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Traditional Thai Body Massage

Traditional Thai massage is rooted in Thai Buddhism and the ancient tradition of Ayurveda. It is performed on a mat on the floor. The client is fully clothed in loose clothing which allows the therapist to move the client into different poses and manipulate sen (energy) lines and numerous of acupressure points.

In brief, the theory behind traditional Thai massage is that the body is filled with loom, or "energy", which is inhaled into the lungs and which subsequently travels throughout the body along 72,000 pathways called sen. Sen lines are somewhat analogous to the "meridians" or "channels" of Chinese medicine and the Indian "nadis". Out of 72,000 energy lines, the focus is on 10 major lines (ten sen).

Thai Traditional massage, as it is practiced at Metta Traditional Thai Massage, is a dynamic healing art that combines work on energy lines, touch techniques and a series of assisted yoga like stretches to create a bodywork session that is both energizing and relaxing.

Traditional Thai massage method uses two primary procedures, applying deep, consistent pressures to specific nerves, tendons and ligaments, and a wide variety of passive stretching movements manipulating the skeleton in order to balance the functions of the body. In traditional Thai massage, it is not just the hands that are used but also the therapist’s feet, forearms, knees and elbows. The effect of traditional Thai massage is uniquely relaxing as well as energizing. That is, the therapist presses knuckles, feet, hands, thumbs and fingers into specific points while holding the participant in a stretch.

Traditional Thai massage is a therapy that promotes the flow of energy throughout the body. The body regains flexibility and ease of movement, and the quiet meditative atmosphere gently promotes a calm alertness. Tension and toxic material is released from the joints, muscles and connective tissue. The movements also help to adjust the skeletal structure, relieve muscular and joint tension, and stimulate the internal organs.

Traditional Thai massage helps a person’s muscles, joints, ligaments and fascia by relaxing muscle tension, relieving the spasm, and improving the range of motion. The combination of pressure on specific points and yoga like stretches in traditional Thai massage relieves areas of muscular stress and tension. In fact, recipients often report that their muscles stay loose days after a session.

Additionally, traditional Thai massage helps a person’s cardiovascular system by dilating the blood vessels, so the circulation is increased. Traditional Thai massage stretches work in a similar way to regular yoga poses. As participants hold a pose, blood slows to targeted areas. When the practitioner releases the pose on a recipient, fresh circulation rushes back into the area. According to Yoga Journal, inverted poses can help with lymphatic drainage, the return of blood to the heart and digestion.

Another benefit of traditional Thai massage includes improvement to the nervous system. That is, by stimulating the sensory nerves causing the central nervous system to respond better. Furthermore, some people suggest that, by blocking pain signals to the brain (gate control theory) and activating the parasympathetic nervous system to stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, traditional Thai massage helps prevent fibrosis or scar tissue, increases the flow of lymph, and improves sleep.

A boosted immune system is also a benefit of traditional Thai massage. In fact, the American Massage Therapy Association lists several scientific studies that support the claim that participants can improve their immune systems through traditional Thai massage. By invigorating the nervous system and releasing toxins through improved circulation, traditional Thai massage recipients increase their immunity to diseases.

Traditional Thai massage is also especially good at releasing mental and emotional stress. The United States Department of Health and Human Services, lists both yoga and massage therapy as alternative approaches to mental health care. In traditional Thai massage, the release of emotional or mental stress happens with the manipulation of muscles. Practiced correctly, traditional Thai massage also incorporates meditation, which can help participants manage stress and let go of negative emotions. Traditional Thai massage is more than just physical, but works to create harmony between mind, body, and spirit.

As you can see, the benefits of traditional Thai massage include those of other types of massage, such as improved circulation, release of muscle tension, mobility and flexibility, as well as stress relief. However, traditional Thai massage goes further; its more specialized techniques will help promote a balance of all the body's systems, body, mind, and spirit to create the complete sense of well being.

If you are looking for a more holistic approach to bodywork, traditional Thai massage is a good choice.

