All About Thai Massage

What is Thai Massage?

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, it doesn’t 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.

What are the benefits?

Relieves headaches

If you have migraine or experience tension headaches, traditional Thai massage may help ease your symptoms.

In several small studies involving patients with chronic headaches, researchers found that Thai massage reduced the intensity of both migraine

If you’re interested in trying non pharmaceutical remedies for headache relief, it’s worth noting that researchers concluded that the benefits of Thai massage could last anywhere from several days to around 15 weeks.

Reduces back pain

Thai massage may be an effective, non pharmaceutical means of reducing back pain.

Researchers in Thailand studied the effects of Thai massage on a group of 120 people with nonspecific low back pain. Half the test group was treated with Thai massage and the rest with other conservative management techniques that included joint mobilization (a technique that involves applying pressure), hot packs, and manual stretching to painful areas.

Both groups were treated twice a week for 4 weeks, and both groups had significant pain relief.

Lowering of stress levels

It is important to note that undergoing stress is not entirely a bad thing. In fact, stress can actually sometimes act as a key component in motivating an individual to push towards achieving both professional and personal goals. However, too much stress can impact an individual negatively, particularly affecting them physically and mentally.

Chronic bouts of stress can lead to serious illnesses, which include depression and cardiovascular disease. Opting for a traditional Thai massage would be able to alleviate stress levels significantly by using gentle pressure and stretching techniques to provide total-body relaxation. To further this notion, a study which was conducted in 2015 concluded that a traditional Thai massage is able to reduce levels of a certain stress marker present in the saliva called salivary alpha-amylase activity (sAA). This study also revealed that this process is indeed more effective in reducing stress as compared to plain resting.

Promoting Good Blood Circulation

By incorporating use of gentle, yoga-like stretches, a traditional Thai massage promotes great blood circulation, which oxygenates your body’s tissues. This in turn aids with the process of cell growth in your body, as well as improved heart health. Similarly, use of acupressure and various other techniques is able to stimulate the mobilisation of toxins and waste products out of the body, as well as movement of lymphs, which are white blood cells that fight infections throughout the body.

A traditional Thai massage can also help those who are afflicted by peripheral neuropathy, which is a common complication linked to diabetes. By improving blood circulation, it stimulates and improves the somatosensory system, which plays a major role in balance.

Providing an energy boost

The techniques performed during a traditional Thai massage is founded upon the understanding that the human body is made up of energy lines called “sen”. These channels of energy correspond to individual parts of the body, which include the bones, muscles, blood and nerves. There are also other “sen” channels, called subtle channels, which can affect the mind and consciousness.

Theoretically speaking, muscle tightness causes blockages within these different “sens”. As a result, these blockages limit the flow of life energy, causing stiffness, pain and illness. For example, athletes are susceptible to fatigue, muscle and joint pain, or worse, injury while training or competing. This is the reason why most athletes work with a specialized sports massage therapist regularly. By incorporating use of a traditional Thai massage, athletes or even non-athletes who lead active lifestyles are able to gradually stretch their whole body, providing deeper, more restorative stretches as compared to other forms of assisted stretching techniques. Combined with adequate rest time to relax the body, physically active individuals will be able to achieve optimum energy restoration.

Increasing your range of motion

Apart from promoting blood circulation and lymph movement, the gradual and gentle stretches which are part of a traditional Thai massage can increase a person’s flexibility over a period of time, thus enabling an improvement in the individual’s range of motion.

In addition to that, Thai massage can also better the circulation of fluid in the joints, which is known as synovial fluid, thus reducing friction between joints. As a result, you will be able to attain maximum flexibility throughout your entire body, improve athletic performance and prevent active lifestyle injuries.

One of the best ways to care for your body and mind is to incorporate massages as part of your weekly self-care routine. Massages generally aid with pain relief for muscles, tendons and joints, as well as relief of stress and anxiety. The wide range of massages available include deep tissue massage, aromatherapy massage, foot reflexology, Swedish massage, and traditional Thai massage, amongst others. Traditional Thai massage, in particular, has always been a popular option for most people due to distinct techniques involved in its provision of service.

We strongly recommend that you come in for a Custom Massage first – here, you can take time to discuss your specific concerns and needs with your therapist to determine if this type of therapy is a good option for you!

Uma Seaman
Uma Seaman

Owner/Director of Massage-Ology

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