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What is Thai Massage Therapy?

Updated: Jan 10

Thai Massage is an ancient healing art that is considered to be both a medical and spiritual healing modality. The history of this practice is founded in ancient Thailand which at one point was originally known as Siam. It formed based on a combination of influences from traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine from India and Buddhist traditions well over 2,500 years ago. Initially, Thai massage was practiced as an oral tradition, being passed down from generation to generation, but in more recent times is passed down through lineages of teaching in schools in its home country. Buddhist temples had done much to help pass down Thai Massage during the time of its oral teachings. Buddhist monks helped to develop the ethics and the spiritual component for the healer during this time period.

In Thailand, Thai Massage is viewed to be energy work therapy along with bodywork therapy. The disease is believed to be due to a blockage or excess in the energy flow of the person. Thai yoga looks at the entire individual on a macro-scale, believing that all imbalances of the body, mind, and spirit are closely interrelated. It advocates treating the whole person and not just the symptom presented. A dysfunctional shoulder could have been the result of not taking care of your ankle over a period of time. Another example could be physical pain can lead to emotional distress in the person or even hurt their spirit. There are many combinations to this and partly why Thai Massage and Traditional Chinese Medicine use this holistic method of assessment.

A Thai massage is different from a traditional Western massage in that it features yoga-like stretching with a partner, and the use of acupressure. Both concepts took from TCM and Aryuvedic medicine, who are neighboring countries with an established system of medicine. The use of the points are integral to Thai Massage and are considered to have great healing effects on the body's energy, also known as Qi, Prana, or Lom. Qi. Lom is the energy of life, it travels throughout seemingly invisible pathways in the human body known as meridians. Lom is considered to be vital life force energy and is what a practitioner improves when giving a Thai massage. Improving the body’s Qi during a session is part of what makes Thai massage feel like a spiritual experience to the person receiving.

However, Thai massage is not just about spirit and improving Lom. Thai massage has been studied in clinical studies and has been found to treat back pain, chronic muscular pains, along with a reduction in stress, decreased blood pressure, and improve a person’s psychological well-being. Thai massage therapy also has limits, as it can not help treat other conditions such as disease of the organs, degenerative conditions or the common cold, so its best to know it’s helpful but like most things, it is not a cure-all. If you are not sure if your condition can be improved with Thai Massage, then it’s best to consult your doctor prior to a Thai massage therapy appointment.

A good way to describe the stretches done in Thai massage is to call it the 'lazy person's yoga'. The lazy person's yoga is a term used because Thai Massage allows the receiver to relax and let the practitioner take them through various postures and poses. Due to its Indian influences Thai massage is most closely related to Hatha Yoga, but with a partner. Hatha Yoga is the practice of physical yoga postures designed to calm your body, mind, and spirit. The assisted stretches of Thai Massage Therapy allow an experienced Thai practitioner to stretch all the major muscle groups along with providing them a soothing massage.

Thai Massage Therapy should be a relaxed, rhythmical, & moderately paced feeling affecting both the energy of the mind as well as the vitality of the body. Any questions on Thai Massage therapy experience, please feel free to write to us at info@elitehealersmassagetherapy.com.


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