Thai Foot Massage

Thai foot massage is similar to that of Chinese reflexology, but is a combination of Thai foot massage and reflexology techniques. Reflexology is an ancient technique of applying pressure to reflex points of the feet and hands, which causes a physiological response in the body.

Thai foot massage is a holistic therapy that is applied to the hands and feet. The aim of the treatment is to treat the whole individual thus encouraging the body to heal itself and maintain homeostasis - the natural balance within the body.

It is thought that the feet and hands are analogous to the root system of trees. Just as the roots of a tree provide the key to its health and longevity, people’s feet and hands provide a key to their health and well being. Thai traditional healers have discovered that specific pressure points on the feet correspond to specific parts of the body as well as internal organs. Therefore, pressure of certain pressure points on the feet can relax muscles, cleanse the body of toxins, increase pulmonary circulatory health, and prevent illness.

In a Thai foot massage session, your feet and hands are initially washed in warm water. The therapist then uses oil, their hands, and wooden instruments to apply pressure to certain pressure points on your hands and feet. Often after longer sessions, therapists will have you sit up and will massage your head and shoulders as well.

Thai foot massage provides almost the same benefits as the benefits of traditional Thai massage. It is important to remember that a “foot massage” session is more than just a foot massage. Its benefits are holistic – body, mind, and spirit all benefit. It supports all systems of the body and, therefore, improves the digestive, reproductive, respiratory, lymphatic, immune and endocrine systems. As the reflex points on the hands and feet are worked the circulatory system increases blood supply around the body resulting in the release of tension and toxins for elimination. This supports the body's own ability to heal itself and to function at an optimum level, performing in a more balanced state.

Thai Oil (Aromatherapy) Massage

Thai oil massage, also called Thai aroma massage, is a combination of traditional Thai massage and special Thai and essential massage oils.

Aroma massage harnesses the body’s sense of smell to help relieve stress, boost moods and improve general wellbeing. However, contrary to popular belief, aroma massage isn’t all just about scent. The oils from fruits, plants, herbs or flowers are also carried into the blood stream when rubbed into the skin.

Aroma massage involves the use of essential oils hat have been extracted from naturally-occurring materials. Because they’re natural there is less chance of developing allergies to them. Essential oils are far from being a new phenomenon, despite being considered by some to be “new age”. In fact, they’ve been around since ancient times and are used in cultures around the world.

There’s a huge selection of essential oils to choose from and each type of essential oil has its own unique health giving properties. Your massage therapist will discuss with you and together you will find the single essential oil or formula that has the healing properties right for you.

In addition to the benefits traditional Thai massage, the specific healing properties of the plants, flowers, and roots will help alleviate a variety of ailments.

Some plants are “super plants” and have healing properties for a variety of ailments. For example, lavender helps heal a variety of ailments including burns, fevers, fractures, cuts, headaches, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, infections, incest bites, jet lag, over exercised muscles, physical exhaustion, rashes, sleepiness, sprains, swellings, vomiting.

However, more common is that different plants hold healing properties for specific problems. For example, a variety of different oils work help cure different types of sports injuries. What works best is when the therapist combines individual oils into formulas to maximize the healing properties of single oils and create a synergistic effect to heal an ailment. This is a holistic approach to healing.

Additionally, the carrier lotions and oil that essential oils are blended into help smooth your skin and give you healthy looking skin.

Thai Herbal Compress Massage

In Thailand, the herbal compress is called look pra kob, which can be translated as "herbal pressing sphere". In the In the United States, it is sometimes referred to as an "herbal stem" or "herbal ball". This healing art and science of Thai herbal compress therapy has been practiced for centuries. It dates back to a time when the knowledge of plants, including their effects through ingestion or application on the body, were researched and passed down from one generation to generation. This herbal therapy was designed to relieve pain and inflammation. Originally, it was primarily used to heal for wounded soldiers after war and for postpartum women after giving birth. But is now used to help with a variety of ailments.

Thai herbal compress massage can also be used in a combination with traditional Thai massage. The herbal compress is a combination of healing herbs, wrapped together in a muslin compress, in accordance with ancient recipes. It is then steamed in a bamboo or electric steamer and placed directly on the skin along the 10 main sen (energy) lines in gentle pressing, circular and rolling movements. A therapist may also leave a compress at an acupressure point in order to stimulate the energy flow throughout the body.

