The traditional healing massage of Thailand (commonly known as Thai massage) originated in India during the Buddha’s lifetime, over 2500 years ago. As Buddhism spread from India, so did this form of healing massage. Monks in Thailand originally used this therapy as one element of their healing practices, which consisted of dietary advice, the use of herbs, meditation, and what we now call Thai massage. This form of massage involves manipulation using stretching techniques and gentle pressure along the meridians or energy lines of the body.
How does it work?
The aim of Thai massage is to release toxins and waste materials from the joints, muscles and connective tissue, and stimulate internal organs by gentle pressure on specific energy points.
What does it involve?
Thai massage is carried out on a mat or thin mattress, which is laid out on the floor. The therapist uses both their hands and feet to apply pressure to the client’s fully-clothed body and to carry out a range of gentle stretching movements.
The therapist focuses on the client’s energy lines (which, in this therapy are called shen), with the aim of unblocking stagnant and trapped energy, stimulating specific energy points and encouraging the body’s own life force (or chi) to flow freely and easily. Thai massage is normally carried out in silence as, for the therapist, the giving of the massage is an important meditative and spiritual practice.
During the massage the client, whilst being manipulated gently and respectfully, is given the opportunity to look within and focus on the healing experience. A Thai massage can last for up to two hours and clients are advised to wear loose, comfortable clothes.
What is it good for?
Thai massage helps to relieve tension within the body and can be effectively used for pain relief. It improves the function of the lymph glands and blood circulation, balances the nervous system and clears out blocked and stagnant energy. It is appropriate for a range of musculoskeletal problems including back, neck, shoulder, hip and leg pain.
What are the benefits?
This form of massage is especially good for releasing stress and tension, and encouraging relaxation of both mind and body. Clients report that Thai massage is wonderfully soothing and relaxing and leaves them feeling energised, refreshed and with a deep sense of well-being.
What are the side effects and when should it be avoided?
Thai massage is suitable for everyone, including the very young and the very elderly. However, it should be avoided if you have osteoporosis or very brittle bones; spinal fusions or artificial hip, knee or elbow joints; phlebitis, haemophilia or lymphatic cancer. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, talk to your doctor before booking a treatment.