Over the last few months, I have noticed a significant increase amongst people asking for Thai massages as well as enquiries about what Thai massage is. This article gives a brief explanation as to what Thai massage is about, how it is delivered and the main benefits of this therapy to the client receiving it.
The unique, powerful and ancient healing art of Thai Massage, or Nuad Bo-rarn, was founded around 2000 years ago by the most renowned lay physician Jivaka Komarabhacca. His teachings travelled to Thailand, along with Buddhism, and were mainly practiced by monks whose temples were considered the centres of education and healing. Instruction of this unique therapy was handed down orally from generation to generation, making it an integral part of traditional Thai medicine ever since. These teachings were eventually inscribed and can to this day be found in Wat Pho temple in Bangkok. Jivaka is known in Thailand as Dr Shivago (not the Dr Zhivago we all know and love so well) who is referred to by the Thais as the ‘father of medicine’.
This therapy is performed on a mat on the floor with the client remaining fully clothed (except for the feet) and incorporates deep stretching and rhythmic compression in a “dance like” transmission of energy. The practitioner uses body weight rather than muscular force to exert pressure, creating a highly therapeutic effect. Pressure is exerted on energy lines or “Sen” and points with the palms of the hands, the thumbs and in some cases the elbows. This treatment, known as passive yoga or yoga for the lazy person, affects the entire body by increasing flexibility, releasing both deep and superficial tension, and helping the body’s natural energy to flow more freely.
The energy lines or “Sen” are reminiscent of the meridians of Chinese acupuncture. However, where the meridians follow the energy associated with specific organs, the Sen follows the form of the body and may therefore cross from one meridian to another. Thai tradition recognises 72,000 Sen in theory, but in practice 10 Sen (Sip Sen in Thai) serve as the foundation. There is reliance upon ‘feeling’ and intuition as opposed to the Western science of anatomy and physiology.
In western practice it should be related to Rolfing, Alexander Technique or Yoga, as opposed to ‘massage’. The treatment can be performed in as little as an hour, or may be extended to up to three hours for a full program. It is ideal for those in need of deep relaxation, release from stress, and maximum flexibility, as well as those looking to increase their level of health, well-being and vitality. The result is an opening of the body which leaves one feeling both relaxed and energised at the same time.
For more information on the benefits of Thai massage please see my website.
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