One of the best ways to care for your body and mind is to incorporate massages as part of your weekly self-care routine. Massages generally aid with pain relief for muscles, tendons and joints, as well as relief of stress and anxiety. The wide range of massages available include deep tissue massage, aromatherapy massage, foot reflexology, Swedish massage, and traditional Thai massage, amongst others. Traditional Thai massage, in particular, has always been a popular option for most people due to distinct techniques involved in its provision of service.
Clearly different from other massage types and usually involving massage oils, traditional Thai massage focuses on stretching, pulling and rocking movements. It incorporates use of the therapist’s hands, knees, legs and feet to apply deep muscle compression, joint mobilisation and acupressure. Here are some of the health benefits that can be obtained through a Thai massage.
Lowering of Stress Levels
It is important to note that undergoing stress is not entirely a bad thing. In fact, stress can actually sometimes act as a key component in motivating an individual to push towards achieving both professional and personal goals. However, too much stress can impact an individual negatively, particularly affecting them physically and mentally.
Chronic bouts of stress can lead to serious illnesses, which include depression and cardiovascular disease. Opting for a traditional Thai massage would be able to alleviate stress levels significantly by using gentle pressure and stretching techniques to provide total-body relaxation. To further on this notion, a study which was conducted in 2015 concluded that a traditional Thai massage is able to reduce levels of a certain stress marker present in the saliva called salivary alpha-amylase activity (sAA). This study also revealed that this process is indeed more effective in reducing stress as compared to plain resting.
Relieving a Range of Back Pains
Being a complete full body massage and treatment modality, a traditional Thai massage can effectively alleviate or cure back pains structurally. Most cases of back pain stem from a combination of weakness in the back and core muscles, or from shortened or contracted muscles of the legs and abdominal area.
A Thai massage will be able to cure or relieve these pains through various methods such as relaxation techniques to stretch or trigger the nerves, stretching techniques to open up and mobilise the joints, deep abdominal massage to dissipate knots and adhesions, and cracks to re-align the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.
Promoting Good Blood Circulation
By incorporating use of gentle, yoga-like stretches, a traditional Thai massage promotes great blood circulation, which oxygenates your body’s tissues. This in turn aids with the process of cell growth in your body, as well as improved heart health. Similarly, use of acupressure and various other techniques is able to stimulate the mobilisation of toxins and waste products out of the body, as well as movement of lymphs, which are white blood cells that fight infections throughout the body.
A traditional Thai massage can also help those who are afflicted by peripheral neuropathy, which is a common complication linked to diabetes. By improving blood circulation, it stimulates and improves the somatosensory system, which plays a major role in balance.
Increasing Your Range of Motion
Apart from promoting blood circulation and lymph movement, the gradual and gentle stretches which are part of a traditional Thai massage can increase a person’s flexibility over a period of time, thus enabling an improvement in the individual’s range of motion.
In addition to that, Thai massage can also better the circulation of fluid in the joints, which is known as synovial fluid, thus reducing friction between joints. As a result, you will be able to attain maximum flexibility throughout your entire body, improve athletic performance and prevent active lifestyle injuries.
Providing an Energy Boost
The techniques performed during a traditional Thai massage is founded upon the understanding that the human body is made up of energy lines called “sen”. These channels of energy correspond to individual parts of the body, which include the bones, muscles, blood and nerves. There are also other “sen” channels, called subtle channels, which can affect the mind and consciousness.
Theoretically speaking, muscle tightness causes blockages within these different “sens”. As a result, these blockages limit the flow of life energy, causing stiffness, pain and illness. For example, athletes are susceptible to fatigue, muscle and joint pain, or worse, injury while training or competing. This is the reason why most athletes work with a specialised sports massage therapist regularly. By incorporating use of a traditional Thai massage, athletes or even non-athletes who lead active lifestyles are able to gradually stretch their whole body, providing deeper, more restorative stretches as compared to other forms of assisted stretching techniques. Combined with adequate rest time to relax the body, physically active individuals will be able to achieve optimum energy restoration.
Before partaking in a traditional Thai massage, it would be best to keep a basic checklist of items. Firstly, ensure that your massage therapist has a to-date copy of your complete medical history, as individuals who bear certain medical conditions are advised to refrain from massage. Also, be sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing, and not consume a heavy meal prior to the massage session. If you are planning to have a child or in the early stages of pregnancy, it would be best to consult a doctor beforehand. With all of these in check, you are bound to experience the bountiful benefits of traditional Thai massage.