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Thai Massage

Thai Massage is a form of massage that originates from Thailand and utilises the methods of acupressure, reflexology and yoga. Thai Massage uses a deep and consistent pressure along with passive stretches to improve energy flow and muscle function. Thai Massage is beneficial for overall health as well as helping to prevent and overcome ailments, injuries or disease.
Thai Massage

In This Article
History How Does It Work?
A Typical Appointment Treatment Time / Cost / Number Of Sessions
Is It Right For You?
Thai Massage is sometimes referred to as Traditional Thai Massage or Thai Yoga Massage and in its native language the method is called Nuad phaen boran or Nuat Thai. Thai Massage evolved from the massage techniques used by ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Greek civilisations many thousands of years ago. The actual origins of Thai Massage comes from Ayurvedic medicine and Yoga and is believed to have arrived in Thailand around 2,500 years ago from India.

Jivaka Kuma Bhacca (pronounced in Thailand today as Shivaga Komarpaj) is said to be the founder of Thai Massage and a central figure in the Buddhist medical system of Thailand. To this day, Buddhist temples and massage schools teach traditional Thai Massage particularly in the area around Bangkok and within the famous temples of Wat Mahataat and Wat Pho.

Thai Massage utilises massage techniques along with acupressure, reflexology and yoga methods to help the body and mind relax and improve the natural flow of energy. There are said to be over 70,000 energy lines running around the body but Thai Massage focuses on the 10 major ones. This helps to remove blockages and allow a free flow of energy which places the body back into balance thereby improving health and healing.

Unlike traditional western massage which uses long, continuous stroking movements, Thai Massage uses point pressure, compression and stretching of the muscles in a gentle rhythmical rocking movement. There are two primary procedures in the Thai method: a deep consistent pressure applied to ligaments, nerves and tendons and passive stretches that manipulate the musculo-skeletal system to help balance function of the body. The latter method is why some people describe the therapy as 'lazy man's yoga' due to the client receiving a similar range of motion as found in Yoga but passively by the therapist.

Thai Massage is beneficial for a number of conditions such as pain relief, tension, circulation problems, migraines and whiplash. It is also a method to promote wellness by stimulating and energising the body and mind. 

Be prepared
It is advisable to choose a Thai Massage practitioner who is a member of, or is accredited by, an association or professional body. This ensures your massage session is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Members are also bound to a code of ethics and practice. The main organisations are listed at the foot of this article.

Inform your therapist about any medical complaints or medications you are taking as this will influence your treatment. You should also let your therapist know if you are, or suspect you might be, pregnant.

Avoid eating a large meal before your session and don't drink alcohol. You should try to arrive at your appointment in plenty of time and avoid rushing about before or afterwards as this can be detrimental to the effects of the therapy.

What to expect
Generally no oil is used in Thai Massage and you'll remain fully dressed however it is advisable to wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing so your body can go through the full range of movement. Some Thai Massage therapists do use oil in which case you will need to undress down to your underclothes but you'll be provided with towels which will cover you during the treatment.

The therapist will ask you to lay on a padded mat on the floor (or a massage table) and then use their hands, knees and feet to place you into stretches similar to Yoga (this is done passively and requires little effort on your part).

You will also receive compression and acupressure techniques to the muscles and ligaments as well as mobilisation to your joints. The therapy is more rigorous than traditional western-style massage but will leave you feeling energised afterwards.

Typically a Thai Massage session can last anywhere from 60 minutes to 2 hours depending on your circumstances and level of health. Your first session may last a little longer than subsequent sessions as your therapist gains an understanding of your current health and explains the therapy to you.

Costs can vary depending on your location with a one hour session costing on average about £40 and a two-hour session around £70. Check with your local practitioner before booking an appointment.

The number of sessions you'll need will depend on your condition or problem. Many people use Thai Massage on a monthly basis as part of their health regime whereas people with a chronic condition will need a series of weekly treatments. Your therapist will explain the course of your treatment and how long they expect it to last at your first appointment.

Thai Massage is a safe and beneficial therapy when practised by a trained and accredited practitioner so seek out someone with the right experience, training and qualifications. There are precautions taken for people with certain conditions and massage isn't recommended if you have open wounds, infectious skin diseases or immediately after surgery

Thai Massage after chemotherapy or radiotherapy should only be used under recommendation by your doctor and anyone with a history of blood clots or heart disease should also check with their doctor before booking a session. If you're pregnant, check with your GP first and find a practitioner who is certified and trained in pregnancy massage.

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