What IS Thai Massage?
To this question I usually respond, “It’s easier if I show you . . ." Truthfully, it’s not only easier, it’s a deeper understanding of what Thai Massage IS, when you receive this type of bodywork.
Thai massage is sometimes referred to as ‘The Lazy man’s Yoga’. The recipient is stretched in elegant and soothing ways by the therapist. The purpose of passive stretching is total musculo-tendon relaxation and a deeper awareness of the body. After stretching, the body generally feels looser, lighter, more relaxed and more expansive. Stretching doesn’t just affect the body physically through the muscles and tendons; it affects the recipient on many levels.
As the body expands physically, the mind is also expanded. Mentally, the person is taken outside of the limitations they place for their own bodies. There is also an emotional and spiritual component that is affected by the passive stretching of Thai Massage. Many new clients explain apologetically that they aren’t very flexible. As the massage progresses, I can show them that they are indeed flexible, and that their bodies enjoy stretching into new realms of possibility. This is one of the most exciting aspects of my job as a Thai Bodywork Therapist. I love this gift of facilitating a greater connection of each person’s body with their mind, emotions, and spirit.
Thai Massage is also an acupressure session. The therapist releases energy and facilitates the free-flow of the body’s natural rhythms and currents – both physically and metaphysically. Thai massage identified a system of energy channels in the body called Sen Lines (Sen, means Conduit). Since this is an ancient therapy, many thousands of lines were discovered, but as is the case with the Meridian System of Traditional Chinese Medicine, about 10 main Sen are used in Thai Massage.
The Sen are touched physically by the therapist using rhythmic Thumb walking, Palm pressing (with hands and feet), and Finger circles. The pressure into the tissues is generally quite deep, and the effect is an increased and more balanced flow of blood, lymph, and other body fluids, release of stagnant energies, as well as a deeper mind-body connection for the recipient.
As a devoted yogini, I was immediately drawn to Thai Bodywork Therapy. From personal experience, I know the value and great satisfaction of stretching. Over the course of my 15-year practice of yoga, the value of stretching for the release of tension and for deep relaxation becomes more profound with every day. There really are not words that can explain the sensation; to be fully understood it must be experienced. As a bodywork therapist, I find the acupressure aspect of Thai massage to be very compelling, too. The rhythmic nature of Thumb walking and Palm pressing combined with deep pressure and stretching result in a singular experience of lightness and relaxation. I adore hearing the sigh of the deepest relaxation at the peak of a stretch in Thai Massage. It’s as though the body is telling me, “Oh! I remember now! I am full of happiness and ease and life!”
And it’s true. You Are.