Thai massage is an ancient healing practice that has been used for centuries to reduce tension, improve posture, and increase range of motion in the joints and muscles. It combines compression, acupressure, and passive stretching to achieve these results. This type of massage is believed to have originated in India over 2,500-7,000 years ago. In southern Thailand, the emphasis is on pressure points (focusing on power lines) while in northern Thailand the emphasis is on stretching.
A study was conducted with 34 soccer players to test the effects of Thai massage on sports performance. The results showed that after receiving a Thai massage three times in a 10-day period, the players had a significant improvement in their ability to do sitting and stretching exercises. Brain scans of people who received Thai massage treatments showed more relaxation and much less anxiety than those who underwent physical therapy treatments for the same conditions. The health benefits of Thai massage are numerous.
It can reduce stress, increase energy levels, and improve sports performance. It can also help with peripheral neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes. Komparaj, Buddha's personal physician, is often referred to as the “Father Doctor” or “Father of Medicine” and it is customary to ask him for guidance and inspiration before starting a massage or at the end of treatment. The therapeutic principles used in Thai tradition are similar to those of Swedish or deep tissue massage, although other methods may be used to achieve them.
If someone wants to focus on a specific area of their body, they can choose to work with a massage therapist to schedule regular sessions until they're happy with the results. Half of the test group was treated with Thai massage and the rest with other conservative management techniques that included joint mobilization (a technique that involves applying pressure), hot compresses, and manual stretching to sore areas. Thai massage therapists have an intuitive sense and sense of knowing where to apply pressure and for how long to press, with the goal of releasing muscle tension and stretching tense muscles, ultimately encouraging the flow of energy around the body. Similar muscle relaxation and lengthening can be experienced after a Thai massage session, but without the effort of an hour-long yoga class.