The traditional Thai massage combines techniques from acupressure and yoga, which many claim is a unique combination. Getting a Thai massage is like doing effortless yoga exercises while receiving acupressure treatment. The massage is usually performed on a mat on the floor with clothes on, and the practitioner uses hands, feet and elbows as tools during the treatment. The massage can take up to two hours and takes place in a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
Thai massage has a wide range of techniques and can include everything from deep muscle and trigger point massage to a softer and more comfortable massage. The massage consists of different grips such as stretching, twisting, stroking, pressure and kneading, and the purpose of the grips is to release tension. Muscles, joints and connective tissue are stimulated, which often leads to greater flexibility in movements. The muscles become soft and more elastic, blood and lymph circulation increases and the muscles' absorption of nutrients improves. It is a fact that an overworked muscle recovers faster with massage than with rest, and if you suffer from sore and stiff muscles, Thai massage can be a great treatment to prevent such ailments.
There are different sequences for each part of the body, and combined with the yoga-like stretches, the treatment produces a number of positive effects. The massage calms the mind and produces a harmonious feeling throughout the body. The treatment stimulates the nervous system and balances the body's energy system, which explains the calming effect the massage has. Thai massage relieves pain, dissolves tension and renews the body's energy flows. Masseurs with long experience know the body's points well, and can therefore improve the client's energy flows and blood circulation with the help of their hands.
The massage is said to be particularly suitable for stress-related ailments such as headaches/migraines, tension, cramps, stomach and muscle pain, tendinitis, varicose veins and asthma. It is claimed that only a few treatments are needed for one to feel better, and several clients report noticeable improvements already after the first treatment. Regular Thai massage has a preventive effect and makes you better equipped to cope with everyday stress.
Thai massage originated in India at the time of the Buddha, and history says that it was the "saint" Father Doctor Shivago Komarpahj who brought the world-renowned healing method to the world. Shivago was the Buddha's personal psychologist, and when Buddhism spread from India, Shivago's knowledge of massage also came with it. The massage found its way to Southeast Asia where the monks introduced it as part of Thai medicine. Like many others, the Thai people also saw illness as an imbalance in body, mind and soul, and the Thais therefore often sought help at the local temples. There they were treated with the four elements of Thai medicine; dietary change (diet), herbs (internally and externally), spirituality (meditation and introduction to the principles of Buddhism), and Thai massage, which was the physical treatment. In later times, the massage spread to China, among other places, where elements from yoga and Ayurveda were added.
Today, the traditional Thai massage is no longer limited to temples, but it still contains spiritual elements. Many practitioners often start the day with a prayer based on Buddhist teachings. The prayer focuses on compassion, love, joy and balance. Today, Thai massage is performed throughout Thailand, in massage schools, at old traditional hospitals, in hotels, on beaches and on just about every street corner in Bangkok.