Traditional Ancient Thai massage is a unique form of Bodywork that incorporates Hatha Yoga, acupressure and reflexology with origins dating back about 2500 years. The roots of Thai massage are traced back to the founder of the practice (known as “Father Doctor”) Shivaga Komarpaj, a doctor, friend and contemporary to the Buddha. Ancient Medical texts were carved in stone in attempts to preserve the tradition of Thai massage; these stone inscriptions still sit within the walls of the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok
The massage recipient changes into loose, comfortable clothes and lies on a mat or firm mattress on the floor. The receiver may be positioned in a variety of yoga-like positions during the course of the massage, but deep rhythmic pressures form the core of the massage. In Thai massage it is not just the hands that are used to free tension from the recipient’s body, but the therapists feet, forearms, knees, and elbows as well. Unlike the scooping and continuous strokes of Western massage, the Thai method uses point pressure, muscle stretching and compression, done in a rhythmic movement of gentle rocking. This massage does not require any use of oils.
Generally speaking, practitioners of modern Thai massage operate on the theory that the body is permeated with “lom,” or “air,” which is inhaled into the lungs and which subsequently travels throughout the body along 72,000 pathways called “sen,” or “vessels.” Typically, massage therapists manipulate a handful of major sen lines by pressing certain points along the lines. In most models, the sen originate at the navel and spread throughout the body to terminate at the orifices. A significant part of the practice of Thai massage also includes yoga-like stretches which are intended to stimulate the sen and move lom through the body via a pumping action which is connected with the patient’s breathing.
The theory of sen and lom is often translated into English as “meridians” and “energy.” While there are some superficial similarities to Chinese meridian theory, the Thai system is markedly different as the sen are unconnected from the internal organs.
Benefits of Traditional Thai Massage
- Heightened Awareness
- Freeing blockages in the energy flow
- Invigorates the nervous system
- Improved circulation
- Rejuvenates the body
- Increased flexibility (passive yoga-postures)
- Gives a feeling of well-being
- Helps the body eliminate toxins
Thai massage can be particularly helpful in relieving Headaches, migraines, arthritis, whiplash pain, paralysis, numbness, sciatica, back pain and other conditions.