Thai massage (also referred to as Nuat Thai) is a holistic, hands-on method of healing the mind-body-spirit as a whole. Other massage techniques, such as shiatsu and acupressure, may be incorporated into a Thai massage session. This therapeutic practice often combines several techniques to relax and restore the body’s natural energy flow.
To create a synergistic relationship between the practitioner and client, Thai massage practitioners adjust touch accordingly, depending on the client’s needs. If, for example, the practitioner feels knots in the neck, or their client’s muscles are like bricks, they may apply more pressure or stretch the muscles a little longer, to relieve discomfort.
Thai massage was originally known as Thai yoga, due to its assisted application of yoga postures. It originated in India around 563 B.C. to 483 B.C. Thai massage has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Theravada Buddhism (a system based on based on Buddha’s first teachings), and Ayurvedic teachings, which are a form of ancient health and healing techniques.
What Is a Thai Massage Session Like?
Traditionally, no oils or balms were used in the Thai massage process, because the recipient remains fully clothed throughout the practice. However, today herbal poultices—compresses and wraps made of natural elements—and other modern applications, such as music, scents or heat, may be used to relax the client prior to the massage. Loose-fitting clothes are recommended, due to the yogic movements performed with the assistance of the practitioner.
During a Thai massage session, the practitioner assists the body with fluid yogic movements and is connected by touch to the client at all times. Joints in the neck, feet, hips, knees, arms and legs are stretched for the purpose of releasing any energy blockages. Acupressure points may also be tapped along the body’s meridians to release other energy restrictions. These restrictions or blockages may be caused by damage due to injuries, knots, and tight muscles as a result of stress or a variety of health concerns.
Rocking movements, also found in shiatsu, may give a relaxing and nurturing aura to the session. This movement subconsciously takes the mind and body back to a time where stress didn’t exist and the world was safe, which is believed to aid in allowing the body-mind-spirit system to let go of anything blocking the natural flow of energy.
Your personal experience and how you will feel at the completion of your session may depend on your mental and physical conditions and on your openness to the process. An open mind to any bodywork session may allow the body itself to be more receptive to the positive changes a session can provide. Visualizing a positive result may encourage the mind-body-spirit system as a whole to release blockages for a peak experience in your first session.
What Are the Health Benefits of Thai Massage?
A Thai massage session focuses on loosening the joints and stretching muscles, ligaments, and tissues for better blood flow and increased energy. Better, unrestricted blood flow and a more balanced system can support the body in the following ways:
- Blocked energy from stress, an injury, or disease can manifest as pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Unblocking the flow and keeping it that way can contribute to better mobility, a clearer mind, and more energy to do the things you enjoy.
- The relaxation promoted through Thai massage can assist in lowering blood pressure and may help release lactic acid from muscles so the body can facilitate a richer, healthier blood flow, which, in turn, can speed up the body’s natural healing process.
- Thai massage assists with the body’s digestion and elimination.
- Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics need good circulation to help keep their bodies healthy. Thai massage is a concrete benefit for anyone suffering from this disease.
- A higher level of flexibility may be achieved through Thai massage, and this increased flexibility may help reduce injury from exercise and ensure a healthier lifestyle.
Using Thai Massage for Self-Care
Many people are so busy with work and family that they tend to put themselves last. There is almost always something else that seems more important or more urgent than their own self. One of the best ways to help others, however, is to practice self-care to remain in good health, foster better peace of mind, and to be the best caretaker you can be. Making self-care a priority helps ensure better wellness overall.
Connecting with the right practitioner for a Thai massage session, or scheduling regular Thai massage sessions, may help you feel more flexible, energized, and strengthen your mind-body-spirit system. With ongoing Thai massage, you’ll have the ability to acquire a flexible, re-energized, strong, and sustainable mind-body-spirit system—a system that will support you, and in turn, support those around you.
- Buddhists celebrate birth of Gautama Buddha. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/buddhists-celebrate-birth-of-gautama-buddha
- Thai massage scientific research. (2016). Retrieved from http://thaimassage.com/category/thai-massage-scientific-research
- What is Theravada Buddhism? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhistworld/whats-thera.htm