Thai Massage is a traditional healing system that combines assisted yoga postures with acupressure and Indian Ayurvedic principles to relax the body. It is an ancient form of healing that has been practised alongside other traditional medicines in Thailand for thousands of years. Its origin can be traced to oriental medicine and yoga.
Thai massage therapy is based on the concept of an invisible energy body surrounding every human being. An individual’s energy body consists of over 72,000 individual energy lines. This energy body is divided into ten main energy lines called Sen that supply the organs with vital energy, the life force. Traditional Thai Massage focuses on manipulating the energy on the ten main Sen Lines.”
Getting a massage, especially for the first time, can be intimidating and raise questions like; Is this going to hurt? Do I keep my underwear on or go buff? But even for those familiar with other types of massage, a Thai massage is completely unique.
The technique that Thai massage therapists use is very different from what people are used to. Unlike hot stone or deep tissue massages, where a person passively lies on a bed, the client lies on the floor and participates more actively in the massage. Thai Massage is known to relax the whole body. It helps relieve pain by increasing relaxation response and reducing defence arousal response. It is famous not only in Thailand but in other countries as it promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and increases parasympathetic activity in patients with back pain. It also increases blood circulation, decreases blood pressure and heart rate, reduces pain, and promotes relaxation. Unless you try it yourself, you will not understand why it’s arguably the most approachable of the types of massages. Here are 5 significant things you need to know before your Thai massage therapy.
1. The History of the Thai Massage
Thai massage was developed by monks centuries ago. It is said to have been founded by Chiwaka Komaraphat who is said to have been the Buddha's physician over 2,500 years ago. He was known to have extraordinary medical skills and extensive knowledge of herbal medicine.
Among the towering spires and ceramic inlaid stupas of Bangkok’s Wat Pho temple are a group of inscriptions from the 19th Century. Shaded by the wooden eaves, these large marble plaques, known as the Epigraphic Archives of Wat Pho, divulge the secrets of the Thai way of life and are one of the earliest recordings of the techniques of Nuad Thai (Thai massage).
“Unlike more “Western” massage styles, Thai massage’s rich history has been passed down for generations. As a result, Thai massage has been developed over time and its benefits well researched.”
While you might not believe in the energy lines that Thai massage therapists believe circulate throughout the body, you will certainly benefit from the years of experience that has gone into their techniques.
2. Thai massage techniques
Thai Massage techniques are based on the belief that tight muscles diminish the flow of energy. When your body’s energy is immobile, its stiffness and inflexibility create discomfort and pain. This practice lends itself to be sustainable for both giver and receiver, and is often described as “Thai Yoga Massage” and the “Lazy Yoga.” Traditional Thai Massage uses two major techniques. They include:
The Royal Thai Massage Technique (“rajasamnak”)
The Royal Thai massage technique affects the deep organs and tissues by increasing circulation of blood and increasing nerve function. Massage therapists must have the anatomical knowledge and a wealth of experience to be able to perform this type of massage correctly. This technique requires the use of only hands and fingertips for acupressure the whole time without exhaling over the patient. For this massage treatment, the patient will either lay on their back, their sides or sit-up. There is no laying face down like the common Thai massage technique.
The Common Thai Massage Technique (“chalosiak”)
The Common Thai massage technique helps to relieve overall muscle strain, tightness, and tension. It stimulates blood and energy flow throughout the body. This technique requires the use of hands, feet, knees, elbows, etc. If the therapist does not have the expertise it can cause the loss of bone joints or is likely to cause bruising of the muscles or capillaries, so it is important to go to a spa that has skilled & experienced therapists.
3. Proven Health Benefits of Thai Massage
Thai massage benefits your mental and physical health in numerous ways. It stimulates all organs of your body and balances all systems of the body, making it a powerful therapy for your physical and emotional problems. During a traditional Thai massage, gentle pressure is applied to the internal organs of the abdomen with the different Yoga postures and the abdomen-massage.
Studies done on these Hatha Yoga positions have shown the stimulation to cause the internal organs to begin functioning at their highest capacity. This improves digestion, nutrient absorption, waste elimination, and the circulation of blood and lymph.
"Thai massage benefits are not only backed by scientific studies. They also give you an experience of another level
of Thai culture and a whole depth of relaxation"
The 6 proven health benefits of Thai massage include:
4. Side Effects of Thai Massage
All types of massage, including Thai massage, can help people relax, temporarily relieve muscle pain, and boost a person's mood. While it has many health benefits, Thai massage also has its side effects.
“Although a person of any age can get a Thai massage, it is not appropriate for everybody”. Thai massage may not be safe for someone with the following health conditions:
You should not get a Thai massage if you are pregnant or have just undergone surgery, as the technique could pose health risks. The physical intensity of this massage technique could lead to health complications or worsen pre-existing injuries.
If you're considering trying Thai massage but are concerned with your medical history, it's a good idea to check with your health care provider first before getting massage treatment.
5. What Happens at The Spa During a Thai Massage
The Thai massage treatment unlike other types of massages requires you keep your clothes on throughout the massage. You can either wear your own loose-fitting clothes, or your therapist may have you change into scrub-like garments — a loose cotton top and drawstring pants.
You will lie on a mat or massage mattress on the floor whilst your massage therapist slowly moves your body through multiple stretches, using the weight and pressure of their body to assist you. Unlike Swedish massage, oil isn’t used and your muscles typically aren’t kneaded. Instead, your therapist will use their hands, thumbs, elbows, and knees to stretch and pull different parts of your body. Through this stretching, you’ll relieve muscle tension, increase muscle flexibility, add to your muscle tone, and improve joint mobility.
Some of these stretches may involve going through yoga-like movements with your therapist holding or pulling you to maintain a pose. As the therapist draws attention to each part of your body, you will recognize previously ignored sources of tension and can release them. “Thai massage keeps you more present within your body throughout the process, so you’ll discover that you’re better able to identify those sources of tension following the massage and prevent them from coming back, rather than simply being relieved that they’re gone”.
If your muscles are sore or tense, you may feel some discomfort. If you do, let your therapist know so the pressure and stretching can be reduced. Also, if you have an injury, or if some part of your body is sensitive to pain, let your therapist know before they start the massage session.
Conclusion and Closing Thoughts
Without using oil, this vigorous massage is orientated around energy flows and points on the body. It is an energetic technique that triggers well-being while relieving tension and stiffness. Enjoy a relaxing Thai Massage Experience at the best massage spa in Malta.
Other blog posts you may be interested in:
Carisma Spa & Wellness International has been offering a superior service in 5-star hotels, and holiday resorts along the Aegean and the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and Malta since 1990.