Many people believe that the health benefits of Thai massage include lowering stress, boosting energy, and improving athletic performance.
Thai massage uses gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the whole body. This is an ancient healing practice that originated in India. It dates back to around 2,500–7,000 years ago. The technique that Thai massage practitioners use is very different from what people in the West may be accustomed to. Unlike Swedish or shiatsu massage techniques, in which a person passively lies on a bed, the client lies on the floor and participates more actively in the massage. This article will look at the benefits of Thai massage, how it can help athletes and some of the side effects that people may experience. A Thai massage is a form of therapeutic touch that differs in many ways from traditional massage. Instead of a massage table, you lie on a mat on the floor while the provider manipulates your body in certain ways to stimulate organs and improve flexibility. Thai massage is part of traditional Thai medicine. Similar to Chinese medicine, it works with the body’s energetic pathways. These are also called sen.
Other Names for Thai Massage
In the Thai language, the name for Thai massage is Nuad bo-rarn. Nuad means “massage.” Bo-rarn means “ancient.” So in Thailand, it is an ancient massage. Some also translate it as “ancient healing way.”
The History of Thai Massage
Much of the history of Thai massage is a mystery. Many records about it have been destroyed over time. It’s possible that the tradition of Thai massage was primarily passed down orally for centuries.” Many historians agree that it started at least 2,500 years ago. They attribute its start to an Indian doctor, Shivago Komarpaj also called Jivaka Buccha Komar. He is known throughout Asia as “Father Doctor”. Shivago Komarpaj was a colleague of the Buddha. He helped to spread traditional medicinal practices throughout southern Asia. Over the years, with foreign influences, Thai massage has developed into a popular holistic health tradition that includes aspects of yoga, Ayurveda, and Chinese medicine.
How Is Thai Massage Different From Other Forms of Massage?
In most forms of massage, the practitioner uses their hands and sometimes other objects to relax and manipulate your muscles. You lie on a massage table, switching between face-down and face-up. In Thai massage, however, you lie on a mat on the floor. You can leave your clothes on for a Thai massage. It’s important to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that is easy to move in. With other forms of massage, you typically remove all or most of your clothing. Thai massage practitioners move your limbs around to stretch joints and gently massage key areas of the body according to traditional Thai medicinal theory.
Benefits of Thai Massage
Increased range of motion. Thai massage combines compression, acupressure, and passive stretching. These increase the range of motion in your joints and muscles. This can also improve your posture.
Helps with back pain. Thai massage tends to focus on areas that can contribute to back pain, like the inner thigh and abdomen. However, if you have constant back pain, it’s best to visit a doctor before getting any type of massage.Reduces headache intensity. One study showed that nine sessions of traditional Thai massage in a 3-week period can reduce painful headaches in people who have chronic tension headaches or migraines. Lowers stress. In another study, researchers showed that Thai massage reduced stress, especially when combined with plenty of rest. Helps stroke patients. A 2012 study suggests that stroke patients who get Thai massage regularly may be better able to recover the ability to do daily activities. They may also have lower pain levels and sleep better.
1. Lowers stress
Stress is not necessarily bad. Often, stress can act as a positive motivator that might help push people to perform better and accomplish more in their personal and professional lives. However, too much stress can negatively affect mental and physical health. Chronic, or long-lasting, stress can lead to serious illnesses, including depression and cardiovascular disease. Thai massage uses gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the body. A 2015 study trusted Source found that Thai massage significantly reduces levels of a certain stress marker present in the saliva, called sAA. The researchers concluded that Thai massage is more effective at reducing stress in healthy people than simply resting.
2. Boosts energy
Research has shown that Thai massage can increase people’s physical energy levels. One randomized trial examined the effects of Thai and Swedish massages in people who were experiencing fatigue. The results revealed that Thai massage increased energy and mental stimulation, while Swedish massage was more likely to improve relaxation and sleep. The Thai massage technique is based on the notion of energy lines, or Sen. Most practitioners believe that there are various Sen, or channels, of energy within the body. Sen corresponds to different parts of the body, such as the bones, muscles, blood, and nerves. Some Sen also affects the mind and consciousness. These are called subtle channels. The theory suggests that tight muscles cause blockages within different Sen. These blockages reduce the flow of life energy, which results in stiffness, pain, and illness. Thai massage uses different techniques that either open or constrict different Sen to correct the flow of life energy.
3. Relieves headaches
Court-type is a specific form of Thai massage that involves applying pressure to specific energy channels. One 2015 study trusted Source found court-type Thai massage is an effective treatment for people who have chronic tension headaches. They also had lower measures of tissue hardness, which the scientists measured using a handheld device.
