About to travel to Thailand and thinking about getting a Thai massage? Not sure what to expect and want to know more about this ancient therapy? Well, you have found the right place as this article will fill you in on everything that you need to know before getting a massage in Thailand.
The Thai name for the traditional Thai massage is Nuad Bo-Rarn. It is a therapy that combines the techniques and goodness of both yoga and acupressure. There are several health benefits that Thai massage offers. Read on to know more.
How Thai Massage Was Created
Thai massage was not invented in recent years, decades, or even centuries. This ancient therapy dates back more than 2,500 years.
Thai massage is not even technically from Thailand. People believe it originated in India, when the Buddha was alive. His physician, Shivago Komarpaj, is credited with the creation of this form of therapy, now popular in Thailand. Buddhism is the national religion of Thailand, so it is easy to see how it would have made its way to the country.
Thai massage has gained immense popularity around the world and is renowned for its many health benefits. So much so that not only do tourists not have to go far to find a salon offering a Thai massage, it is also practiced all over the world. No matter what country you reside in, you will be able to find a Thai massage center somewhere.
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What to Expect from a Traditional Thai Massage
The best way to imagine what a traditional massage would be like is to imagine the massage therapist arranging your body into different yoga positions.
You should also expect it to be a little tough at times. Do not be surprised to feel a knee in the back as the massage therapist stretches your body into a position to which it is not accustomed.
A Thai massage usually starts with the recipient lying on a padded mat on the floor. In some instances, a Thai massage might be performed on a table, but the traditional method is to have it performed on the floor.
This is because the massage therapist will be using their body to manipulate yours into various yoga poses. They need to be able to climb over you, and this is far more difficult on a table.
The massage therapist will then put your body through a series of stretches and positions using their hands, feet, knees, or legs. The massage therapist may also apply direct pressure to certain parts of your body.
No oils or lotions are used; you will just be put into different positions on the mat. This could be when face down, lying on your back, or even on your side.
If you have never had a Thai massage before, you may experience some pain. The masseuse will be unblocking energy pathways in your body using pressure and stretching that can be uncomfortable.
If you do experience discomfort, tell your massage therapist. Most Thai massage therapists are very conscious of causing too much pain and will continue in a gentler manner if needed. Many will often ask if you are okay with the pressure, so please be honest with your response.
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Thai Massage Etiquette
If you have booked a Thai massage in advance, try to arrive at least 10 minutes early. This will allow you enough time to fill out any forms and change into loose-fitting clothes, if required.
This will also ensure that the masseuse stays on schedule for the day and that you have not caused another appointment to be pushed back.
Most Thai people have limited knowledge of English so do not expect too much in the way of conversation. That said, always be polite when asked questions or given instructions. A Thai massage can hurt a lot more when it is performed by an offended massage therapist.
A traditional Thai massage is exactly that; do not confuse it with any other type of massage that you might have heard about in Thailand.
If you feel that the massage therapist provided good service, a tip is almost always welcome. What we may consider a small amount of money is worth a lot more in Thailand. A small tip will often make a massage therapist’s day — so be generous.
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Benefits of Thai Massage
Thai massages would not be so popular if they did not have some obvious health benefits. Though they are expensive and may be uncomfortable at times, Thai massages do provide benefits for the body.
There are many health benefits associated with the Thai massage, but we have listed some of the most common ones here.
Lowers Stress Levels
Most of you will know that too much stress is bad for health. Not only can it lead to mental illnesses such as depression, but also physical illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, most types of massage offer stress relief, and traditional Thai massages are no exception.
By utilizing pressure and stretching techniques, a masseuse will be able to relax your body and remove any tension that might have built up.
The Thai massage is based around the notion that energy flows through the body down body lines, channels, or energy lines. The role of the massage therapist is to clear those lines so that energy can flow through them more freely.
Tight muscles are often thought to be the main cause of blockage in these lines. This is why the massage therapist will use various techniques to loosen up your muscles.
Promotes Blood Circulation
This is where the yoga positions come in. Due to your body being stretched and put in various yoga poses, blood circulation in your body will increase.
Good blood circulation is important, as it keeps your body tissues full of the oxygen that they need to perform at their best. Good blood circulation is also known to promote better heart health and cell growth.
Yoga is known to help with flexibility, thanks to the many poses and positions that it involves.
A Thai massage comprises of some of these stretches and positions while also helping to relax and soothe tension in the muscles. Simply put, if you regularly enjoy a Thai massage, over time, you will start to feel an increase in your flexibility.
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Interesting Facts about Thai Massage
So, we know that the Thai massage dates back thousands of years, and that it contains numerous benefits for our health. However, we have listed below a few more interesting facts about the Thai massage that will come in handy for you.
Thai Massage Is Often Called Thai Yoga Massage
Thai massage makes use of principals similar to yoga and other ancient therapies, such as Indian Ayurveda and acupressure.
It involves a lot of stretching and pressure rather than oils, lotions, and gentle stroking of the muscles, which are used in more common types of massage. For that reason, many people call it the Thai Yoga Massage.
You Do Not Have to Be Naked
Contrary to popular belief, a Thai massage does not require you to be naked. Traditionally, it is always been performed on fully clothed people.
People often confuse the Thai massage with other types, such as the Swedish massage, which is performed on participants that are wearing their underwear or who are even naked under a towel.
Learn more about Thai Massage vs Swedish Massage.
There is no reason to disrobe because no oils or lotions will be rubbed into your skin as part of the massage. You can either choose to wear your own set of clothes or pajama-style clothes provided to you by the massage parlor.
If you choose former, make sure they are loose-fitting. Tight clothes will restrict your body movements during the massage and can cause discomfort.
A Thai Massage Works 72,000 Body Lines
Thai massage is based on a theory that first originated in Indian yoga. The theory goes that there are 72,000 pathways or body lines which transport air throughout the body.
As part of the massage, the massage therapist will work to clear these pathways using yoga positions and intense pressure in certain areas. This then allows air to travel more freely through the pathways and thus provide you with the health benefits associated with Thai massage.
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