There’s a wonderful world of alternative therapies out there just waiting to be discovered. This month, we shine a light on Thai massage
Have you ever noticed how after a sleep or staying in the same position for a prolonged period of time you suddenly have the urge to stretch? Whether we do it subconsciously or otherwise, it’s our bodies’ way of waking up the muscles, realigning the spine, increasing flexibility and improving circulation, all of which aims to prepare us for whatever lies ahead.
Thai massage, also referred to as Thai yoga massage or Thai yoga therapy, is designed to do all of these things using a combination of traditional practices from India, China and Thailand. While there are lots of different types of this therapy, they all bring together the elements of massage, yoga-like stretches, gentle rocking and acupressure to restore balance in the body.
One of the key differences between Thai massage and a typical Western massage is that the former treatment is carried out on a special mat on the floor rather than a couch, and the client remains fully clothed during the session.
As with many other treatments from the East, Thai massage is based on the principle that energy runs through the body along special channels, and if the flow is blocked or impaired, it can negatively affect our health. In a typical session, which can last for any length of time up to two hours, the therapist will guide the client through a range of deep stretches and yogastyle movements as well as working different acupressure points to help restore any imbalances in the body’s energy.
Thai massage can be adapted to suit a wide range of people and health needs, for example to help manage back problems, chronic pain, headaches, digestive issues and stress. It can also aid mobility and enhance physical performance. To find a therapist visit fht.org.uk/findatherapist
Everything you need to know about your first session
Following an in-depth consultation, you will be asked to stay relaxed and passive while your therapist twists and stretches you into a variety of positions. Every joint will be taken through its full range of movement and every muscle massaged and stretched by various parts of the therapist’s body, including their hands, feet, knees and elbows. Any mild discomfort should be short-lived and accompanied by a sense of relief. You will feel deeply relaxed or quite invigorated depending on the aims of your treatment.
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