If you have ever had or seen a massage, it was probably a Swedish massage, which is the most common form given in the West. However, there is a different form known as Thai massage which is catching on. In fact, Thai massage is one of the oldest variations of massage and could well be the oldest.
Thai massage is said in some Buddhist scripts to have been invented 2,500 years ago by Jivaka Komarabhacca, who was doctor to Lord Buddha himself. There could well be a lot of truth in that, but the Thai massage we see today is also likely to be a a blend of styles from several areas including China and India.
Thai massage is quite exhausting, which makes it rather different from other variations of massage and makes it appear to be related to Yoga, although all the bending and stretching is forced upon the receiver by the massage therapist. Besides Yoga-like poses, Thai massage makes use of muscle compression, joint mobilization and acupressure.
Thai massage may be performed out on a firm massage bed, but in Thailand it is normally performed on a thin mattress on the floor. The room might be private or there might be more than one customer in there at a time.
Thai massage is not normally carried out in the nude, but loose hanging clothes are recommended. No oil is used in this kind of massage, but many masseurs will use a type of ‘deep heat’ cream.
A normal Thai massage session will last one or two hours, but may go on for three or more and there might be one or two masseurs working on a patient together. The masseur begins with the feet and is comparable to radiology. The masseur will bend and twist one foot at a time, stretch the toes and apply continued pressure to various points on the sole of the foot.
The masseur then continues up the legs working from the front and the back. Thai masseurs use their hands like most massage therapists, but if they would like to apply more pressure, they will also use their elbows, knees and heels. It is easier to give deep therapy to substantial muscles like those on the back of the thighs with the heels of the feet than with the hands.
The knees and elbows are used to massage the spine and the back in general and lots of masseurs walk on their client’s back to make full use of their weight. A good masseur will massage you with their toes as they are standing on bones and pressure points in your spine and back. Occasionally they will walk up the backs of the legs as well if the muscles are too tight.
Thai massage works with ‘sen’, which resemble but not the same as Chinese meridians. It is known to increase circulation, reduce stress and lower blood pressure and can even reduce weight.
The masseur also works on the arteries stopping and slowing the flow of blood for short periods of time in order to manipulate the heart ‘from the inside’ so to speak.
Thai massage is very much a healing massage rather than one for light relaxation like Swedish massage, but once you are fit, it can be soothing too.
Owen Jones, the author of this piece, writes on numerous topics, but is currently involved with the thai massage parlor video. If you have an interest in massage, please go over to our web site now at Classes For Massage Therapy