Thai massage is a form of therapeutic touch that differs from traditional massage in many ways. Instead of lying on a massage table, you lie on a mat on the floor while the provider manipulates your body in certain ways to stimulate organs and improve flexibility. Thai massage is part of traditional Thai medicine and is always performed clothed, on a mat or on the floor. The recipient receives a series of stretches similar to those in yoga, as well as a combination of abdominal exercises, breathing signals, deep tissue massages and the application of pressure to specific points on the body.
Practitioners often use different sequences of techniques on patients, who are on the floor, on a mat, fully clothed, either in a supine position, sitting, on their side or on their stomach. Thai massage usually works with compression and practitioners use their feet, elbows, knees and hands to compress and stretch the client. Breathing work accompanies stretching, which often seems like a form of passive yoga. Similar relaxation and muscle stretching can be experienced after a Thai massage session, but without the effort of an hour-long yoga class.
During a Thai massage, the masseuse moves around and above the client to access a wider range of angles in every part of the body, even in cases where the client is much larger than the masseuse. This attracts new customers who were always interested in massage but didn't want to take off their clothes, as well as current customers interested in Thai massage but who feel uncomfortable being on the floor. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) offers a variety of rigorously vetted continuing education classes and trainings in massage therapy, available online and in person. The ultimate spa getaway for massages, reflexology, body scrubs and waxing can be found in the heart of downtown San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter.
For example, it integrates Thai work by placing clients in positions that maximize muscle length. If you have a migraine or have tension headaches, traditional Thai massage can help alleviate symptoms. Many clients also report that Thai massage helps them feel emotionally and mentally centered, as well as rejuvenated and relaxed. Thai massage practitioner and instructor Ananda Apfelbaum has degenerative discs and vertebrae from a previous dance career but still finds relief from her ailments through Thai massage.
Practitioners can also choose to incorporate elements of Thai massage into their regular massage therapy sessions. It is a deeply relaxing and tension-relieving conscious movement practice that helps increase the person's range of motion and encourages flexibility through its unique combination of assisted stretching, yoga, breathing and massages. Thai massage is said to have been founded more than 2500 years ago by Jivaka Komarabhacca, who was the personal physician of the King of India at the time, Magadha King Bimbisara. It may be a good option for you if you want a more active type of massage, in which you move and participate instead of lying down throughout the session.
In one study involving 60 patients with knee arthrosis, researchers found that 3 weeks of Thai massage provided the same pain relief as 3 weeks of ibuprofen. According to Seely, Thai massage is popular among athletes and sports enthusiasts as a method of recovery.