The Thai approach to massage is a global sensation, in 2019 was added to the UNESCO cultural heritage of humanity list and is popular with many people all over the world. Practitioners and centres specialising in Thai are amongst the most common nominees for the travel and hospitality awards and come from all corners of the globe. Indeed, winners profiled in this chapter come from far afield as Peru, Germany and Canada.
A Thai massage is a traditional practice originating from Thailand and is said to be thousands of years old. Thai massage combines acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles and assisted yoga poses. Unlike traditional western, Swedish or shiatsu massage techniques, in which an individual is to lie on a bed, the receiver in a Thai massage lies on the floor and actively participates in the massage. Normally in a variety of yoga-like positions combined with deep static and rhythmic pressures. Sessions can last up to two hours and may include pulling fingers, toes, ears, cracking knuckles and walking on the recipients back.
It is recommended that after a Thai massage you rest and drink plenty of water. Even though you may feel relaxed muscles have been worked, stretched and prodded. There are no guidelines on how often you should have a Thai massage.
Benefits of a Thai Massage are;
- Easing of Muscle and Joint Pain – The use of pressure, stretching and kneading on the body helps release muscle tension, enhance range of movement on joints and alleviate muscle spasms.
- Improved Blood Circulation – The use of stretches in Thai massage means it promotes the circulation of blood which can have a host of health benefits such as efficient organ functioning and boosted immune system.
- Increased Energy – Research has shown that Thai massage can increase people energy levels. Thai massage is based on the notion of energy lines and that tight muscles cause blockages within these lines. You can open or unblock energy lines by physically stimulating the muscles.
- Reduced Stress – Thai massage has been found to reduce stress. The release of muscle and nerve tension result in a heightened sense of wellbeing and optimum relaxation.
- Customisable Therapy – If someone wishes, they can work with a therapist on a specific area of the body. A well trained and professional practitioner can focus on areas with increased intensity or lighter touches.
A Thai massage can be taken one step further with the use of Luk Pra Kob or Thai Herbal compress. Luk Pra Kob is the pressing of a herbal ball on the body for the purpose relieving muscular pain and exfoliating the skin. The herbal ball is made up of a blend of herbs which are wrapped in unbleached cotton and heated in a steamer. The hot compress is then applied to the body, the heat releases essential oils of the medicinal herbs inside the ball, allowing them to penetrate the skin. It is recommended not to shower for a few hours after the treatment in order to fully maximise the benefits of the herbal oils.