traditional Thai massage, the masseur uses numerous flexion and stretching movements on the person being treated.
The therapist will use not only their hands but also their feet, knees, heels and elbows to exert pressure on the energy channels of the person being treated. Oils or lotions are not used with a traditional Thai body massage and the treatment simply consists of lying on a mat or mattress and letting the therapist do their work. If you're in Bangkok many consider Wat Pho to be the number one place in Thailand for a traditional Thai massage. Wat Pho has been the leading Thai massage school for many centuries and the therapists trained here earn tremendous praise.
It is also possible for foreigners to take a massage course in Wat Pho. There are also massage schools and courses in many other parts of Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai which has a lot of places where you can learn the art of traditional Thai massage. The results revealed that Thai massage increased energy and mental stimulation while Swedish massage was more likely to improve relaxation and sleep. A doctor from Thailand's Department of Traditional and Alternative Medicine warned that women in their first trimester should avoid massages because they can cause a spontaneous abortion.
Thai massage uses different techniques that open or restrict different Sen to correct the flow of vital energy. It can also improve circulation of fluid in joints or synovial fluid reducing friction between them. People with certain health conditions such as cancer or cardiovascular disease those who are pregnant or have just undergone surgery should not receive a Thai massage as it could pose health risks. Your masseuse will also only use their hands and forearms during a traditional massage unlike with Thai method which uses no equipment at all.
Relaxation combined with energizing and invigorating effects of Thai massage helps people feel mentally and physically restored. By disconnecting from hustle and bustle that surrounds you and sensory overload of life receiving a massage in Thailand gives you space and time to leave behind stress and tensions; a meditational therapy that guides you to experience “now” in liberating way that resonates with your entire being.