Thai massage is an ancient, energy based, healing system integrating acupressure and assisted yoga postures where practitioners use their hands, thumbs, elbows, forearms, and feet to clear energetic blockages and to reduce tension in your muscles. Thai Massage, also called Thai yoga massage, is based on Indian Ayurvedic principles and combines stretching, body movement, and compression.
What Does Thai Massage Do?
The main focus of Thai is to make your muscles, joints and organs feel relaxed and to balance your energy centers so that you feel rejuvenated and restored. An authentic Thai massage involves applying deep pressure on points that make up your body’s energy line system, known as Sen lines. These are very similar to the meridians referred to in Chinese acupuncture or acupressure therapy. In addition, stretches are applied to enhance the flexibility of connective tissues and the flow of energy within the body. Thai massage is done on a mat on the floor rather than on a massage table and there is not need to disrobe. However, wearing loose fitting, comfortable clothing is recommended.
Some types of stretches may involve going through yoga-like movements with the practitioner holding or pulling you to maintain a pose.
If your muscles are sore or tense, you may feel some discomfort. If you do, let your practitioner know so the pressure and stretching can be reduced.
If you have an injury, or some part of your body is particularly sensitive to pain, be sure to let the practitioner know before they start the massage session.
What Are The Health Benefits?
Increased range of motion. Thai massage combines compression, acupressure, and passive stretching. These increase the range of motion in your joints and muscles. This can also improve your posture.
Reduces fatigue and increases energy.
Helps with back pain. Thai massage tends to focus on areas that can contribute to back pain, like the inner thigh and abdomen. However, if you have constant back pain, it’s best to visit a doctor before getting any type of massage.
Reduces headache intensity. One study showed that nine sessions of traditional Thai massage in a 3-week period can reduce painful headaches in people who have chronic tension headaches or migraines.
Lowers stress. In another study, researchers showed that Thai massage reduced stress, especially when combined with plenty of rest.
Helps stroke patients. A 2012 study suggests that stroke patients who get Thai massage regularly may be better able to recover the ability to do daily activities. They may also have lower pain levels and sleep better.
Side effects and risks
While Thai massage has many health benefits, the technique also has limits.
Due to its impact on the circulatory system, people with the following health conditions should consult their healthcare provider before seeking a Thai massage:
high blood pressure
neurological diseases that affect the spinal cord
coronary artery disease
Trained massage therapists can adjust the intensity and pressure to suit their clients. However, a person should avoid Thai massage while recovering from an injury. Even at the lowest intensity, Thai massage can sometimes cause further injury to the body.
People who have cancer, are pregnant, or are recovering from surgery should not undergo a Thai massage. The physical intensity of this massage technique could lead to health complications or worsen pre-existing injuries.
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