Image courtesy of Phonlatuch at freedigitalphotos.net
Written by Georgia Franchini
In 2014, I travelled alone to the mysterious land of Thailand in order to complete a course in Traditional Thai massage. When I received this therapy, it helped me so much that I decided to go to Thailand to learn to practice it myself. It allowed me to absorb their culture, and it opened me up to the path of Yoga and meditation, which is an important part of learning and practicing this traditional healing system.
What is Thai massage?
Traditional Thai massage originated from India, but has been practised in Thailand for over 2,500 years. It is a form of oriental body work, and the theory is based on balancing the energy within your body to aid in health and general wellbeing. There are 10 major energy channels within the body. Blockages within these channels give rise to disease and negative symptoms. Thai massage aims at removing these blockages so energy can flow freely, allowing you to feel relaxed, energetic, and free from pain. “A 2004 study found significant improvement in the mental well-being of patients suffering from musculoskeletal pain when treated with massage” (J, Johnson, Research), it has been proven that massage can have huge health benefits, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Here are some of the health benefits:
• Increase range of movement in joints
• Improves circulation
• Increases supply of blood and oxygen
• Promotes relaxation
• Elongate and release fascia (muscular bondage and support system)
• Prevents joint sprains and muscle strains
• Improves lymphatic drainage and flow (the body’s cell waste removal and immune system)
‘Lazy man’s yoga’
Thai massage is also known as ‘lazy man’s yoga’, this is due to the fact that the benefits of both are very similar. If you have practiced Yoga before you will understand the health benefits that come with simply being present and focusing on your breath. Massage and Yoga focus on the rhythm and depth of your breathing, as it’s important for your body in order to stay healthy. Thai massage is rhythmic and meditative between the giver and receiver, creating a dual meditation between two people. Traditionally Thai massage is used without oil and with clothes on. This is because stretches and pressure points are used in order to increase the energy flow. However, you have a choice to choose whether you prefer to be clothed or not. It’s important to be comfortable before receiving your massage. I will use my palms, elbows, and feet in order to perform stretches and pressure points.
Is it for me?
If you feel that any of these health benefits listed could be beneficial for you, then Thai massage is what you need. If you have previously tried Shiatsu and enjoyed it, you may also enjoy Thai Massage as they are similar and grew from the same roots. You do not need to be a yogi or an athlete to feel healthy again. Living a busy lifestyle can make it easy to neglect our health. So take control, and give yourself some extra loving care within a safe environment at YOU Massage!