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Traditional Thai Massage

Traditional Thai MassageThai Massage was originally derived by Yoki Shiwog Gomarabat approximately 2500 years ago from Northern India.  Yoki was a great founder of Thai Massage but also a master in herbal medicine.  Thai Massage through out Thailand is readily available from a multitude of shops, along the beaches and even found on sidewalks throughout Bangkok.  Prior to becoming a common tourist activity it was originally seen as a spiritual practice and only found in temples and hospitals.  Its origins have derived from many areas including India, China and throughout South East Asia.  Even now within Thailand there are many variations depending on the region.

Thai Massage vs. Swedish Massage

Thai Massage differs greatly from its Swedish counterpart, which is commonly practiced in North America.  While the benefits of each style are similar, how they are performed are quite different.  Thai Massage is performed on a special massage pad lying on the floor with the receiver dressed in comfortable clothing.  Whereas Swedish Massage is practiced on a massage table using strokes applied with oil or lotion.  The techniques during a Thai treatment consist of slow, rhythmic compressions along Sen lines followed by a series of stretches.  Thai Massage is commonly referred as “lazy man’s yoga” due to the addition of passive stretches, often resembling yoga postures.  A traditional Thai massage addresses the entire body with a large portion of the treatment performed on the lower limbs.

In traditional Thai Medicine it is believed that the body is made up of four elements (earth, fire, water and air).  When all of these elements are balanced the body is in a state of homeostasis and health.  When one element is imbalanced, it can lead to discomfort, injury or illness.  The element of Air, more commonly known as Wind is the most important element for Thai Massage.  In Thai culture wind is seen as air thats inhaled from the lungs and flows throughout the body along the Sen lines.  An area of stiffness or discomfort in the body represents itself as trapped wind.  Another common element in Thai Medicine are their beliefs that treatment does not occur only in times of disease and imbalance. But also used to facilitate the body’s normal functions and maintain proper health.

Sarah Nottingham, RMT studied Thai Massage at Phussapa Thai Massage School in Bangkok, Thailand.    

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