About Thai Massage
“‘Thai massage is like a thousand gentle waves washing over the body'”
What is Thai Massage?
The massage consists of pressure applied along the energy lines (in Thai called Sen) to activate them, followed by yoga-like stretches and postures. Thai Massage, sometimes referred to as having yoga done to you, uses physical routines to activate and balance the energy systems of the body, similar to the intent of Chinese acupuncture and Shiatsu. The combination of energetic and physical aspects is what makes Thai Massage unique and so effective.
A full-body treatment, starts at the feet and progresses up to the head. Using a sequence of gentle, flowing exercise movements, in which the recipient’s body is moved, loosened and stretched. This unique type of massage influences the energetic side by restoring the flow of energy throughout the body, so your body will be harmonized and energized.
Principles of a good Thai Massage
These days with Thai Massage becoming more popular it seem to be harder to find somebody who really understands Thai Massage and its principles. In my Thai Massage courses at the Blue Garden Chiang Mai these principles I always teach my students.
The first aspect is crucial to all aspects of Thai Massage. In Thai Massage we are using our own bodyweight for pressure; we are not making use of muscle power. This makes the right body balance and a good understanding of body mechanics (how to use your body) is important.
Body mechanics for single palm press:
Sit on your heels, have your back straight, then place palm of your hand on body client. Keep arm and elbow straight. Move your upper body forward so palm is in an 90 ° angle and drop (or sink in to) your shoulder. Do not turn your arm (and elbow) inside, but turn it a little outward, in this way your shoulder will not rotate forward.
Taking care of your body:
A good posture should not cause pain to your body, allows you to relax your body and by shifting your weight you can increase or decrease the pressure.
The difference between body-weight and muscle power for pressure is that the first one feels much softer (less sharp), allows the therapist to go deeper, and makes it possible to transfer energy much more freely.
In practice this can be very difficult. Again it is important to know about body mechanisms and to know what your limitations are. People are build differently, not all techniques will be suited to be performed by everybody, or can not be performed on everybody. Be sensible towards this. Same if a client is asking for more pressure, but you are leaning in with all body-weight, do not start using muscle power, It is always very easy to compensate with muscular power or take an unnatural position. But by doing this you are creating tension in your own body, which overtime will create problems. From the very beginning of your instruction, if a particular movement is causing you pain, you should stop. You should not push yourself, as is often done in various types of exercises, but realize that either the movement is not being done correctly or something in your own body mechanics is not right. There always many alternatives which will not hurt your body. One of my teachers use to say: How can you heal someone if you are hurting yourself?
Relaxing body and mind while massaging
Your breath is an important tool during the massage. It helps you to relax your body and therefore helps to create a energy flow from you to the client. When you are leaning in (applying pressure) breathe out.
Sense and feel
Sensing (or feeling) means that you feel what is going on with the body of the client. Where the blockages are, how the joints are moving, how the client react to pressure etc. When your body is relaxed (and also the part you are massaging with) it will be much easier to sense and feel what is going on with the body of the client.
Sequence is just a means
Use your sequence as a means to find the blockages. When you are just following the sequence you will not help your client to clear these blockages.
Seeing the body as a whole
In Thai Massage there is an understanding we cannot view different parts of the body as separate. The different parts are connected. A simple example a lower back issue can maybe be cause by energy blocks in the hamstrings.
Feel loving energy and massage from your center (Hara)
Massaging from the center of your body (Hara), by doing this it is much easier to connect to your inner self.
Nobody is the same, so no 2 massage are The same also. Adjust your massage, pres sure, etc according to the individual needs of your client.
Communicate and observe
Communicate with your client. Before the massage ask him/her if he has or has had any problems, injuries, blood pressure etc, and if he had massages before. During the massage ask him/her if the pressure is ok (or you can tell before that if something feels uncomfortable to tell you). During the massage observe the client (especially the face and the breathing), by observing it is easy to see how the client is reacting on the massage or the pressure it too much. After a massage ask feedback, especially when client is planning to comeback.
