5 Important Things To Know About Traditional Thai Massage – The Outcall Therapy
At a glance, a traditional Thai massage looks like yoga done to the client with the addition of acupressure. In many ways, this is an accurate observation, as traditional Thai massage traces its roots to thousands of years of Indian and Chinese Ayurvedic medicine.
A history of traditional Thai massage
Thailand’s proximity to China and the arrival of Buddhism from India meant that some aspects of Thai culture were borrowed from Chinese and Indian customs. The ancient healing traditions of the Thais are part of their culture where both of these effects can be felt.
Central to the concept of traditional Thai massage is the release of the vital life force called ‘lum’ by stimulating the invisible energy pathways called ‘sen’ to remove blockages, in the same way that Chinese energy meridians are stimulated by pressure and needling to realign the ‘ch’ J. or the life energy of man.
As for the Indian influence on traditional Thai massage, hatha yoga may be the most visible. The reason for this is that hatha yoga is mainly concerned with finding mental balance (in preparation for meditation) by releasing tensions and traumas that the body has accumulated over time.
Today’s traditional Thai massage is a product of Chinese and Indian healing philosophies infused with indigenous Thai healing traditions handed down for centuries through oral traditions taught in Wats or Thai temples. For centuries, Buddhist monks played the role of healers because they had access to this body of knowledge, and people would go to temples to seek relief from their physical afflictions.
However, the Burmese invasion of Ayutthaya in 1767 nearly wiped out this ancient healing art, prompting King Rama III to codify the surviving knowledge of ‘Sen’, healing points and herbal remedies in a stone epigraph now displayed in the temple complex of Wat Pho in Bangkok. This is why Wat Pho remains a respected center of knowledge and training for those who wish to learn this ancient healing art.
“This is going to hurt”
The Thai government regulates traditional Thai massage because it is a central component of traditional Thai medicine. Unlike other types of relaxation massage, traditional Thai massage can be painful, at least at first, because areas of tension are identified and energy pathways are resolved through pressure and stretching.
However, with repeated sessions, the muscles and limbs loosen up, making the massage a little more tolerable, and even something a client looks forward to when the tensions and pains in their body return.
This also depends on the client’s general well-being, fitness levels, muscle ratio and flexibility.
What to expect when you get a traditional Thai massage
In popular tourist areas in Thailand, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, a Thai massage can be offered with the use of oil, stroking the dominant massage technique. A traditional Thai massage, on the other hand, does not use oil, and instead of gentle strokes and rubs, expect the masseuse to use pressures, presses, bends and stretches to tease your body’s hidden pain and relieve tension.
The masseuse (Thai masseuses are mostly women) uses different parts of the body to leave your flexibility and limbs. She’ll dig her warm thumbs firmly into your palm, roll her forearms over both of your shoulders, and press her knees into your hamstrings as you lie on your back.
She’ll place your foot on your opposite thigh and then press you to the floor, lift your leg toward the ceiling and push off the balls of your feet while pulling your hip in, and even climb onto your lower back with your knees while lying on your face. Down.
With it, you’ll create what seem like impossible yoga-like poses. You’ll be bent and pulled and stretched in ways you can’t imagine achieving and you might even hear a creak or a sound. There is nothing to fear as your joints are crumbling. Obviously, a stable, unshakable surface is needed to perform these deformations.
Expect to leave the session feeling battered, battered and limp (so don’t get a massage when you’ve just eaten). Your first traditional Thai massage will be anything but relaxing. You may even wince in pain as your body contorts into shapes that cannot be achieved without assistance. But after a good night’s sleep, expect to feel light, refreshed and full of positive energy.
Once your body gets used to the stretches and acupressure from your first few sessions, you’ll start to feel relaxed every time you get a traditional Thai massage.
What to wear when getting a traditional Thai massage
Customers are welcomed to the massage shop with a hot water foot bath. The feet are then dried with a towel and may even have been washed with oils. The client is often given slippers and a shirt and airy, loose pants to change into before being led to a common area (in the lower massage shops) set up with firm mattresses placed on the floor and separated from the rest by curtains.
In luxury spas, your massage experience will be in a completely different environment, with more privacy, relaxing scents and background music or sounds that will make you temporarily escape.
At the end of the meeting, which can last between one and two hours depending on your choice, hot tea is served after changing back to street clothes.
In traditional Thai massage shops, masseurs wear loose clothing similar to what they ask their clients to wear, although their clothing is both functional and decorative.
The benefits of Thai massage
Built-in muscle tension can lead to knots and pain that you didn’t know existed until you provoked the stress. Sometimes, these tensions can lead to painful breathing (especially if they are along the scapular region), recurring dull headaches if the tension is at the base of the neck, and lower back pain that won’t go away with medication.
The pain sometimes remains unless the right kind of pressure is applied to targeted areas. All of these muscle spasms limit a person’s flexibility and range of motion, which Thai massage can restore after a series of treatments.
Thai massage came out of the necessity to improve blood circulation among Buddhist monks who stay in one position for long periods. The same principle can be applied today to people who work in settings where accepting one position over time is part of their job.
As with yoga, the benefit of traditional Thai massage is not only physical. It is not unusual to come out of an hour massage with a clear complexion, an even clearer mind, and a state of being that can only be described as blissful, with a kind of holistic energy and mental disposition that permeates the person. With strength to face the challenges of everyday life.
Because of the psychological well-being that traditional Thai massage brings, it may even benefit people suffering from depression to have massage therapy to supplement their medical treatment.
After all, massage therapy has been scientifically proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase the neurohormone oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) that is released during sustained physical contact. Since people suffering from depression usually lack the motivation to exercise, assisted yoga may be just what they need.