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Thai massage is an ancient healing practice originating in India, with a history dating back around 7,000 years. This relaxation ritual not only serves the body, muscles, and joints but also brings spiritual rejuvenation. Thai people learn these traditional methods from an early age. This is why Thailand offers some of the best SPA treatments. Luckily, you can enjoy its amazing benefits in many different countries all around the world!

How does a Thai massage differ from other types of treatments and what makes it so unique? Check with us if this extraordinary type of relaxing ritual is a kind of experience you would love to try!

What Is A Thai Massage?

So, what is a Thai massage like? Thai ancient ritual is an energizing therapy based on acupressure and reflexology techniques. During the session, your muscles and joints are stretched and relaxed by the therapist. In 2019 traditional Nuad Thai massage was listed as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Traditional Thai ritual is a healing art. Although it’s sometimes called “yoga for the lazy”, it belongs to a deep type of ritual. The treatment uses various techniques. They include deep muscle compression, joint mobilization, and acupressure. The therapist during the session uses hands, knees, legs, and feet and engages your whole body to work. The treatment also consists of several yoga postures.

thai massage

What Makes Thai Massage So Unique?

The deep pressure on points located along the energy lines of the body is what makes the Thai ritual special. Thai treatment is also distinguished by its intensive movements compared to other treatments. You don’t lie passively on the table but actively take part in the therapeutic session.

It’s also characteristic that professional massage therapists will use their hands, fingers, elbows, thumbs, ankles, and feet for different pressure levels. They sometimes include special steaming herbal stamps in the shape of a ball, which are rolled and gently pressed into selected places on the body. They contain a lot of medicinal herbs such as ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass.

Thai ritual is also considered a spiritual practice because it is based on some Buddhist teachings and principles. One of them is a mindful breathing mindset that helps you change positions during the session.

What Are the Benefits of Thai Massage?

What does Thai massage help with? Stretching during a Thai treatment can bring relief from muscle and joint pain. Just a few days after the procedure, you will notice how the before tense and stiff muscles and joints are relaxed. This treatment also has a slimming effect and contributes to the reduction of cellulite. It may also be helpful if you have a problem with chronic headaches by pressing on selected energy channels.

Thai ritual assumes the connection between the body and the mind, thanks to which the therapist stimulates both these zones. As a result, you get immediate relief from chronic pain, while feeling a large flow of positive energy. This allows you to regain your inner peace. Combining the session with yoga exercises helps maintain proper flexibility and range of motion.

For many people, Thai treatment can also reduce psychological stress. Several studies have shown that it reduces anxiety and tension that builds up in your body.

Thai rituals can also be suitable for circulatory problems. The treatment stimulates blood circulation and lymph flow through gentle stretching. Then, there is also better oxygenation of tissues and cell growth. After the unique Thai massage experience, you will feel incredibly calm and relaxed.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Thai Massage Session

The treatment takes place on a large, comfortable mat or a thin, firm mattress placed on the floor. Traditional Thai treatment is performed not only with the hands but also with the elbows, forearms, and feet. You will be lying on your back, belly, and on your sides, with a pillow placed between your legs. The session consists of sequences of various compression and stretching techniques.

4 Relaxing Types of Thai Massages

Among the most popular is a classic form, performed on the area of the whole body.

The ritual starts from the navel area, then therapists direct their movements toward the head. This order is dictated by the distribution of energy channels. According to this philosophy, they have their largest concentration on the belly.

The second type of Thai massage is the use of devices in the form of so-called herbal stamps.

These are special, cotton pouches filled with a mixture of herbs, which are heated before use. Depending on which herbs or their mixtures were used, different effects on the body should be expected. For example, lavender has a relaxing and anti-inflammatory effect. Eucalyptus has similar properties, and turmeric has antibacterial and antidepressant effects.

Another type of Thai ritual is a compilation of Indian Ayurvedic massage.

It’s done with compressions and the simultaneous use of aromatic oils during the treatment. The main purpose of such treatment is to remove water accumulated in the body and to improve the functioning of immune mechanisms.

The last variety of Thai rituals is reflexology – Thai foot massage.

This type of treatment consists of pressing points on the foot. According to philosophy, they correspond to individual internal organs of the human body.

NOTE: Keep in mind that a Thai massage doesn’t have a rigid framework and is individually tailored to you, your needs, and the tension accumulated in your muscles!

What to Wear in Thai Massage?

No oils or liquids are used during the classical treatment, so you can wear your comfortable clothes during the session. You should know that no specific outfit is required for a Thai massage. You may put on any loose, comfortable clothing that stretches easily and doesn’t restrict your movements. First and foremost, your comfort comes first!

How Long Does the Session Last?

Thai ritual session generally lasts from 1 to 2 hours. According to the ancient tradition though, authentic Thai massage should last no less than 120 minutes. It is believed that this is the optimal time to restore the proper flow of energy in the body. A hot compress treatment usually takes 20-30 minutes more than the basic session itself.

How Much Does a Thai Massage Cost?

The price of a Thai massage in professional parlors, SPA centers, or quality hotels ranges from $50 to $90 per hour. The cost also depends on what parts of your body will be treated. We recommend a full-body traditional massage treatment that lasts 2 hours. This way can take full advantage of the amazing Thai massage health benefits!

Of course, the base price in Thailand will be cheaper compared to many other countries around the world. But if you’re not planning your holidays on a beautiful exotic Thai island any time soon, be prepared for slightly higher expenses.

References:

Nuad Thai, traditional Thai massage. UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Damapong P, Kanchanakhan N, Eungpinichpong W, Putthapitak P, Damapong P. A Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Court-Type Traditional Thai Massage versus Amitriptyline in Patients with Chronic Tension-Type Headache. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:930175. doi: 10.1155/2015/930175. Epub 2015 Sep 15. PMID: 26472986; PMCID: PMC4587431.

Sripongngam T, Eungpinichpong W, Sirivongs D, Kanpittaya J, Tangvoraphonkchai K, Chanaboon S. Immediate Effects of Traditional Thai Massage on Psychological Stress as Indicated by Salivary Alpha-Amylase Levels in Healthy Persons. Med Sci Monit Basic Res. 2015 Oct 5;21:216-21. doi: 10.12659/MSMBR.894343. PMID: 26436433; PMCID: PMC4599180.

Chatchawan U, Eungpinichpong W, Plandee P, Yamauchi J. Effects of Thai foot massage on balance performance in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy: a randomized parallel-controlled trial. Med Sci Monit Basic Res. 2015 Apr 20;21:68-75. doi: 10.12659/MSMBR.894163. PMID: 25892354; PMCID: PMC4416467.