Develop your intuition, so you will know intuitively on which areas to work and how much pressure to apply and for how long.
Keep a flowing movement
Keep a continuous flow in your massage of sequential movement so that an interrupted slow rhythm is maintained. Very important in this to always keep contact with the body of the client, so he/she knows were you are at.
Background of Thai Massage
Traditional Thai massage is dating back to ancient times over 2,500 years ago. Like the origins of the Thai People themselves, the history of traditional Thai Massage is obscure. Thailand was at the crossroads of ancient migration routes which saw many waves of different civilization and cultures passing through. The combination of Thailand’s close proximity to China and its position on one of the main trade routes from India has resulted in many interesting cultural and religious influences. The same seems to be the case with Thai Medicine of which Thai Massage is a part. It seems to be influenced by both Chinese and Ayurverdic (Indian) medicine.
Folk traditions credit Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha in Thailand known as “Father Doctor Shivago Komarpahj” (or Doctor Shivago). Doctor Shivago was a friend and the personal physician to the Buddha. His name is mentioned in the traditional writings of Theravada Buddhism which views him as “the father of medicine”.
Through the centuries the monks, who were the practitioners of medicine, transmitted to Thailand both Buddhist practices and Ayurvedic medicine which eventually became an integral part of Thai culture. The generations of experience and knowledge learnt and passed down, through feeling and intuition has made Thai Massage one of the four principal components of traditional Thai medicine, along with nutrition, herbal medicine and spiritual practice. Thai Massage, in fact, traditionally incorporates two kinds of meditations: a metta meditation of loving kindness and compassion and a vipassana meditation of insight, which focuses on the client’s body.
In this massage course I am not teaching you not any new sequence, but helping to develop your massage to a new dimension. I will be teaching (and correcting) you the right body mechanism, so you will be able to massage more effortless, how to change your massage to a more therapeutic massage, many very interesting advanced techniques, how to mobilize joints, how to open energy lines faster, how to be creative, how to use elbow, knee, feet to massage. I will work individually work with you, helping you to adjust techniques, body position, and how to change techniques best suited to your body type.
The secret of Thai Massage
Sen line Kalathari.[/caption]
Thai Massage enables you to press muscles and to balance energy levels. This is what affects flexibility and equalizes the effect of muscles on both sides of the body. The amount of movement a muscle can produce at a joint is determined by the difference between its length when relaxed and when fully contracted.
When muscles are tensed, they become shorter, even when you are not consciously contracting them. This can happen through overworking them, by not using them enough or it could be due to emotional tension. Whatever the cause may be, the end result is progressively more restricted movement and the onset of stiffness, aches and pains which are all characteristics of the ageing process. Muscles that shorten and become tense can create uneven force on the spine, the very important container of the spinal cord. This, in turn, creates the back pain, neck pain and headaches that can easily become a regular feature of daily life. With ability to stretch all the most important muscles in the body systematically, Thai Manipulations enable you to achieve effects which are unlike those of any other bodywork.
Thai Massage surpasses western massages and is much more then a mere physical experience. The giving and receiving of Thai Massage is an ideal way of providing for the subtle, yet powerful interchange of intrinsic energy between two individuals
The benefits of Thai Massage
– Help detoxification of the body and boost immune system.
– Increase blood circulation, lower blood pressure.
– Can help to cure chronic joint, muscle, body problems (back aches etc)
– Good for muscle relaxation, increase flexibility in your muscles, increase mobility
– Improve breathing Improves posture, balance, corrects body alignments and dissolves – Energy blockages
– Helps tone the body, strengthen joints and fight diseases
– Prevents illnesses and alleviates degenerative diseases
– Slows the aging process
– Stimulate internal organs Relieve muscular and joint tension
– Balance the body’s energy system
– Improves range of motion
Mental and Psychological benefits of Thai Massage
– Relaxes, reduce and relieve stress and anxiety Improve your outlook towards life;
– Builds an emotional balance Centers mind and body Clear and calm your mind.