Thai massage is believed to have been developed by the Buddha's physician, some 2,500 years ago. Over the ensuing centuries, Thai massage was influenced not only by Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian medical philosophies but also by Indian Yoga. Deep static and firm rhythmic pressures form the core of the massage, applied with straight forearms locked at the elbow. Further manipulation is achieved through a combination of acupressure, body rocking and deep stretches to loosen joints and restore balance of the major muscle groups throughout the body.
Benefits of Thai massage include the release of blocked energy, greater awareness of body and mind, improved sleep and flexibility, and relief from tension, stress, anxiety, sprains, headaches and some respiratory difficulties. Weekly Thai massage helps prevent the build up of tension and long-term aches and pains.
Firm pressure is applied by having the practitioner lean on the client's body. Even the legs and feet of the giver can be used to position the body or limbs of the recipient. In other positions, hands fix the body, while the feet do the massaging. Be patient: a full session of Thai massage may last more than two hours. The entire body is addressed through rhythmic stretching and pressure and many different positions. The giver may also address fingers, toes and ears by stretching. Knuckles are gently cracked. The giver may even walk on the recipient's back.
Unlike Swedish massage, the object in Thai massage is not relaxation. Instead of putting you to sleep, Thai massage is designed to engage and energize the client to emerge more conscious and aware (mindful).
Thai massage was founded on the concept of energy being inhaled into the lungs and distributed throughout the body along thousands of pathways called “sen.” Manipulations are performed along these sen by the therapist.