Thai Massage Complete Guide – History, Tips, Techniques and Benefits

Since decades, traditional Thai massage has been used as a form of therapeutic healing not only for the physical components of the human anatomy, but also to enhance the spiritual as well as psychological well-being of receivers.

A comprehensive overview; such that found below, of the history, technique and art involved within the traditional Thai massage is necessary for fully understanding its effectiveness.

History of Thai Massage

history of thai massage

Shivago Komarpaj is labeled as the founder of Thai massage as well as medicine associated with it. According to the Pali-Buddhist scriptures, Shivago is said to be Buddha’s physician over an approximate 2500 years ago.

According to many accounts, he was also believed to have possessed exceptional intellect regarding herbal medicines merged with medical skills.

thai massage history

The Thai massage is much more sophisticated today than it was when founded, in today’s date, newer dynamics have been added in the form of Southeast-Asian, Indian as well as Chinese forms of medicine embedded within the core foundations.

Thai massage as a form of therapy, as a result, has become subject to an extremely high number of variations when moving from region to region around the globe.

What is Thai Massage?

what is thai massage

The Thai massage derives as one of an aggregate of four different branches of Thai medicine. Even before the concept of doctors was introduced, Thai massage was utilized as a form of psychological as well as physical healing and rehabilitation.

The traditional Thai massage includes clients laying on the ground on a firm mat or pads while therapists deliver a deep-tissue massage merged with yoga in the form of stretching.

The Foundation of Traditional Thai Massage

Thai massage is considered solely as a therapeutic form of restoration of health via increased blood-flow, rehabilitating dysfunctional or weak organs, promotion of correct posture as well as attaining optimal relaxation.

The Thai therapeutic massage has its core foundations embedded within the concept of anatomy energy lines, also known as Sen Lines. The human anatomy is believed to consist of a total of 72,000 Sen-lines upon which Chinese acupuncture also heavily relies.

traditional thai massage

The Component of Nudity

Unlike many other massage types, traditional Thai massage does not involve clients being naked; they are advised to wear loose and highly comfortable clothes.

Another distinctive component which can usually be found in traditional Thai massage parlors includes a range of 7-10 clients receiving their massage therapy in one room.

nude thai massage

Basics Involved in Traditional Thai Massage

Since the basics of Yoga positioning and stretching is utilized within the Thai massage, the body positioning of the recipients keeps on changing where the limbs or even the legs of therapists are used to better position a client.

A standardized framework is followed by professional Thai massage therapists which are most usually altered to achieve the customized desired results of clients.

A combination of massage techniques are used, most interesting of which allows the feet of therapists to deliver an efficient; yet, incredibly soothing massage for relieving muscles and chronic pains.

Since Thai massages rely heavily upon Yoga stretching as well as the application of pressure onto the body of clients, many whom are new to the world of receiving massages hesitate to opt for it.

Unlike a Classical massage, traditional Thai massages are not too commonly found outside of Thailand mainly due to several reasons. The primary reason being due to a lack of Thai massage specialists present, an adequate amount of training and learning needs to be carried out for perfecting the healing process involved in a traditional Thai massage.

Sufficient finances, as well as time and an immense amount of effort, is required for massage therapy students to travel to Asia for enrolling in intensive traditional Thai massage and herbal medicine healing programs available.

Thai Massage VS. Classical Massage 

thai massage vs classical massage

Classical massage or more often known as Swedish massage is the most commonly found massage therapy within Spas as well as massage parlors.

The Swedish massage aims at delivering optimal relaxation to users as well as helping with recovery from muscle adhesions to some extent. The traditional Thai massage works towards providing enhanced recovery, healing, and relaxation.

Although the overall ultimate objective of both the massages mentioned above may be the same; yet, the techniques used in each are very different along with other factors.

If you are confused between the massage therapy you should be treating yourself with out of the two; then the below mentioned major difference can help you with figuring out what will work best for your body.

