Too tired to hit a yoga class after work? Book yourself in for a Thai massage. Dubbed ‘lazy yoga’, this ancient form of healing gives you that great post-workout feeling… except your practitioner does all the hard work for you!
What is Thai Massage?
Thai massage is a full body treatment that improves circulation, releases tension and relieves joint pain. Based on ancient Indian Ayurvedic principles (a holistic form of healing), Thai massage promotes internal health by realigning the energies in your body… basically making you feel amazing!
The massage is performed on a special mat on the floor. You are fully clothed (except for your socks and shoes) and the massage is done without oils.
Your practitioner starts by stimulating various acupressure points along your energy lines (known as ‘sen’), and then using martial arts motions, rhythmic compressions, gentle stretching, rocking and breathwork, will move your body into a series of yoga-like postures.
Sen refers to the pathways in your body through which energy flows. Blocked energy lines cause the body to lose balance, resulting in health problems. Thais believe good health relies on balance and an unobstructed flow of sen.
Thai massage clears energy lines and boosts circulation using the technique of blocking and releasing blood flow. Your practitioner applies sustained pressure for around 30 seconds to the areas where legs and arms meet the torso. When the pressure is released, you’ll feel a rush of heat as blood floods back along your limbs.
This wonderful form of massage also alleviates the pressure we put on our bodies through repetitive strain (think of the hours hunched over a computer, or sitting for long periods while at the office, driving, watching TV, playing Angry Birds etc.).
Repetitive strain causes our muscles to get tense and shorten, resulting in stiff joints and musculo-skeletal pain. When this happens the brain thinks it’s your muscle contracting, so it inhibits the function of the antagonistic muscles–causing them to weaken.
Thai massage undoes this tension by stretching the muscles back to their normal resting length. This tricks the brain into believing everything is back to normal, and it stops inhibiting the antagonistic muscles. The tension soon disappears and your joints start to feel more mobile.
Thai massage has been called ‘lazy yoga’ by some because it’s the practitioner who presses and stretches your body into each posture using their hands, knees, legs, feet and shins. They do all the hard work and all you need to do is relax!
The Origins of Thai Massage
Thai massage dates back to Northern India around 2,500 years ago. At the time, an Ayurvedic doctor named Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha was gaining recognition for his remarkable medical skills, knowledge of herbal medicine and nutrition. He was treating some pretty important people back then including noblemen, kings and the Buddha himself. Bhaccha’s practice made its way to the temples of Thailand, and has since been influenced by Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian cultural and medicinal traditions.
What Are The Benefits of Thai massage?
After your massage, you can expect to feel relaxed, invigorated and a whole lot more flexible.
Thai massage also:
- Elongates muscles and increases flexibility
- Relieves muscular tension and spasms
- Regulates your metabolism
- Boosts your immune system
- Unblocks and balances your energy pathways (sen)
During this beautiful practice some people experience an emotional response, which is created by the energy transfer of loving kindness from your practitioner to you.
How to Prepare For a Thai massage
Thai Massage can be enjoyed by anyone, at any age, in any condition. However, you must always let your practitioner know if you have any injuries or pre-existing conditions. During the massage, don’t be afraid to speak up if you’d like a higher or lower level of pressure.
To prepare for your relaxing and energizing Thai massage:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wear loose clothing (layers are great for helping your body temperature adjust).
- Eat about an hour before the massage (you don’t want to be too hungry or too full).
After the massage stay hydrated with water or tea. Top off your massage with a warm bath and Epsom salts a few hours later. You will feel heavenly!
Nadia has been a Thai Massage Practitioner for nearly 2 years. She got into it after realizing the benefits of regular Thai Massage and balanced energy systems.
To experience the benefits of Thai massage yourself, book an appointment with Nadia here.