Thai massage is a practice that has been around for over 2,500 years. It is only recently that the western world has begun to appreciate this beneficial healing practice.
The growing popularity is owed to the distinct method used by the masseuse. The practitioner uses their whole body to perform the massage, which is several yoga-like stretches that involve the entire body.
You can receive several health benefits from participating in this relaxing massage. It has been proven to be an effective muscle relaxant, inspire wellness, and boost energy levels.
The History of Thai Massage
It is a commonly held belief that the roots of the Thai Massage originated from India, with the founder of the practice being Shivago Komarpaj, the personal physician of the Buddha. There are also influences from Chinese and Southeast Asian cultures but many assert that the credit for the practice belongs to Komarpaj.
Unfortunately, the recorded history of Thai massage suffered a loss in 1767. We do know, however, that following World War II Thailand became an increasingly popular holiday destination, increasing western awareness and demand for Thai massages. By the late 1980s, it had reached the United States and was beginning to become a widespread phenomenon.
The practices within the method employed onto the body have remained much the same throughout the centuries. The technique involves stroking and kneading of muscles and the comforting manipulation of the joints. The masseuse also applies pressure to specific points in the body to promote the balance and flow of energy throughout the body.
Health Benefits of Thai Massage:
There are numerous health benefits owed to Thai massage. Many of these benefits are supported by scientific studies and research.
Here are just four of the beneficial advantages of this practice.
1. Reduces Stiffness
Many find that with time, exercise, and general life experience, their flexibility, and range of motion decreases. This is an issue that can affect your daily life. However, this can be particularly detrimental to athletes who exert larger amounts of energy and can feel the build-up of tense muscle stiffness over time.
Massage therapy is the perfect remedy for this. A study conducted to find out how the physical fitness in football players can be improved shows that even a single session of Thai massages can increase their flexibility, speed, and agility on the field.
This is theorized to be due to massage therapy’s ability to increase the blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles. Muscle adhesion can be prevented as a result, meaning the prevention of muscle weakness, pain, and limited range of motion.
Additionally, the study finds that the participants who received the Thai massage also benefited with their muscles gaining more endurance and strength as a result of their decreased stiffness.
2. Yoga Inspired Wellness
Many who seek the healing remedy of massage therapy wish for recovery from the toll of everyday stressors and strenuous exercise. Thankfully, Thai massages boast the benefit of being able to provide this.
The same aforementioned study investigating footballers found success in its conclusion that massage therapy can improve the mood and psychological well-being of those who received the therapeutic massage.
In another study, participants who received Thai massage benefitted from lower reports of psychological stress after repeating treatment.
Many are surprised to find that despite the stretching and pulling movements involved with the Thai massage that resembles assisted yoga, you can find the process very relaxing and benefit from a decrease in stress levels.
3. Energy Booster
Thai massage is different from other traditional massage techniques. It uses the body’s energy line system, known as Sen lines that frame the physical body.
Brain scans showed in a study that after participants received a Thai massage, participants reported benefitting from feeling more relaxed and a reduction in anxiety levels than other people who went through different treatment.
Researchers believe that it’s this unique aspect of the Thai massage that is responsible for the reported boost of energy. Participants in a study specifically reported feeling fresh, having improved sleep, and benefitting from quick recovery from fatigue.
It is theorized that Thai massage can open or redirect the flow of Sen so that the life energy is no longer blocked. This reduces stiffness, pain, and illnesses by increasing their physical energy levels.
4. Relieves Headaches
A surprising benefit from this massage is that not only can it bring you a sense of peace and relaxation but it can also alleviate headaches.
A study was conducted on participants who suffered from chronic tension-type headaches. On receiving the court-type traditional Thai massage, the scientist who was recording their tissue hardness found that it had decreased.
Court-type Thai massage involves applying pressure to specific energy channels. The study theorizes that in doing so, you can help people who suffer from headaches and aid in making them feel more relaxed.
What to Expect During A Thai Massage
You can expect to lie fully clothed on a mat on the ground instead of on a massage table like other traditional massages.
No oil is used during the massage which is why you can keep your clothes on. However, it is recommended that you wear clothes that don’t restrict your movement as you will be guided into different poses. You can wear anything comfortable and relaxed.
Every practitioner may vary in the order of their methods. The masseuse may use different parts of their body to perform the massage such as their hands, knees, legs, or feet to put you in different positions.
As for the techniques, the practitioner will use a number of them, such as rocking, pulling, and stretching to assist your body in releasing tension and providing you with much-needed relaxation.
The masseuse will use pressure on your body so be sure to communicate with them so they can adjust the amount so that it is suitable for you.
After the massage, it is a good idea to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Especially considering that you have completed a session that is not too dissimilar to yoga except you’ve also had your muscles pulled, stretched, and prodded.
It is normal to feel relaxed for some time after the massage. However, it would still be a good idea to continue stretching daily and maintain the health of your body to make the most out of the Thai massage.
How To Keep Safe
There are many advantages to receiving a professional Thai massage. However, you should be aware of how to keep safe during the massage.
Because of the nature of the massage, it may not be suitable for everyone. You may want to avoid them if you are suffering from:
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease
- Neurological diseases that affect the spinal cord
You may also find it difficult to complete the massage if you have any issues that could cause pain or discomfort, such as if you have inflamed, painful joints, or arthritis.
Though massage therapy can usually help with flexibility, be sure to communicate with the practitioner about how far your body can be adjusted to ensure that they don’t cause you pain.
It is strongly advised that people with cancer, or are recovering from surgery or are pregnant should not have a Thai massage performed on them. It is important to speak to a medical professional if you have any concerns as it could lead to preexisting health concerns worsening.
Thai massage can be a fantastic option to alleviate stress and tension in your muscles, help your flexibility, and promote positive psychological well-being.
It is a novel experience within the western world despite it being an ancient practice. The health benefits of which are backed by scientific research. It is suitable for most people without preexisting health conditions and is a great holistic approach to therapy.
If you are considering receiving a Thai massage, it is important to be aware of the risks, especially if you have health conditions. It is recommended to continue to take care of your body after the massage to maintain a healthy body and state of mind.