The Thai massage that became available in American spas in the 1990s is thought to have been developed by Buddhist monks in Thailand 2,500 years ago. This form of massage is rooted in a spiritual tradition designed to heal a person emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Physical benefits include relief of muscle and joint tension, increased flexibility and balance of the body’s energy systems. Many people believe Thai massage lowers stress, boosts energy and improves athletic performance.
During a Thai massage, the fully clothed client usually lies on the floor while the therapist arranges the body into different yoga-like poses. In addition to passive stretching, the therapist also uses either the hand or fingers to apply gentle, rhythmic pressure to muscle tissues at specific points on the body. There is constant body contact between the therapist and the client while the body is compressed, pulled, stretched, and rocked.
A Thai massage is easier to find in big cities than smaller towns because therapists need special training. While many American massage therapists travel to Asia for serious study, others might have trained in weekend classes. You may want to check into your therapist’s training before you sign up.
These are health benefits you may get from a Thai massage.
The Thai massage technique is based on unblocking channels of energy to different parts of the body. The theory suggests that tight muscles cause blockages within those channels and reduce the flow of life energy. The result is stiffness, pain, and illness. Thai massage uses different techniques to correct the flow and increase energy to the muscles, bones, blood and nerves.
One comparative study of people who were experiencing fatigue found that while Swedish massage was more likely to improve relaxation and sleep, Thai massage boosted energy and mental stimulation.
Researchers concluded in a 2015 study that the relaxing techniques of Thai massage were more effective than simple rest in reducing the stress of healthy people. The findings revealed Thai massage significantly lowered the sAA stress marker in a saliva study.
The stretching techniques and gentle pressure employed in Thai massage can ease stress that’s harmful to physical and mental health. Serious illnesses such as depression and cardiovascular disease can result from suffering chronic stress.
The gentle yoga-like stretches involved in Thai massage can stimulate circulation of blood and lymph that carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. This boost can help promote heart health and cell growth. Researchers believe that stimulated circulation can help people who suffer from a common complication of diabetes that affects balance – peripheral neuropathy. Their study found that blood circulation improved by Thai foot massage stimulated the somatosensory system, which plays a major role in balance.
Increased range of motion
The gradual, gentle stretching involved in Thai massage increases flexibility and allows a greater range of motion over time in a person’s joints. Thai massage also enhances joint mobility by encouraging better circulation of synovial fluid in the joints, which reduces friction between the joints.
One form of Thai massage that applies pressure to specific energy channels has been found to be an effective treatment for people who suffer from chronic tension headaches.