The practice of this form of Oriental or Asian Massage Therapy dates back some 2,500 years. Thai Massage Therapy is a form of acupressure and other massage techniques. It is firmly traditional in its practice, although there are some modern variations. It has links to India and Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, a contemporary of Buddha. In Thailand, he became Shivagi Komparja. Jivaka is the founder of Thai Massage. Yet, there is also the impact of Chinese systems of medicine and philosophy.
As a result of its heritage, Thai Massage Therapy combines both Indian and Chinese systems. The system of energy working, while closely resembling Chinese and Japanese practices, also follows Indian beliefs. In particular, the system of channels is more derivative of Indian concepts. These are similar to Indian nadis more than Chinese meridians.
There are two basic types of Thai Massage. There is the general type of massage to produce a sense of well-being. There is also Thai Therapeutic Massage for alleviating the various types of medical problems. The technique for both types has the same philosophical basis and application.
Thai Massage Therapy involves an understanding of the traditional composition of the body. In Chinese medical beliefs, the body is of fire, water, earth, wind and water. These components also feature in traditional Chinese astrology. A person and their illnesses relate to these elements. It also utilizes an Indian comprehension of the energy channels.
Thai Massage also focuses on well-being through recognizing and using the various invisible energy lines. There are some 72,000 energy lines. Ten of these are major. All verge at the navel, the body’s energetic center. These sens or channels need to be unblocked. It is the job of the practitioner to clear them to allow the free flowing of the life force and the balancing of the pathways within the body.
The methods or technique involve a series of massage and body movements. The implementation of specific body movements results it another name for Thai Massage Therapy – Thai Yoga Massage. The massage techniques involve acupressure. This means gentle pressure applied to the arms, back, feet, hands and legs.
During the treatment, the masseuse does not rely solely on his or her hands. Palms, thumbs, pads of the hands, fists and interlaced fingers are used to achieve the goals. These techniques all bear a name. There is Palm Pressure and Blood Stopping. The latter requires Palm Pressure on both legs simultaneously. This is a back and forth pressure that a practitioner can also apply to the arms, placing both palms on the armpits.
Other movements include squeezing, Palm Pressure and thumb Pressure alone or with interlaced fingers.
There may be chopping, stroking, shaking, specific acupressure, twisting and hitting. The practitioner may employ a spiral twist or shampooing. Overall, there are some 18 different techniques to learn. In addition to the Massage techniques, the practitioner gently moves the body into various stretching positions.
The overall aim of Thai Massage Therapy is improved health. Benefits of treatment are improved flexibility and increased energy levels. Clients hope for a relief from muscle tension and an overall flow of energy within the body. A practitioner learns to realign the skeleton. He or she hopes the client will achieve balance from the alignment.
A client remains fully clothed during the treatment. He or she must not have overeaten before going. A client must also not be hungry. Requiring this also indicates a preference for balance from the start. The client lies on the floor, usually on a thick pad. The treatment continues for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. A client may require several treatments to achieve the full benefits of Thai Massage Therapy or only one. It depends upon the state of their energy level.
Thai Massage is an accepted practice among many medical professionals in Thailand. It works in conjunction with modern medical practices and more Chinese Medicine practices in Thailand. It plays an integral part of medical treatment in the Traditional Buntautuk Hospital in Chiang Mia, Thailand. In North America, it is part of a system of complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM).
There are several Foundations, Associations and regulatory bodies associated with Thai Massage Therapy. These include the foundation of Shivagi Komparja, the International Thai Therapists Association and the Professional Association of Thai Massage Instructors. Thailand has its official government regulated school of Thai Massage, the Thai Massage School of Thailand. There are also schools and associations across the world who can offer information and guidance on Thai Massage. You can access many online through the Net.
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