The ancient art of Thai massage differs from that of modern massage techniques. Frequently called “Thai yoga massage,” the therapist uses more than the hands to stimulate the muscles and to effect deep relaxation. Rather, the therapist uses hands, legs, knees, and feet to move the client into a number of simulated yoga postures. Perhaps because this practice is more rigorous than other forms of massage, the reported benefits of this massage are also more numerous. Indeed, this ancient treatment offers benefits that extend far beyond those attributable to traditional massage.
Benefits of Thai Massage
Thai massage has been shown to offer a number of physical, mental, and psychological benefits to those who undergo these treatments.
– Improves circulation, thereby lowering blood pressure
– Strengthens respiration
– Eases arthritis symptoms
– Improves joint and muscular flexibility
– Strengthens the immune system
– Helps to focus the mind
– Increases mental clarity
– Aids creativity
– Brings mental calmness
– Eases stress and anxiety symptoms
– Increases confidence
– Improves one’s optimism level
– Increases energy levels
Why Thai Massage Offers So Many Benefits
Thai massage offers such a wide array of physical, mental, and psychological benefits because it combines acupressure, reflexology, and Hatha Yoga asanas into its sessions. This is primarily due to the variety of different cultures that have influenced this practice over the years.
Commonly regarded as an invention of Buddha’s personal physician, Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, over 2500 years ago in India, the Thai massage eventually migrated to Thailand and China where it gradually morphed to incorporate many common Chinese medical practices.
During a session, the therapist uses his or her hands, knees, feet, elbows, forearms, and legs to compress certain pressure points on the body (and to stretch certain muscles) that are known to affect physical, mental, and/or psychological changes.
A Thai Massage Session
Unlike traditional massage, this massage is performed on a mat on the floor. The client is fully clothed and no oils or lotions are used. The therapist proceeds to pull and stretch the client’s body into a number of positions that resemble rhythmic, rocking yoga postures. Many of these postures, moreover, involve rotation and stretching of the shoulder joints.
The benefits of such shoulder manipulation are key to the health benefits of Thai massage. According to Holistic Massotherapy, during a Thai massage, “[l]ymph nodes located under the arm are squeezed, aiding the movement of lymphatic fluid on its course to the blood. Nerve function in the shoulder complex is enhanced as surrounding tissues are stretched…blood flow to and from the area is stimulated, accelerating the exchange of nutrients and removal of toxins.”
that’s not all. Stretching of the shoulder joints also releases synovial fluid that lubricates the joints, thereby alleviating to some degree certain arthritic symptoms. In addition, circulation throughout the chest is increased as the entire muscular-skeletal system is expanded through stretching of the surrounding fascia. By opening up the chest in this manner, lung capacity is enhanced and hence deeper breathing is encouraged. Deep breathing in and of itself has been shown to produce a myriad of beneficial effects.
Although more rigorous and energetic than traditional massage, the health benefits of Thai massage far exceed those of other types of massage. For that reason, subject of course to a physician’s approval, this ancient treatment should be included as a routine part of one’s health maintenance plan, particularly for athletes who do not incorporate a regular stretching component to their fitness regimen and for those who suffer from circulatory or arthritic conditions.