Thai Yoga Massage is the ancient art believed to be handed down from the legendary personal physician of the Buddha himself over 2500 years ago. Thai massage is one of the 4 branches of Traditional Thai Medicine. Today, there are several different styles and philosophies that create different experiences among therapists.
1. Thai yoga massage is amazing!
Thai yoga massage is amazing because it is a combination of gentle stretching, yoga poses, acupressure, palming, thumbing and twisting of the body. We use our feet, knees, forearms, palms and thumbs during your session for muscle compression, joint mobilization, and acupressure. We always begin at your feet allowing energy to move up the body helping with circulation. Acupressure is a part of the Ancient Chinese Medicine Traditions believing that your body houses energy along lines called meridians. Pressing on certain points along these meridians are believed to release blocked energy. Currently, there is no evidence in Western medicine to support these claims. What we know: it just feels good and it seems to help people relax. During your session, we find certain points in the muscles that tend to hold tension and pain, through our pressure and stretching, we can help release these trouble areas. We are trained massage therapists with a “license to touch” which means we have skill to know how to move your body in such a way to release tension. As we move your body into a stretch, it causes the muscle to relax when it may be accustomed to contracting. Moving your tissues through their range of motion promotes their release. This type of stretching is different than something you may do during yoga or stretching before exercising. We want you to be in a state of relaxation so we ask you not to help us move your body. During yoga or a stretching session before exercising, you’re in a contracted state because you’re moving your body. We’ll talk more about this kind of stretching a little further down.
2. You stay dressed.
A Thai Yoga Massage session is given on the floor on a specific mat used for Thai yoga massage. During the session you remain dressed. You should dress in light, loose, comfortable clothes with room for easy movement and stretching. Yoga clothes are also great to wear to your session. For some clients, staying dressed during their session brings another level of trust between the therapist and client and another level of relaxation can be achieved. However, there is a different level of intimacy that happens during Thai Yoga Massage that does not happen in a regular session. In traditional Thai Yoga Massage, the therapist is encouraged to maintain as much contact with the clients body so as we move from your feet to your legs to your belly to your arms, we maintain as much contact as we can with your body. This allows for your brain to deeply relax. You’re not being interrupted by wondering where we are and with consistent touch, we are not interrupting your relaxation as we touch your body again. Because you are close to the ground and we’re attempting to maintain a lot of contact, it may feel as if more of our body is connected to your body. This is intentional. While the clothing boundary is something people seek, it’s important to understand that there is a lot more touch in Thai Massage because of the clothing boundary. If you’ve read any of our other blogs, you’ll know that there is much evidence supporting the value of therapeutic touch.
3. Helps ease muscular stress and tension.
In your session we move your body in specific is assisted yoga poses. With the techniques of compression, shortening and lengthening the muscles, this aids in the relaxation and restoration needed for overall health and well-being. When someone else is passively stretching your body, your therapist is looking at alignment and posture to ensure your muscles are moving in their proper direction. When you have an injury or trauma to the body, you may begin to compensate for certain movements restricting the stretch fully. This means we also take your injuries into account and can help you stretch while maintaining proper positioning. During these poses, the best way to help your therapist is not to help your therapist. We are trained and licensed in moving the body. All we need from you is to focus on your breathing and relax.
4. Improved immune booster.
With the techniques used during your Thai Yoga Massage, your nervous system is invigorated giving you an energized, relaxed sensation. Circulation of the blood and lymph are improved, resulting in an improved immune system. When the system or the energy flow is blocked and restricted, it creates illness or pain or a combination of both in the body. Passive stretching combined with compressions in Thai Yoga Massage clears these restrictions allowing the body to heal and protect itself. There is actual evidence supporting massage therapy in general boosting immunity. Because we work with the circulatory system, we increase the activity level of your white blood cells. You can read the summary here.
5. Interpersonal harmony.
After your massage, your therapist will step out of the room. Please take this time to be still for a few minutes then stretch around a bit. Feel each of your joints and their expanded range of motion. Take some nice slow, deep breathes. Absorb all the benefits from your experience! Be fully aware of your feelings of calmness, harmony, relaxation yet an increase in energy and overall happiness. Come out of the treatment room you will greeted with some water. We will discuss any thoughts you had about your session and schedule your next appointment.
As you can see, the benefits of Thai Yoga Massage expand these mentioned here. We’re happy to schedule a free consultation and answer any questions you may have.
Beth Merrell, LMT & Sara Newberry, LMT NCTMB