Ancient massage - a lazy person's yoga
Updated: Feb 18
Traditional Thai massage (TTM), known as Nuad Boran in Thailand, is an ancient healing art that has evolved over more than 2000 years. It is based in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Buddhist spiritual practice, and yoga. Doctor Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha is considered the father of Thai medicine and massage. He was born in northern India and became a renowned physician looking after Magadha King Bimbisara and he also treated the Buddha. Indian missionaries spread his knowledge throughout Asia, including Thailand. In Thailand, TTM is considered to be more energy work than bodywork. In Thai medical theory, energy which flows along the Sen lines is said to power all the functions of physical, mental, and emotional energy. Any imbalance or blockage of this energy can cause pain and diseases. TTM is often referred to as the 'lazy person's' yoga because the recipient gets to relax on a soft floor mat while the practitioner performs the massage. The muscles, tissues, joints and the limbs of the body are progressively stretched, leading to greater flexibility.
The Benefits of Traditional Thai Massage
The most important function of TTM is to stimulate the bodies to own healing processes. People of all ages enjoy this type of treatment. It is used to treat a broad range of physical discomforts and stress-related disorders. It is effective in treating headaches, shoulder and upper back tensions, joint, and soft tissue injury, digestive upsets, insomnia, and anxiety.
Benefits of Traditional Thai Massage:
It can increase and recapture of lost range of movement, motion, and muscular strength.
Eliminates wastes and toxic debris from physical, mental and emotional strain.
It improves the circulation of blood and lymph flow.
Improves the immune system.
Balances the energy flow and releases blockages leading to increased vitality and wellbeing.
It enhances flexibility (passive yoga postures) and invigorates the nervous system.
Facilitates body awareness and gives a general feeling of wellbeing.
Assists in balancing the body, mind, and spirit.
It facilitates relaxation and awareness.
It invigorates the nervous system.
It can repair damaged tissue.
Restores balance in the flow of body energy by stimulating energy lines and points.
TTM does have its limitations and will not provide a complete cure but it should not be overlooked as a valuable complementary healing modality.
What does TTM treatment involve?
Before commencing a Thai massage, a practitioner silently recites a mantra to Doctor Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, an enlightened soul. The prayer is in Pali, the ancient sacred language of Theravada Buddhism. Saying this prayer puts the practitioner into a meditative state and creates a very special healing energy, which is then passed onto the recipient.
To get the full benefit of a Thai massage, a full 90-120 minute full body treatment is needed. It is traditionally performed with the recipient fully clothed, lying on a comfortable massage mat. The Thai practitioner uses various techniques including yoga stretching, reflexology, compression, blood stopping, and acupressure. Thai massage focuses on the main SEN channels or energy lines of the body. The practitioner uses thumb pressure and palm pressure along these channels to help to release blockages and stagnation. The practitioner follows specific sequences working on the Sen lines or energy lines of the body.
It is important to advise the practitioner if menstruating, pregnant or if you have any medical/physical problems, before the massage. It is best not to eat a heavy meal 2-3 hours before the massage. Clothing should be loose and comfortable e.g. tracksuit pants, t-shirt.
The most common outcomes are to feel more relaxed but to also have increased energy. Clients often feel taller, more energized, have increased body awareness and feel more in tune with their bodies, are more balanced and have greater flexibility.