Traditional Thai massage is an ancient form of bodywork that originated from the area we now know as Thailand. It was common that family members massaged each other, using these efficient and effective methods to combat aches and pains and keep their bodies healthy and limber. There are many techniques and tools that make up the whole of Thai bodywork, including deep tissue work, stretching, freeing pathways of movement in the body, and the use of balms, liniments, and herbal compresses.
Thai massage lends itself incredibly well to deep and intensive work, which translates to significant and lasting effects on problem areas. It simultaneously has a systemic relaxing effect, allowing the whole body and whole being to have the sensation of greater ease. Traditionally the work is done on the floor on a mat, with the client dressed in comfortable clothing. This gives the therapist the ability to use and leverage their whole body as a tool to work on their client, utilizing feet, knees, elbows and hands. Thai bodywork is truly therapeutic and has a unique and long-lasting effect on the recipient. Anyone seeking intensive therapeutic work for problem areas, deep systemic relaxation, and/or greater flexibility and ease of movement, should seek out Thai massage.
Thai bodywork is an entire branch of traditional Thai medicine that consists of a multitude of traditional therapies ranging from bone setting (traditional chiropractics) to use of herbal balms, liniments and hot compresses. In-between is a wide range of bodywork techniques such as Thai deep tissue, passive stretching, and work that focuses on freeing pathways of movement in the body such as tendons, muscles, ligaments and nerves. Thai bodywork can be calming and relaxing, but also holds the potential to be the most physically intensive deep tissue work there is. It employs esoteric folk healing techniques such as Thai fire cupping, Thai scraping, and tok sen.
Being a branch of traditional Thai medicine, Thai bodywork is steeped in traditional Thai medical theory. Like Rolfing® it can restructure our body alignment, and like medical massage it can be used to treat acute traumatic injury. Unlike these western modalities, Thai bodywork integrates a deep spiritual component based on Buddhism as medicine, and the idea that the mental, energetic, emotional and physical bodies are not separate.
By Lauren Ferreira, LMT
2BWell Clinic Thai Massage Therapist
Nephyr Jacobsen, Director of The Naga Center, School of Traditional Thai Medicine and Massage