Therapists have at least two compresses ready for use. One is placed on the heat source, while the other is applied to the client. After one compress starts to cool it is traded for the hot one. The heat can be turned up or down depending how hot the client likes it, but the compresses are always just hot enough to touch them comfortably.

In addition to the benefits of Thai traditional massage, the herbal compress provides aromatherapy, thermal therapy, and herbal therapy all at once. That is, the steaming releases the aroma and medicinal properties of the herbs in the compress and it penetrate the skin through moist heat therapy with herbal benefits.

The Thai herbal compress technique offers several potential health benefits. As the pores open and allow the herbs to take effect, ailments such as pain, stiff, sore or pulled muscles and ligaments, back pain, migraines, arthritis, and even skin conditions. It assists alignment and postural integrity of the body, improves circulation of blood and lymph, and stimulates the internal organs. It also induces deep relaxation, relieves stress anxiety, and fatigue.

The blend of traditional Thai herbs used in these compresses has a relaxing and invigorating effect on the body and mind, soothing sore and overworked muscles while giving the body’s energy reserves a huge boost. That is an herbal compress massage boosts both emotional and physical well-being. Thai herbal compress massage is rising in popularity in America due to the fact that it is a wholesome and complete treatment.

Ingredients of Thai Herbal Compress

Plai-Cassummunar Ginger (Phrai): The Rhizome (bulb) part of the plant is used. This plant has many well known attributes. Some include its ability to help bronchial symptoms like those associated with bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma, or the common cold. This anti-inflammatory property when applied topically has a deep soothing effect to any contusion, sprain, or inflammation of a joint or ligament. It also has antiseptic and toning properties for the skin, and soothes while healing.

Lemongrass (Ta khrai): The stem of the plant is used. Lemongrass has always been known not only for its aromatherapy values, but more importantly for the properties natural in the lemongrass as an anti-inflammatory, when used topically for sprains, bruise and sore muscles.

Turmeric (Khamin): The Rhizome and leaf part of this plant is used. Turmeric also has similar properties to its ginger relative. This herb has a cleansing effect on the skin that promotes healing. Its anti-inflammatory properties combined with antiseptic properties assist in healing bruises, joint pain, sprains, or muscle pain.

Kaffir Lime (Ma Kurt): The leaves are what are used most often medicinally, and what are in the Thai herbal compress. These leaves are often used for treatment for colds, congestion and have antioxidant properties. When applies topically to the skin, the astringent properties help to cleanse the skin and promote healing.

Camphor (Ga ra boon): The crystals that are derived from the gum of the free bark are used from this plant. Camphor crystals are common in most Thai saunas, hospitals, health clubs, and spas. While camphor is known for its stimulating and dilating effects for the upper respiratory system, it also has a calming effect on stress, anxiety, and insomnia so it is listed as both a stimulant and a calmative. Topically, the crystals’ anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties are perfect for muscle stiffness, sprains, strains, or swelling. The antiseptic properties again assist in the healing of any bruising of the skin, while promoting new skin growth.

Tamarind (Ma Kham): The whole plant is used medicinally, although typically the leaves are used for topical remedies. When applies directly to the skin, the astringent values draw out oils and cleanse and purify the skin, while the antiseptic properties soothe and heal the skin.

Curcma Comosa (from the Zingiberaceae family): The bulb is used, especially to strengthen the muscle tissues of visceral organs. It has been used for centuries for the treatment of hot flashes, menstrual pain, abdominal pain and chronic pelvic disorders.

Shikakai (Acacia Concinna): From the bark, leaves or pods, has been used for hair care in India for centuries. Shikakai means "fruit for hair." The bark contains high levels of saponins, which are foaming agents. Saponin-contaning plants have a long history of use as mild cleansers.

Patchouli, Mango Ginger, Sweet Sage, Orange Skin are also used for aromatic, relaxing and uplifting properties.