Traditional Thai M​assage

  • A traditional Thai massage is performed on clients whom of which are laying on the floor or the ground with a floor mat beneath them or a slightly padded cloth.
  • The masseuse has a greater level of freedom of movement when the client is lying on the floor, the feet, hands and other parts of the body can be utilized for delivering the massage effectively from all angles.

  • A professional traditional Thai masseuse utilizes all core parts of his/her body such as his feet, in particular, to deliver a varying and an effective massage experience to clients.
  • The component of nudity is not a part of the traditions of a Thai massage. Clients are asked to wear clothes that are loose as well as extremely comfortable to wear during the experience.
  • Since the core objective of a traditional Thai massage is to provide enhanced physical, psychological as well as spiritual healing, a minimum period of two hours is allotted for the massage so that the objectives set can be effectively met.
  • The foundation of traditional Thai massage lies within the concepts of energy lines or ‘Sen lines’. The anatomy of humans is said to consist of a total of 72,000 Sen lines.
  • No essential oils or lotions are used during a Traditional Thai massage; therefore, there is increased friction as well as penetration of massage motions.

Classical or Swedish Massage

  • Proper equipment, particularly a massaging table or even at times, a portable massage chair is utilized to perform a Classical or a Swedish massage upon clients.
  • The movement of the masseuse is restricted by the equipment which is used, such as the massaging table. Clients can only lay on their front or back; allowing massagers limited movement since they have to hunch over the table to reach tricky spots on the customer's body.
  • For a Classical or a Swedish massage, the fists, elbows, forearms, as well as hands of the masseuse, are categorized as the standard form of providing a massage.
  • The method of draping is used in a Swedish massage where the client is naked or if uncomfortable with nudity; they are permitted to keep wearing their undergarments. A towel is then placed upon their body, and the masseuse removes the towel partially to massage a particular body area before putting the towel back.
  • The Classical massage usually lasts between an hour or if stretched upon the client's wishes then a maximum of an hour and a half maximum.
  • The Classical massage depends upon the theoretical framework of western concepts of anatomy.
  • Specially formulated mixtures of essential oils are used to provide an incredibly relaxing experience for users as per the individual body and skin type. 

Regardless of whichever type of massage you opt for, it is of the absolute essence to make sure the masseuse you have paid for or hired is an experienced professional within the field so that maximum effectiveness regarding relaxation or recovery is achieved.

Thai Massage Tips & Techniques 

A traditional Thai massage is also often casually known as ‘lazy yoga.' With its roots strongly embedded within Chinese, Indian as well as thai concepts of medicine and acupuncture, the ultimate goal of an effective traditional Thai massage is to deliver enhanced physical, psychological or spiritual health.

It is; therefore, advised to always opt for an experienced masseuse for providing the massage since a specialized set of basic concepts affiliated with psychological as well as physical Thai medical therapy needs to be embedded within.

The Thai massage incorporates various motions, compression techniques as well as styles to be able to release tensed muscles and energy blockages within the body effectively.

If you are looking to know more about the techniques involved, which almost all masseuse follow while delivering a traditional Thai massage, then the content mentioned below can be of much significance.

Foot Massage

A distinct component of the Thai massage lies in the fact that the masseuse uses their feet as a source of delivering the massage experience to clients. The Thai massage initiates from the feet of customers, where the masseuse grounds his/her heels onto the mat while the remaining foot is placed onto the arches of their clients.

thai foot massage

Depending on the allotted time of the customized massage formed, he/she continues to step onto the arches of the feet of clients to provide comfort and relaxation. If; however, additional pressure needs to be applied, the masseuse can also utilize the arches his/her feet which were previously grounded onto the mat.

Alongside the foot-on-foot massage, the feet of the masseuse is also used for covering other core massage areas such as the lower back, etc.

Utilization of Varying Massage Motions

Our shoulders are often common regions where strain and pressure can easily become trapped. For effectively eradicating any trapped stress within, the masseuse sits in such a position that his/her lower back, hips and heels of the feet are vertically aligned.

