Thai massage is a traditional form of therapeutic massage with a history of more than two thousand and five hundred years and is believed to have been formally adopted as separate stream of medicine by Shivago Komarpaj the personal physician of Buddha. This form of massage therapy has been heavily influenced by Indian, Chinese and other Asian medicinal practices.
The Indian system of Ayurvedic medicines combined with Chinese principles of acupressure create an extremely powerful media for treatment of several physical ailments through this form of Asian massage that is popular all over the world now. However there remain several misconceptions regarding ‘what is Thai massage’ therapy in the minds of people from the western nations. The facts are however far from these myths as we shall discover in this article. The basic principle guiding this massage therapy is that by applying pressure on certain important points on our body, the flow of energy is facilitated which results in a general wellbeing of the mind as well as the body. The philosophy of Prana or the life energy as practiced in Ayurveda is combined with acupressure techniques of Chinese traditional medicine to ensure that there is free flow to every part of the body of this vital energy through the Prana Nadis or the energy lines.
Common Myths about the Thai Massage
The Thai massage is in fact treated as a spiritual practice by its followers who consider giving a massage as a part of their religious commitment to Buddha. The name ‘Thai’ has no historical links with Thailand, which today has probably the maximum number of massage parlors claiming authentic massage forms.
What is the Thai Massage Technique and Methods
The Thai massage is by far the most energizing and rigorous form, which uses several techniques wherein the therapist provides the stretching movements using his hands, legs and fingers on various parts of the body. A combination of compressive, twisting and pressure application methods is used on the vital points to channelize energy flow in the body. The use of massage oil in this massage therapy is quite limited as it relies more on the movements and pressure on the limbs to provide the effects. A typical session of about an hour is sufficient for providing a refreshing and rejuvenating experience to the receiver. The receiver is not required to remove the clothes during the session as the use of massage oil is not mandatory. Comfortable clothing to accommodate the stretching motions is adequate in this massage therapy. Most massage parlors provide this kind of clothes to clients who do not carry their own. The massage therapists are required to undergo rigorous training and certification in order to be certified and be permitted to carry out this kind of massage therapy.
Benefits of a Thai Massage
The Thai massage provides a holistic treatment for several aliments by addressing the physical, mental and psychological problems in an individual. The benefits are therefore targeted to all three aspects of the individual.
Benefits to the Physical Being
- Increased blood circulation facilitates detoxification and helps build a stronger immunity system in the body.
- Substantial reduction in the blood pressure levels.
- Provides for easier breathing.
- Makes the muscles and joints more supple and flexible thus providing relaxation and preventing injury due to sudden and excessive stretching or bending.
- Improves body posture, balance and alignment that results in enhance mobility and athletic performance.
- Relieves the pain from chronic joint ailments.
- Better immunity and circulation rejuvenate most body parts to slow down the ageing process and help ward off several diseases.
Benefits to the Mental State
- Helps build better concentration and focus.
- Facilitates clarity of thought in complex situations.
- Encourages creative and innovative thought process.
- Improves overall emotional outlook of the individual.
Benefits to the Psychological State
- A great aid to alleviating stress, depression and anxiety.
- Builds up self discipline and inner control of desires.
- Through better physical and emotional state significantly boost the self confidence.
- Provides perpetually high internal energy levels that ward of fatigue and laziness.
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Thai Massage
One of the greatest achievements of this massage therapy is its effectiveness in dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome. This syndrome primarily refers to a condition in which there is an entrapment of a median nerve in the wrist or arms that results in inability to control the motions of the arms and wrists along with severe pain. The Thai massage is considered one of the best possible solutions in this condition and is recommended by most physical fitness gurus to be applied immediately for instant relief. Thorough and deep tissue massage of the arm and associated muscles that is possible in this kind of massage therapy is wonderful for instantaneous pain relief. The long and high pressure strokes of the Thai massage technique on the flexor muscles of the arm are helpful in releasing the trapped median nerves which are the root cause of the condition. Compressive neuropathy associated with this method is helpful in ensuring that the arms regain their full mobility in the shortest possible time frame. The therapy not only addresses the immediate problem but also caters to prevent recurrence by massaging the back and shoulder muscles which are the originating areas of such pain in the arms and wrists. By making the joints and muscles more flexible in the concerned places the chances of a ligament pull or nerve entrapment is significantly reduced. The reverse strokes of the Thai massage technique have been found extremely useful in providing full range motion to most of the joints associated with the arms and wrist movements.
A Few Essential Precautions While Taking a Thai Massage
While the overall benefits of this great Asian massage therapy are literally unlimited, their efficacy may be compromised and even prove counter productive in certain cases which need to be guarded against. A few precautions mentioned below will ensure that there are no undesirable side effects of undergoing such a massage therapy and the maximum possible benefits are derived by the receiver.
- The massage is not to be undertaken in cases of infectious skin diseases, rashes, open surface wounds or immediately after surgery.
- Patients who have undergone chemotherapy or any kind of radiation based treatment should not undertake Thai massage therapy.
- Areas in the body that have suffered recent fractures or inflammations of the skin should be avoided in such massages.
- Pregnant women must never be allowed to undergo these vigorous massages under any circumstances.
- Any kind of discomfort or pain arising out of the massage must be immediately reported and the session abandoned pronto to avoid further damage.
The Thai technique is one of the most beneficial and effective of the various Asian massage therapies. However, it must be ensured that any such treatment is undertaken only after due consultation with your doctor and only at places which have the requisite certification and expertise to conduct such sessions. Traditionally performed by monks to cure patients from various ailments, this ancient form of body treatment and rejuvenation has been gaining gradual acceptance in many parts of the world as several of the myths associated with the Thai massage are being clarified. People have now started understanding the real therapeutic implications of this massage therapy and are realizing its amazing potential as a effective tool for physiotherapy.