4. Stimulates circulation
Thai massage can promote the circulation of both blood and lymph through the use of gentle stretches. These yoga-like stretches increase blood circulation, which fills the body’s tissues with oxygen. This helps promote cell growth and heart health. One study trusted Source examined the benefits of Thai foot massage in people with peripheral neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes. The researchers found that this massage helped improve people’s balance. They believe that this is because it improved blood circulation, which, in turn, stimulates the somatosensory system. This is a system that plays a major role in balance.
5. Improves range of motion
Thai massage incorporates yoga-like stretches to reduce stress and improve circulation. The gradual, gentle stretching will enhance the person’s flexibility over time, allowing a greater range of motion. Thai massage may also improve the circulation of the fluid in the joints, or synovial fluid, which reduces friction between the joints. This can improve joint mobility and range of motion.
Thai Massage for Athletes
As an athlete myself, I’ve been getting a Thai massage for years and find it very beneficial. Thai massage for athletes shortens regeneration time after intense exertion and improves physical shape in everyday exercise. It removes exhaustion, lowers contusion probability and helps with faster strength recovery, relaxes stretched and stiff muscles, lowers the pain made by exercise.
Is Thai massage good for athletes?
Thai massage also improves circulation, which brings more oxygen to muscles and other tissues. This may prevent injuries and improve the athlete’s ability to recover after intense training
Athletes are prone to fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and injury during their training. That is why many athletes work with specialized sports massage therapists. Sports massage combines assisted stretches and various massage techniques to treat sports injuries and improve an athlete’s range of motion. Practitioners will often use assisted stretching to target a specific area of the body or a particular muscle group. Thai massage, on the other hand, gradually stretches the whole body, allowing the person to relax. The dynamic stretches that Thai massage practitioners use may offer deeper, more restorative stretches than some assisted stretching techniques of sports massage. Relaxation combined with the energizing and invigorating effects of Thai massage helps people feel mentally and physically restored. Thai massage also improves circulation, which brings more oxygen to muscles and other tissues. This may prevent injuries and improve the athlete’s ability to recover after intense training.
How often to get Thai massages
After a Thai massage, a person may feel very relaxed. However, they need to keep in mind that their muscles have been worked, stretched, and prodded. After a Thai massage, a person should rest and drink plenty of water. There are no guidelines for how often a person should get a Thai massage. People should try to incorporate daily maintenance routines that involve stretching and relaxation techniques. This will help them remain flexible for a long time after their massage. People should also listen to their bodies. If someone experiences lasting pain or discomfort in one area of their body, they should see their healthcare provider, as this could indicate an underlying health condition. If someone wishes to focus on a specific area of their body, they can choose to work with a massage therapist to schedule regular sessions until they are satisfied with the results. At that point, they can consider spacing out their appointments and focusing on maintaining the results.
What to expect during a Thai massage
A good way of visualizing Thai massage is by imagining that someone is arranging the body into different yoga poses. For a Thai massage, the client usually lies on the floor. A licensed massage therapist will slowly work the client’s body through various stretches. The therapist may use their hands, knees, legs, or feet to help manipulate the person’s body into different positions. This should not cause pain or discomfort, but a person should alert their massage therapist if they do experience either of these things. People do not need to prepare for a Thai massage in advance, but they should consider the following advice:
Try to arrive about 10 minutes early to fill out any paperwork before the appointment.
Inform the practitioner about any significant medical history, because Thai massage is not safe for some people with certain health conditions.
Come to the appointment wearing loose-fitting or athletic clothing. Try to avoid tight clothing because it can cause discomfort and limit the range of motion during the massage.
Thai massage also uses energy work, which involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to open channels that will improve the flow of energy throughout the body.
Side effects and risks
While Thai massage has many health benefits, the technique also has limits. Due to its impact on the circulatory system, people with the following health conditions should consult their healthcare provider before seeking a Thai massage:
high blood pressure
neurological diseases that affect the spinal cord
coronary artery disease
Trained massage therapists can adjust the intensity and pressure to suit their clients. However, a person should avoid Thai massage while recovering from an injury. Even at the lowest intensity, Thai massage can sometimes cause further injury to the body. People who have cancer, are pregnant, or are recovering from surgery should not undergo a Thai massage. The physical intensity of this massage technique could lead to health complications or worsen preexisting injuries.
What does a Thai massage include?
Thai massage combines compression, acupressure, and passive stretching. These increase the range of motion in your joints and muscles. This can also improve your posture. Helps with back pain.
What is the difference between a Thai massage and a regular massage?
