Thai massage is a term used to describe a collection of techniques and methods that have been used in Thailand for the past 2500 years. The actual name of this bodywork is called: Nuat phaen boran – Thai Yoga Therapy. Roughly translated this means: ancient massage manner. There are various origins for the techniques that are used, with a foundation in Ayurvedic knowledge.
As a modality, Thai massage addresses a vast range of wellness issues from a holistic perspective. The work takes into account aspects of the physical body, energetic components and has a spiritual flavor similar to martial arts. The physical is addressed by movement, passive stretching, rocking, trigger-point work and joint work. Energetically, all work done in a Thai session manipulates and affects the sen sip lines. These lines have corollaries in many other cultures and traditions. They are considered to be pathways for energy flow. Many techniques help improve the functioning of energetic flow along the sen sip lines thus reducing congestion or stagnation and promoting optimal energetic flow. Spiritually, Thai massage has an ultimate respect for the body and the moment at hand. Metta is the principle of loving kindness and that is the source of Thai massage intent.
In Thailand, Thai massage is controlled by the Thai Ministry of Health and is an integral part of the culture’s medical model. There are various forms of Thai massage that developed primarily from the various regions and social levels within Thailand. The Northern Style originated in the Northern Medicine Hospital in Chiang Mai. There is also a differentiation based on a Royal Method and Commoner style. Nuad Rachasamnak, the Royal Method, was specifically developed and only performed on the royal family. Nuad Chaleisak is the commoner style and was performed on the common people. Thai massage also integrates essential oils via herbal methods; this is known as Luk Pra Kob. Luk Pra Kob involves the application of a cotton wrapped compress to the body as part of the massage sequence. The compress, known as a “stem”, contains various herbs that are considered “medicinal” in nature and help address issues of inflammation, soreness, detoxification and other ailments.
Thai massage is valuable for all ages and health situations. There are very few contraindications and a session can be adapted to anyone’s specific needs and presentation. Some of the more common benefits of Thai massage include:
- Improved range of motion
- Toning of internal organs
- Profound relaxation
- Reduced congestion / stagnation of energy flow
- Pain and stress relief
- Release of lactic acid
- Resistance to injury
- Emotional wellbeing
Most people are truly amazed at how expansive and open they feel after receiving Thai massage . The results of Thai massage also seem to be fairly robust and the benefit of the work has a resilience factor. From ardent athletes to more sedentary folks, Thai massage can offer physical improvement, wellness and a sense of connectedness.
At the Center we primarily offer a consolidated session that uses various techniques typical of the Northern style. This allows your session to be completed in a reasonable amount of time while still addressing all areas of the body. Session length will be approximately 60 minutes (it may go a little longer) and is billed at the 60 minute rate.
Sessions are performed in a private setting, on the floor, on a comfortable mat. The client remains clothed for the session. It is very important that you wear comfortable, non-binding, loose or stretchy clothing. Clothes with zippers, buttons, clasps, or thick seams… will cause some issues during the session. The ideal clothing would be yoga like, athletic wear or pajamas. If you need to change before / after your session you can do so in privacy. This is very close work and hygiene is important. Abdominal work is typically included as part of the session and therefore you will want to limit your food intake several hours prior to the session.
The session will address all appropriate areas of your body and the practitioner will use various methods and techniques. Ideally you may want to limit your after session activity to give the work some time to set-in and enhance the release and energetic processes. This session involves prone, supine, sidelying, and seated work. It is a comprehensive and wonderful method of bodywork that truly needs to be experienced to be appreciated.
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