Healing Touch

...by Julia Smith

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Home Thai Massage

Thai Massage

Thai Massage was first practiced over 2000 years ago. It is also referred to under different names such as: Thai yoga massage, Thai Medical massage, Traditional Thai massage. The original Pali term is Nuad Bo-Ran and several variations of the spelling exist. The origins of Thai massage are found in Ayurvedic medicine, Tibetan medicine and yoga mixed with the ancient healing practices of Siam.

Thai massage is still used in Thailand today as a form of medical practice. Hands, feet, knees, elbows and body weight are used to produce soft rocking, rhythmic motions. Stretches and lifts are performed while supporting the clients body weight. Joints are loosened and opened using a variety of techniques which incorporate passive stretching, palming, thumbing, rocking, taportment (drumming) and compression. A sensation of floating weightlessness is often reported by the client as physical tension is released. Adjustment to the client's physical condition is always considered as the practitioner works in a slow, rhythmic way. Thai massage provides relief to sore, overworked muscles and fascia and can help reduce recuperation time from exercise. It is also therapeutic for clients who experience difficulty with mobility from various causes including aging.

From the Ayurvedic medical system, Thai massage also address the energetic patterns. In Sanskrit these energy channels are called, "nadis" and the energy flowing through the nadis is "prana". In the Chinese medical system (which is closely related) the energy channels are called, "meridians" and the energy which flows through them is referred to as "chi". In Thailand, the energy channels are called "sen" lines. Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual challenges in a persons life can cause blockages, insufficient, or over sufficient flow of prana. The practitioner works to help achieve a balance of the energy patterns in the body so that there is not too much or too little energy at any location. A person with balanced energies feels calm, happy and has vigor and stamina to perform the actions of their life.

The philosophical  basis lives in Theraveda Buddhism. In fact, it is said that this form of massage was invented to help monks and nuns attain flexibility for sitting long hours in meditation. Thai massage was originally practiced in temples as a form of religious practice. There are four states of consciousness important to performing thai massage. They are: METTA (ability to show loving kindness) KARUNA (compassion) MUDITA (joy for those with good fortune) and UPEKKHA (lack of prejudice or preference). Intention lies at the core of all the technique and philosophy. The intention of the practitioner is to practice with open awareness. This produces a powerful meditative space for both practitioner and client to effect change within. The client performs all the healing on themselves. The most one can say of the practitioner is that they assist or inspire the natural ability of self change within the client.