Thai massage therapy is an ancient practice that combines the benefits of traditional massage and yoga. For millennia, the physical and mental health benefits of Thai massage have helped countless patients achieve a higher state of wellness and improved quality of life.
If you're interested in utilizing Thai massage to treat chronic pain, then read on. This guide contains a broad overview of Thai massage techniques and the many benefits that this type of massage has to offer.
What Is Thai Massage?
Brought to the West in the 1990s, Thai massage is a therapeutic style of massage unlike any other. Thai massage works on fully clothed patients who lay on a padded floor rather than a conventional massage table. While on the floor, patients undergo intense muscle stretching to alleviate tension in the body.
Thai massage is unique in that it doesn't use lotions, oils, or a spa table. Instead, the massage practitioner maintains constant contact with the patient while muscles are compressed, stretched, pulled, and augmented by the therapist on the floor.
A Thai massage is more strenuous than a standard deep tissue massage. Unlike conventional massages, a Thai massage patient is an active participant in the massage. The recipient of the Thai massage often has to cooperate with the practitioner to be put into challenging positions. These positions resemble yoga poses and hold the tension for 30-60 seconds each.
A skilled Thai massage therapist understands the individual needs of their patient and will carefully select poses and holds that will improve their joint mobility and blood flow. Practitioners of Thai massage believe that lymphatic drainage occurs during a session, allowing your lymph nodes to rid themselves of waste products.
Does Thai Massage Work?
Yes! Thai massage has a long history of improving patient's quality of life and mobility. Working through pressure points and tension triggers with a qualified Thai massage therapist can help you achieve an improved state of health and well-being.
One of the major selling points of Thai massage is that it has passed the test of time. Thai massage originated in ancient Indian Ayurvedic spas during the time of the Buddha. Since then, Thai massage techniques have been refined and modernized to treat common contemporary health issues.
Benefits of Thai Massage
There are a host of benefits associated with Thai massage. We've listed some of the most commonly cited benefits of massage treatment below:
- Stress alleviation1
- Migraine and tension headache relief
- Greater range of motion
- Superior pain management
- Improved joint mobilization
- Boosted energy and vitality
The benefits of Thai spa massage are well-founded. In this 2009 scientific study2, the authors recommend Thai massage as a complementary therapy for autistic children suffering from anxiety, stress, blood circulation issues, and chronic pain. Talk to your family doctor before booking a Thai massage for a child.
An earlier study3 found that Thai massage was superior to Swedish massage, reflexology, and hot stone massage for alleviating back pain associated with myofascial trigger points and muscle knots. The researchers recommend six sessions over a 3-4-week period.
This 2015 study4 found that 60 patients with migraines or tension headaches saw significant benefits from Thai massage therapy. There is also evidence to support5 Thai foot massage as a treatment for diabetic adults with peripheral neuropathy.
The anecdotal evidence supporting Thai massage treatment is undeniable. For thousands of years, Thai healers have used therapeutic massage techniques to improve blood flow, help patients relax, and relieve pain.
What To Know Before a Thai Massage
Pregnant women must understand that intense stretching of muscles and connective tissue (myofascial) may not be ideal. If you are pregnant, you should first consult your primary healthcare provider before booking a Thai massage.
If you are allergic to essential oils, you should notify your Thai massage therapist right away. Although not commonly used in Thai massage therapy, therapists will sometimes burn essential oils in the clinic to set the mood and help their patients relax.
When on the table, Thai massage may result in mild and short-lived discomfort in your muscle tissue. If you experience pain during your therapy session, inform your practitioner and they will make adjustments.
Remember that Thai massages generally require more activity on the part of the recipient than other styles. Thai massage therapists will ask you to roll or bend into various positions to reach certain muscle groups.
Discover the magic of Thai Massage
The Thai healing arts hold enormous transformative potential for those who suffer from chronic pain or mobility issues. Speak to a Thai massage therapist today about whether this ancient practice is well-suited for you!