The palms are then placed onto the crown of customers shoulders with the arms in a straightened position before the kneading motion is initiated using the fingers.

The masseuse then puts pressure onto the fingertips and palms by pushing forward the heel via the help of such rocking motion each shoulder area is extensively massaged and covered.

Alongside kneading, other massage strokes such as the Effleurage, Petrissage, vibration, and even rolling, etc. are incorporated within the massages to achieve the desired objective of each client individually.

varying massage motions

Assisted Body Stretching

The side-body stretch is among the many types of stretching used within Thai massages; this particular position merges yoga stretching to flex the anatomy of clients efficiently. The feet of the masseuse is placed in a manner for supporting the tailbone of customers while the back, rests on the lower legs of the masseuse.

Once the arms of clients are straightened vertically, the wrists are grasped tightly by the masseuse following which the torso is rotated towards each direction for enhancing flexibility as well as releasing any tensions trapped within. All core body parts are one-by-one targeted by the masseuse to fulfill the preset customized massage pattern set for the client.                            

Above mentioned are just three out of the many basic techniques and massage styles whom of which are used for effectively delivering not only physical recovery but also psychological and spiritual enhancement.

Thai Massage for Front Body Pain

thai massage for front body

The traditional Thai massage, unlike other massages, is strictly based on the concept of Sen-lines several of which are located on the front anatomy of a human body.

The massage motions are primarily based upon the locations of the Sen-lines to be able to best bring about effective physical and psychological recovery including the alleviation of pain.

Mentioned below are just some out of the many Sen-lines whose paths are mimicked to deliver an optimal traditional Thai massage experience.

Sen Sumana

Initiating from the tongue, the Sen Sumana passes through the chest, all the way till the solar plexus.

Adequately covering the Sen Sumana with a personalized Thai massage which incorporates all essential massage techniques can ease the suffering from those who are subject to various throat problems, Bronchitis, Asthma, Spasming of the Diaphragm, chronic heartburn and diseases of the digestive system such as abdominal pains.

Sen Kalathari

Beginning at the Naval, the Sen Kalathari switches into two branches going towards the right and two branches going towards the left. The initial line crosses the chest via the navel till the shoulder and into the hand and the fingertips of each side of the anatomy. While the second set of branches travel downwards from the navel all the way through the inner legs till the toes of both feet.

Targeting the Sen Kalathari with Thai massage merged with Thai medical therapy can aid with recovery from jaundice,rheumatic heart diseases, angina pectoris, hysteria, epilepsy, legs/joint pains, etc.

Sen Lawusang

The left ear is where the Sen Lawusang originates and further goes towards the throat all the way down to the nipple where it alters its direction towards the navel and finally halts at the solar plexus.

Due to its initiation from the ear, massaging the Sen Lawusang in a traditional Thai manner can help reduce pains such as chest or tooth-pain and cure diseases such as ear diseases, deafness, facial paralysis or even chest pain.

An aggregate of 7200 Sen-lines can be found within the human body, out of which the above mentioned are just 3 of the many essential Sen-lines located on the front side to best reduce pain or deliver faster recovery.

A professional Thai masseuse with the extensive most experience will always know which Sen-line to cover for achieving optimal, individual results specifically.

Thai Massage for Back Body Pain 

thai massage for back body

Sen-lines are essential for all professional Thai massagers to follow and base their massage motions upon. A traditional Thai massage aims at curing as well as enhancing the healing or recovery period for a range of different medical ailments.

Explained down below are just a few of the core Sen-lines located within the back-body of the human anatomy utilized to eradicate chronic pains or such associated issues.

Sen Ittha

The Sen-Ittha begins at the left side of the nostril and travels all the way till the head and back down from the rear of the neck.

The Sen-Ittha then travels down the Vertebrae crossing the buttocks, changing direction towards the inner thigh to go back up from the front of the body till the length of a thumb away from the navel.

Such extensive coverage from the backside of the anatomy works well to aid in a vast number of ailments including diseases associated with the urinary tract infections, common cold, intestinal complication, even shoulder pain, a stiff neck and such other medical issues.

