Thai massage is an ancient massage art which has been passed down through the centuries. We round up everything you need to know about this ancient yoga massage.
It’s also known as ‘Thai yoga massage’
Thai massage is often called ‘Thai yoga massage’ because it blends an ancient healing system with acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles and assisted yoga postures. An art form in Thailand, this massage is essentially assisted yoga performed by the therapist, with the receiver remaining completely passive during the session.
It was created by Buddha’s doctor
While the exact origins of Thai massage are uncertain, the massage art form can be traced back to doctor of medicine, Chivaka Komarapats, who was said to be the Buddha’s private doctor. His name can be found in ancient documents where he is said to have extraordinary medical skills for the time. He was an expert in herbal medicine, and treated the ancient A-list, including the Buddha himself.
Clothes stay on
Perfect for clients who want to keep their gear on, traditional Thai massage uses no oils or other products and the receiver remains clothed during a treatment. Clients are given loose cotton clothing to put on so that movement is free and easy.
Body contact is different
While there is constant body contact between the giver and receiver, rather than rubbing on muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked.
The bed is on the floor
In traditional massage, the recipient lies on a mat or firm mattress on the floor – although in Australia, many Thai massages are performed on a regular massage table.
It can be a group massage!
Although the true ancient style of Thai massage requires the massage be performed with only the client and therapist in the room, in Thailand, Thai massage can be given to a group of more than a dozen people. True story.
The massage follows 72,000 body lines
Thai massage is a dynamic and energetic massage that works on the hypothesis that the body is permeated with “lom”, or “air”, which is inhaled into the lungs and moved through the body along 72,000 pathways called “sen”, a theory originating in Indian yoga. The therapist manipulates these pathways with a variety of yoga-like positions, combined with deep static and rhythmic pressures.
Hands and feet are enlisted
In some postures, the massage therapist uses hands to hold the client’s body while her feet do the massaging. In other postures, the the therapist’s legs and feet position the body while her hands get to work. The massage may include pulling fingers, toes, ears, cracking knuckles and walking on the client’s back.
There are two variations
The traditional form of Thai massage is found mostly in Thailand, while an ancient form is found in Nepal and northern India. Ancient Thai massage always starts with meditation and a mantra by the giver, while Thai massage doesn’t use a mantra or meditation.
Have your say: Do you integrate Thai massage into any of your treatments?