After just returning from a Thai massage and then off the back of our recent visit to Thailand where I got ‘thousands’, I thought it a great idea to give you reason to treat yourself. It seems massage is one of the rare indulgences that brings pleasure across every age group, man and woman without a single drop of alcohol needing to be consumed to elicit the enjoyment. So without delay, let’s tuck in!
What Is Thai Massage?
Thai massage is a practice said to be over 2000 years old. As opposed to Swedish massage which is a Western modality that uses massage oils, Thai massage (as the name suggests) originated in the East and is usually conducted without oils. The practice has been influenced by the principles of medicine observed throughout India, China and other parts of South-East Asia. An observer would also note the obvious similarity between the the ancient practice of yoga and the manner in which Thai massage is conducted. In fact, it is often described as ‘lazy yoga’.
Generally one would lie on a floor mate or a firm mattress but close to the ground however in Western countries, a more traditional massage table is often used. In most cases, one would wear loose, light clothing or maybe their underwear but nudity is usually forbidden. Any of you lads that have had a Thai massage before and know the positions you can find yourself in, would probably concur that this is a good thing!
The practitioner will use their elbows, knees, forearms, shins, palms, thumbs and even feet to stretch, massage, press and manipulate your body. To the recipient, it may seem an unstructured process however correct Thai massage follows designated lines in the body known as ‘Sen’. These sen are believed by the Thai to be the channels in which vital energy to the body’s tissues flow along. If the sen become blocked at specific points, the vital energy is said to build to excess behind the blockage which causes deficiency in the tissues on the opposite side. By using trigger point therapy or pressure at specific points on the sen lines, it is believed that balance in energy flow can be achieved by opening the energy pathways and allowing the body to heal itself.
A full Thai massage can take up to two hours or more with each position preparing you for the next by stretching and opening the joints. Similar to yoga, the aim is to create space in both the joints and the mind. The rhythmic pressure being applied in different positions almost encourages you into the present moment and away from the distraction of daily life. Often this occurs whilst you feel yourself entering a sedative state or relaxation.
Interestingly, my masseuse today told me that the practice of giving Thai massage for her is very meditative and that entering this state helps her to channel energies in her recipient. Well in that case, if it’s great too for her health, I better get back tomorrow!
THIS IS NOT TRADITIONAL THAI MASSAGE BUT IS FUNNY NONETHELESS…
What Are The Benefits of Thai Massage?
Whilst it’s difficult to prove (as the Thais believe) that regular massage practice prevents conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, it has a clear list of mental and physiological benefits. These include:
- Improved joint mobility and reduction in joint/muscular pain and tightness – by improving blood flow to tissues and encouraging movement through a full range of motion. The pressure point therapy on specific areas can also help to relieve tension which may flow onto relieving migraines and tension headaches.
- Reduced or better managed mental and emotional stress – like with yoga, the meditative qualities of Thai massage assist with creating harmony and synergy between body and mind.
- Deep relaxation – the rhythmic motions are a fast-track to deep relaxation. You will walk out of a massage feeling awesome and will notice that flowing through into a very restorative night sleep.
- Creates connection with your often absent spiritual side – the therapy has an intent of love and kindness. This helps you to realise in context your current life position and brings you back to a more natural state of balance.
But best of all??? It feels great! So while certain claims like ‘stimulates the immune system’ and ‘removes metabolic waste’seem to lack any credible evidence, you do not need a meta-analysis of 1500 studies to know that a Thai massage will leave you feeling tops! And you know as good as I that when you are feeling great, you radiate energy in life and are far more productive and happy in what you do!
Call it a placebo but man, it works for me!
A Few Tips For Your Thai Massage!
I highly recommend treating yourself to a Thai message as a reward for all your hard work in the real world! But here’s a few tips to work by so you get the most enjoyment and relaxation out of your session:
- Have a shower beforehand – you don’t want to be feeling self-conscious after a hard day on the tools. Scrub up, even if only for the good of the therapist.
- Visit the toilet – again, for self-preservation reasons and so you are super-relaxed, visit the gents prior to your session. You’re going to get twisted and turned and having a fart squeezed out of you might be a little embarrassing!
- Don’t have a big meal beforehand – having food in your guts will make you feel very uncomfortable. Keep it to a snack and do not go too heavy on fluids.
- Don’t over-pay – you should be looking at approximately $AU 60 for a one-hour Thai massage. Be careful to buy off deal or coupon websites as they are often not a recommended, well reviewed service.
- Check the reviews – customer feedback is king! Check out the Google reviews or ask your mates to recommend to you. You may be surprised how popular they are.
- Leave your worries at the door – it doesn’t matter how crappy your day has been, you’re there to chill out. So kick your shoes off and wind down.
I for one found it quite hard to warrant spending cash on massage until I started having them and realised that it brought me a whole lot more contentment than the same amount of cash spent in a pub did. So treat ya’self! And come back to me with how you go. Good luck… JS