Sen Pingkhala

Many similarities can be found between Yoga’s Ida Nadi posture and the Sen Pingkhala. The Sen Pingkhala is the same as Sen Ittha except that it is located on the right side of the body, just like Pingala Nadi embedded within Yoga.

Since the route of the Sen Pingkhala is the same as Sen Ittha, the diseases and ailments covered under the latter are also covered by the former along with Sen Pingkhala additionally including diseases present within the gallbladder or the liver of clients.

The route which massage motions and strokes of the traditional Thai massage follow, mentioned above are just two out of the many others specifically set for relieving back pain issues due to the accumulation of strain or even various chronic diseases.

To best reap the physical, spiritual and psychological results regarding recovery from the traditional Thai massage it is essential to only receive a therapy session by professionals whom of which are highly experiencing within the field.

Benefits of the Thai Massage 

benefits of thai massage

Thai massage has been a traditional form of primarily spiritual, physical or psychological recovery and even for utmost relaxation. It utilizes various concepts embedded within the traditional Indian, Chinese and Thai traditions of healings making it an extremely efficient form of therapy; therefore, has been prevalent since thousands of years.

Mentioned below are just some of the core benefits provided by a traditional Thai massage therapy via fluent massage sessions:

Relief from Osteoarthritis

The condition of Osteoarthritis results in severe joint pain within the feet, knees, hands, neck, and lower-back of those who suffer from it. Research carried out to analyze the effectiveness of a Thai massage therapy for treating Osteoarthritis showed that patients between the ages 50-85 years, whom of which received a standardized Thai massage twice a week showed enhanced recovery.

Each research subject following their Thai massage therapy performed far better on a 6-minute walking test than before, indicating at enhanced healing.

Aids with Chronic Migraines and Stress-related Headaches

Sen-lines; the foundation of Thai massage, are also present in the face and head of the human anatomy due to which standardized massage strokes and motions are preset for providing optimal recovery. Specialized massage motion following the Sen-lines helps with releasing any negative energy trapped within, giving way to enhanced blood circulation due to relaxed lymph nodes as well as nerves.

Regularized blood flow can significantly aid in alleviating pain in cases of a severe migraine when pressure is building within, resulting in a throbbing headache.

Reduced Stress Levels

The Thai massage is ideal for relaxing the body via incorporating yoga as well as acupuncture techniques. An enhanced blood-flow merged with a comforting environment can substantially reduce Cortisol, which is also commonly known as the stress hormone. While at the same time, Endorphin, a hormone for the promotion of relaxation is released placing clients in a state of optimal bliss.

Enhances Flexibility

A distinct component of traditional Thai massages is that it significantly utilizes stretching customers in the form of Yoga. Constant stretching via the help of a professional Thai massage masseuse over frequent massage sessions can greatly pave the way for a higher level of flexibility to be attained.

Not only does the stretching aid with flexibility but it also improves blood circulation by unnerving any joints, cramps or tensed muscles within the anatomy; leading to a more balanced and a stable posture.

Since there is an aggregate of 7200 Sen-lines located within the human anatomy, a traditional Thai massage extensively covers all body parts to rid the body of toxins efficiently, alleviate any pain, aid with the recovery of injuries as well as overall enhance the immune system to better fight off infections.

A traditional Thai massage; therefore, delivers an incredibly vast number of benefits to its frequent users.


All massages work towards effectively delivering comfort as well as relaxation to their clients; yet, the Thai massage goes a step further to incorporate methods of traditional healing of various cultures to best attain the desired results or objectives.

It utilizes intensified pressure due to which it may seem intimidating; therefore, is not the first choice of massage type for those who are new to the world of receiving massages but it is one of the most effectively powerful sources of spiritual, psychological and physical healing.

References

Sara
 

A geek at heart, 5'7, 22 years old, single, expert in psychological science and massage therapy. I am a fun loving girl and love to travel and explore the world. I hope you find my blog useful. Leave a message :)

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