About Thai Massage
Traditional Thai massage is the manual medicine branch of 2500 years of traditional Thai medicine. It combines elements of yoga, shiatsu and acupressure, working with the energy pathways of the body and the therapy points that are located along these lines.
Some of the physical benefits of Thai Massage
- Increased energy levels
- Relief from muscle tension and pain
- Better alignment and balance of the skeletal structure
- Increased function of the circulatory system
- Detoxification by stimulation of the lymphatic
- Increased awareness of your physical body
What To Expect From A Thai Massage
The practice of Thai Massage is somewhat different than the type of massage familiar to most people. Unlike therapies performed on a massage table, Thai Massage is usually performed on a large floor mat and the recipient remains fully clothes.
Your therapist begins each session by working the muscles of your feet with gentle pressure and stretching. Then, once your feet have become soft and pliable, your therapist will continue working with compression techniques and manipulation of acupressure points. Muscles of the legs and hips are addressed before the back and shoulders.
The stretches, influenced by the Yoga Asanas, lengthen and loosen muscles and are designed to balance and realign the body over a period of time. When combined, these techniques flow in a comforting rhythm that lets your body fall into a deep state of relaxation.
Thai massage is a unique, ancient, and time-tested form of bodywork.
Practitioners use their hands — and also their feet and knees — in order to facilitate an optimal release of stress and tension; this release is designed to balance and realign the body over a period of time.
The lifestyle of our times is full of overwork and stress. Whether you spend long stressful hours in an office every day, or challenge yourself athletically, Thai Massage will help to reestablish the balance and stability your body has lost due to overwork, injury, or poor alignment. Remember that you stay passive during the stretching. Thai massage has been called by some "the lazy person's Yoga"; your role in the experience is to simply relax and fall into the consciousness of deep breathing.
An important aspect of Thai massage is that it is energetically based. As your muscles are stretched and relaxed, they soften. Once the body is relaxed and open, energy will begin to flow freely where it was once stagnant or blocked. We constrict our energy flow by holding tension in our bodies. Physical and/or emotional stress is the cause of this tension. Thai Massage moves energy along through the Sen lines. Sen lines are similar to the Chinese system of meridian lines used in acupuncture. During your Thai massage, as the energy moves along these Sen lines, you may experience warmth, tingling, or electric sensations. This is the life energy moving. We believe that once the energy begins to move, life is ultimately improved. We feel that the body, mind, and emotions all work together and directly affect one another.
Thai massage induces a sense of total relaxation in the recipients, thus reducing the stress of daily chores or a hectic environment. In some recipients, this highly positive stress-relief effect may go beyond the present and penetrate into deep, past emotional scars, and help to release them.
History of Thai Massage
Thai Massage is believed to have originated from Thai Buddhist monks, who were physicians prior to ordination. They gave treatments and became known as healing monks. This sacred knowledge was compiled and recorded in the Tripitaka (the Buddha’s Teachings) as tenets to be upheld. Thai monks study the Tripitaka and apply the knowledge of healing to help treat monks and laymen within the temple. Thai Massage is based on two theories: 1) The Fourth Elements of Life Theory: Earth Water, Wind and Fire and 2) Sen Sib Theory
The Fourth Elements of Life Theory: Earth, Water, Wind and Fire
The Earth element represents 20 organs and parts of the body and are those with solid properties as follows: hair, body, nails, teeth, skin, muscles, tendons, bones, bone marrow, spleen, heart, liver, ligaments, kidneys, lungs, colons, intestines, stomach, rectum, and brain.
The Water element represents the 12 products of the body’s organs and comprises the fluid part of the life, flowing and being absorbed into the body. These 12 products of the body’s organs are bile, mucus, lymph, blood, sweat, liquid fat, solid fat, tears, saliva, nasal mucus, synovial fluid(lubrication of joints), and urine.
The Wind elements circulate in 6 directions within the body and is believed to be the part of the life that provides energy for movement in all activities and functions.
The Fire element heats 4 areas of the body and consists of the heat and energy of life. Fire has the nature to heat, burn and destroy. First, fire keeps the body warm and is located near the lung. Second, fire creates restlessness located near the heart. Third, fire that digest food is located in the digestive organs, and fourth, fire causes deterioration of the body and is located in the lower part of the body.
The balance union of all four fundamental elements of life is the key to maintaining good health. An imbalance of one or the other may cause illness.
Earth needs water to keep moist, wind to maintain its shape and support movement, and fire to generate heat to keep it from degenerating. Water flows within the earth and relies on wind for circulation. Wind clings to water and earth for its movement. Fire radiates energy to keep all elements in a healthy state. All four elements must be in harmony and in balance to insure wellness. Any blockage of Sen Sib (life energy path) may be due to a lack of balance between these elements of life.
Sen Sib Theory
This is the core of Thai Massage. Any pressure applied to recipients is in accordance with Sen Sib, the channels of the “Prana.” The ancient Royal Traditional Thai Massage Medicine indicated there are 72,000 channels originating inside the abdominal cavity. All 72,000 channels spread from the abdominal cavity through the entire body via the ten major life energy channels called “Sen Sib.” Ten of these meridians are used in Thai massage and are located at “pressure points”. These ten life energy paths (lines) are the heart of Thai massage and the basis of therapeutic Thai massage throughout the history of Thailand.
- Each Sen has different exit points throughout the body.
- The paths are invisible. There are no blood vessels, nerve fibers, or ligaments as many may think. They are invisibly connected to send sensations when pressing at the right pressure point to the corresponding directions.
- There is “wind”, being the energy force, running through the path. If the path is blocked, obstruction to the wind can cause illness.
- The paths have pressure points locations that affect the wind when pressed.
Life energy in Thai massage is called “Prana”, which means” the wind of life”, and is known as “Lom Pran” in Thai. The obstruction of prana flow can cause discomfort or illness to a person. As Sen Sib is the major energy channels throughout the body, they need regular maintenance to avoid any blockages or stagnation.
Benefits of the Five Physiological Systems:
- Circulation System: Improves blood circulation, lowers heart rate, increases the temperature in the area being massaged, increases lymphatic circulation, reduces swelling.
- Musculoskeletal System: improves muscle strength and effectiveness, relieves muscle tension, removes toxic from muscle mass, relaxes the tendons and enhances elasticity, increases joint mobility and flexibility, and reduces stiffness.
- Nervous System: stimulates and improves activity of the nerves and sensations with the effects of reducing pain, enhancing sensation to the skin and improving the function of internal organs such as stomach, intestines, etc.
- Respiratory System: improves depth of breathing and relaxation.
- Digestive System: increases elasticity of digestive system tract and stomach movement; prevents and relieves indigestion.