When someone asks me what is Thai massage I answer: „This is the best massage I have ever had in my life”. It is a type of manual therapy for helping people, usually in painful areas of their bodies, but also increasingly plays a role in regulating emotions. My teacher from the North of Thailand has the habit of saying that you need to understand and exactly know what you feel. Thai massage teaches you both mindfulness and allows to recognize a broad spectrum of emotions. Self-awareness is the key to understanding yourself and others. Actually, in the real thai massage technique is not so needed, all the advantages come from the natural and spontaneous movements. The massage itself can provide even aesthetic experiences. Moreover, it should be connected to the Buddhist philosophy.
“To live the fullness of your life you must be fully present”
It is ideal for those who need deep relaxation, stress-relief and flexibility, and for those who want to increase their well-being and vitality. The result of thai massage is to open the body and leaves a feeling of both relaxation and awakening. With increased range of motion, peroxidised blood is delivered into tissues and muscles will be regenerated.
Thai massage is a type of deep tissue massage that combines acupressure and yoga elements. Frequently called lazy thai yoga because the massaged person just lies on the mat and the masseur takes complete control of her/his body which stretches, loosens, increases rotation in joints and provokes the trigger points, those active and latent.
For the first time with Thai massage I met on workshops with my teacher and this form of body workout interested me immediately. In the massage sequence I found many figures similar to those performed during yoga practice. Thai massage effect was literally overwhelming, the pain was sometimes unbearable but on the other hand incredible relief.
Impressed with this experience, I literally had to reach the source of this method and I started to plan my first trip to North Thailand.
The thai massage sequences like in the Ashtanga Yoga postures are divided into series, unfortunately nobody today teaches like that. The Master of thai massage in the North Thailand also teaches more therapeutic massage today. He applies more movement to renews and stimulates the potential of the body. Moreover, every movement in thai sequence also follow the breath like in Vinyasa Method (movement combined with breathing).
The theory behind thai massage is 10 energy lines. Energy lines “Sen” resemble meridians of Chinese acupuncture. However, these follow the energy associated with specific organs, while “Sen” follow the form of the body. Thai tradition holds the theoretical 72,000 Sens, but in the practice of massage we use the 10th (Sip Sen – in thai).
The founder of Thai massage techniques and philosophy was Jivaka Kumar Bhashi (known as Zhivago physician). As for his legend, he lived 2,500 years ago, was a masseuse of the Indian King and a close friend of Buddha. Today in Thailand many ceremonies are celebrated in his honor. Before the massage we also make a mantra addressed to his spirit, the founder father, asking him for harmony and health for the person who takes the massage.
Thai massage can not be described otherwise than by comparing it to meditation. This relationship seems inseparable, especially when we consider the advantage of intuition in the massage rather than strictly following the anatomy of the body. The masseur does not merely aim for utilitarian purposes or perform service purely for the purpose of establishing contact between himself and the masseur.
Massage is not cultivated simply to heal, repair or relax. You must rise to the higher level in front of any technique. The masseur expresses readiness to accept something that sometimes can not be expressed in words, the kind of feeling for which thai massage becomes unique. Excellence of massage is achieved only when the masseuse mastered the technique has the naturalness and lightness of touch. Many years of tireless exercises give the massage therapist the skill and freedom of movement that makes him more as an artist than a craftsman of massage. It seems that in Thailand there are not many such masters. Sometimes they are older women who work at temples and have been doing massages for people from the village for years.
Thai massage if it is performed properly it must be convincing that the term lazy thai yoga is gaining new meaning. The effect of the triggering touch is so strong that the benefit of stretching could be even better than after yoga class.