Whereas Swedish and deep tissue massages take place atop a massage table, Thai massages take place upon a floor mat. … During a Thai massage, the masseuse moves all around and above the client to access a wider range of angles over each part of the body, even in cases when the client is much larger than the masseuse.
What do you wear to a Thai massage?
You will remain fully clothed for a Thai massage, so you should wear clothing that is comfortable and can stretch easily.
Why does Thai massage hurt so much?
It’s normal to feel sore after a massage. The technique carries blood and nutrients to your muscles while eliminating toxins. After stimulating muscles that you may not usually use, you might experience delayed onset muscle soreness. This is a physical response to the inflammation as your body heals.
What happens after a Thai massage?
After a Thai massage, a person may feel very relaxed. However, they need to keep in mind that their muscles have been worked, stretched, and prodded. After a Thai massage, a person should rest and drink plenty of water. There are no guidelines for how often a person should get a Thai massage.
Should you shower after a Thai massage?
Whether you receive an oil massage, aromatherapy, or reflexology, the answer is to not shower before a massage or after. Leave a few-hour buffer period before doing so. When in the shower or a bath, the surface of the skin has increased blood circulation, which after a massage can lead to surface congestion.
Is Swedish or Thai massage better?
Both styles can lower the resting heart rate, relax muscles and relieve back pain. The inclusion of stretching in Thai massages may increase the range of motion more than Swedish massage. Both styles are beneficial to health and are known to reduce anxiety as well as to improve moods.
Does Thai massage crack back?
Thai massage isn’t “back or neck cracking.” It’s essentially assisted yoga. It combines facilitated stretching with rhythmic pressure to help relax the muscles and joints
How do I prepare for a Thai massage?
You are taking a massage for the first time?
Eat something 1h before a massage at the latest, eat some fresh fruits or collation.
Drink more tea or water, avoid coffee, don’t drink alcohol.
Make some home-stretching – made before massage reduce pain after it.
Do you have to take your clothes off for a Thai massage?
What Should You Wear? Thai massage doesn’t use any oil and the treatment is done fully clothed. It is important that you wear loose comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely because your therapist will be moving you into different Yoga type positions and stretches.
Do you take off all your clothes when you get a massage?
It is possible to receive a massage fully clothed. Your massage therapist can perform your massage service regardless of attire. … Plus, with clothes on, you run the risk of getting massage lotion or enhancement oils on them. Remember, it’s your choice, so let your therapist know what you are comfortable with.
Can I eat before a Thai massage?
Our therapy is Thai Style (in most cases) and we use a form of acupressure called Ashi-Thai. This puts pressure on your back and therefore your stomach. It’s not a good idea to have a large meal sitting there because you may feel as if you will pop. It’s perfectly ok to eat a normal meal before you come in.
Are Thai massages rough?
Thai massages are not particularly relaxing during the massage, they are therapeutic. However it shouldn’t be painful, you must communicate with your therapist and tell them their pressure is too hard if it is hurting. At the start of the massage, they will often ask “how is my pressure” and you need to be honest.
Can a Thai massage make you sick?
You may experience a feeling of nausea, headache, or flu-like symptoms as your body struggles to process the increased amount of metabolic waste.
Is a Thai massage worth it?
The bottom line
Thai massage is an ancient practice with many benefits that are supported by modern science. It may reduce the severity of your headaches, decrease lower back and joint pain, increase your flexibility, calm your anxieties, and energize your mind and body. Thai massage isn’t a passive treatment.
How painful are Thai massages?
“Thai massages are certainly not gentle, and it is important to note that oftentimes, they can feel unpleasant. But as soon as you tell your therapist that you are feeling any pain, they will decrease the pressure right away,” Pittayakorn says.
How long do massage benefits last?
Generally speaking, you may feel sore for a couple of days after the massage, which is normal. Beyond that, the benefits may last a couple of days to an entire week. There are some things you can do to help the relaxing, stress-relieving benefits last for as long as possible.
How often should you get a Thai massage?
There are no guidelines for how often a person should get a Thai massage. People should try to incorporate daily maintenance routines that involve stretching and relaxation techniques. This will help them remain flexible for a long time after their massage.
Can a Thai massage do damage?
There are a few potential risks of Thai massage, just like any form of massage. It may cause changes in your heart rate. This could be harmful if you have a heart condition. There is also a small risk of injury to muscles or bones from a rough massage.
What you should not do after a massage?
Keep these in mind to make the most of your therapy.
Don’t #1. Don’t Forget to Drink Water.
Don’t #2. Don’t Shower Immediately.
Don’t #3. Don’t Shower With Hot Water.
Don’t #4. Don’t Eat a Heavy Meal After a Massage.
Don’t #5. Don’t Head Outside or Do Anything Strenuous.
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.