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This art of therapeutic healing is handed down from generation to generation, from master to student. Authentic Thai massage can only be performed by individuals from the proper cultural and religious background. The practice can be dated back thousands of years and is greatly valued by the Thai people. Formally, all medical doctors had to learn all the branches of Thai massage. Up to this day, it is still used in collaboration with traditional medicine.
Traditional Thai massage begins by the opening of energy channels. Consistent pressure is applied on the body’s reflexive areas, which will relieve muscle tension. Using a combination of reflexology and yoga stretches helps to achieve improved circulation.
Thai massage is not the usual muscle crushing, but a combination of very precisely and consciously targeted pressures and stretches. For the masseur to make better use of his weight, the massage takes place on a mat, not on a massage table, wearing comfortable special clothing.
Traditional Thai massage can be enjoyed either merely for its relaxing trait, or it can also be used as an alternative for physical and mental healing.
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Thai massage, which originated in India, has been around for over 2,500 years. Originally regarded as a healing art, traditional Thai massage includes influences from both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine.
Unlike typical Western-type massages, Thai massage does not involve lying on a massage bed while a massage therapist applies oil to your body and kneads your muscles and pressure points.
Instead, you lie fully clothed on a mat on the ground while a practitioner uses stretching, pulling, and rocking techniques to relieve tension, promote relaxation, and improve flexibility and circulation.
Sometimes referred to as assisted yoga, Thai massage is focused on improving the flow of energy throughout your body.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the science-backed benefits of traditional Thai massage and what to expect if you opt for this type of massage.
Thai massage is an ancient practice with many benefits that are supported by modern science. It may reduce the severity of your headaches, decrease lower back and joint pain, increase your flexibility, calm your anxieties, and energize your mind and body.
Thai massage is not a passive treatment. Your practitioner will move you through a gradual series of yoga-like positions in addition to working on the tension in your muscles.
Typically, you’ll lie on a mat or massage mattress on the floor, not on a massage table. Once on the mat, your practitioner will slowly move your body through multiple stretches, using the weight and pressure of their body to assist you.
Unlike a Swedish massage, oil is not used, and your muscles typically are not kneaded. Instead, the practitioner will use their hands, thumbs, elbows, and knees to stretch, pull, and rock different parts of your body. They may even sit on you to stretch you into certain positions.
Some types of stretches may involve going through yoga-like movements with the practitioner holding or pulling you to maintain a pose.
If your muscles are sore or tense, you may feel some discomfort. If you do, let your practitioner know so the pressure and stretching can be reduced.
If you have an injury, or some part of your body is particularly sensitive to pain, be sure to let the practitioner know before they start the massage session.
The Benefits of Thai Massage
Increased range of motion. Thai massage combines compression, acupressure, and passive stretching. These increase the range of motion in your joints and muscles. This can also improve your posture.
Helps with back pain. Thai massage tends to focus on areas that can contribute to back pain, like the inner thigh and abdomen. However, if you have constant back pain, it’s best to visit a doctor before getting any type of massage.
Reduces headache intensity. One study showed that nine sessions of traditional Thai massage in a 3-week period can reduce painful headaches in people who have chronic tension headaches or migraines.
Lowers stress. In another study, researchers showed that Thai massage reduced stress, especially when combined with plenty of rest.
Helps stroke patients. A 2012 study suggests that stroke patients who get Thai massage regularly may be better able to recover the ability to do daily activities. They may also have lower pain levels and sleep better.
Other benefits of Thai massage may include:
Calm mind or increased mindfulness