The Thai Yoga Massage

Spanning over two millennia the practice of Thai yoga massage has been steadily evolving and developing into what it is today. It gets its roots from a mixture of traditional Thai medicine, yoga, Buddhist mysticism, and Ayurvedic medicine, and is being sought out by a multitude of people in order to have some viable holistic wellness therapies as an alternative to traditional Western medicine. Individuals may get a little bit confused with the idea of Thai yoga massage and try to implement their Western thinking into what a traditional Western massage is when in essence they are not at all similar. This process mixes the combination of different things including acupressure, bending, stretching, yoga moves and positions, and balancing your energy. For many people this type of holistic therapy goes way beyond any type of massage that you would get in the West since it goes a long way to rid the body of all the muscle and joint pains that build up with age. It also increases an individual’s flexibility and balances out of their inner self both mentally and spiritually.

Originally Thailand yoga massage was developed and founded in India by a fellow named Jivaka Kumarabhacca who became quite well known for his abilities as a physician during the time of Buddha, and was actually a friend of Buddha. It branched out of traditional Indian and Thailand Yoga practices. Throughout the centuries this practice has been deemed a very vital part of both physical and spiritual healing, and the teaching of the practice has been handed down with the greatest of care so that all of the deep teachings and understandings wouldn’t be forgotten. Yoga massage wasn’t something that was developed overnight, and each and every technique and process was only deemed worthy if it produced actual benefits for an individual. If you just look at the name, you can easily see the different cultures that it was derived from, which in essence honors the cultures who developed the healing practice that is far superior to Western medicines.

Regardless of the benefits of Thai yoga massage and the background spanning thousands of years of research and development, when the 1980s came around lots of people were turning away from it in favor of Western pharmacopoeia. It seemed that increasingly greater numbers of people were turning away from it in favor of all of the new “breakthroughs” that practitioners of Western medicine touting as the solutions for curing all their ailments. It didn’t help the reputation of Thai massage either during this time as it was becoming increasingly common to have the availability of more than just a massage by going to one of these establishments. At the end of the 1980s, and into the early 1990s, people began realizing how limited Western medicine actually was, and started looking into the more holistic approaches to healing once again. If wasn’t for this, it would be likely that such practices as this massage would have disappeared completely off the face of the earth. Up until the 1980s, not very many people living in the West had ever even heard of yoga massage let alone practiced it, as other holistic treatments such as Reiki and aromatherapy held sway. That is changing however as it is once again growing into a holistic healing approach worth seeking.

deep shoulder rubDue to the ever-increasing need for individuals to seek enlightenment and experience a deepening of their spiritual awareness, Thailand yoga massage is increasingly growing in popularity because it doesn’t concentrate solely on healing a person physically. Rather it places its focus on the individuals inner sources of energy that are naturally present.Thai massage has been mainly supported and taught within Buddhist  monasteries, and for a long time the monks were the only individuals who actually benefited from and made use of this highly specialized form of massage. Even today one of the biggest schools that teach this practice resides in a Buddhist monastery within Bangkok. The belief that is held by the practitioners of Thai yoga massage is that everybody has a life force and a flow of energy that runs through their body. This energy source comes from the air that we breathe and the food that we eat, and it all travels up and down invisible lines within our body. The practitioners over the years have discovered that there are 10 main lines of energy which are focused on in order to heal an individual’s physical ailments as they are considered the main lines. They use techniques of acupressure and different yoga positions in order to correct imperfections within these lines and get the energy flowing freely again. This is derived from the belief that any type of disturbance within these energy lines are what causes an individual to get sick or develop diseases. Whenever all of these lines are massaged and worked, it restores the natural flow of energy throughout the body and an individual’s sense of wellness and health is restored.

The most common way that a patient begins the Thai massage treatments is by laying down on a mat with soft and comfortable clothing on so that they will be able to move and do all the stretches that are required. Every practitioner is going to have their own methods and patterns for taking a patient through the process, but there are certain things that all of them are going to implement regardless of the order. These include such things as joint mobilization, therapeutic stretching, energy balancing, acupressure, manipulation of the soft tissue, meditation with Buddhist techniques, assisted yoga moves, and deep tissue compression. It’s not uncommon for an individual going through a Thai yoga massage to sometimes experience euphoria and a greater sense of peace and tranquility that arises from within them. Individuals typically become more aware of their physical being and develop a heightened sense of happiness inside.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

I’ve always found the Thai style of massage to be very invigorating. It wakes you up and calms you down, all at the same time it seems. It’s an awesome treatment for jet lag or to loosen you up after a long bus ride. I’ve always wondered why the person conducting the massage uses those little wooden stick things to press into my feet, now I know-accupressure!


I think as Westerners, we have lots to learn about these kind of treatments. This sounds similar to the Chinese Medicine approach of using Qi to correct balance in the body. Either way, I could do with a massage right now….


This sounds truly amazing, and makes the regular massages I’ve had in the past sound really, really second-rate!


I never heard of this type of massage in the u.s. It looks really interesting, it kind of reminds me of physical therapy or sports massage.


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