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Thai Massage – Guide & Introduction

Thai massage

Thai massage is a very ancient practice, dating back to over 2,500 years ago and originating from India. Thai massage is a combination of stretching, passive yoga movements and gentle pressure on the body’s energy.

If you have ever travelled to Thailand then chances are you
may have already tried Thai massage and you will realise that
it really is quite different from Swedish massage.


Developed over 2500 years ago, Thai massage has grown from an ancient healing remedy to a technique practised in most health spas and clubs all over the world. This is only a recent occurrence however, as up to a few decades ago Thai massage was only practised in Buddhist temples, where it healed people by harnessing their invisible energy lines. Even then, the techniques were passed from generation to generation and were only told to children by their parents.

Today however, the techniques have migrated from the likes of Thailand and India to every corner of the world where they are used to treat everything from stress, to muscle injury and stress. Thai massage has always had a strong spiritual undertone as the techniques were developed to not only work the muscles and joints, but to release feelings of well being and positive energy. The massage system also uses pressure points, muscle stretching and breathing to completely relax the body and all of its ligaments.

As such, Thai massages are often used to increase flexibility and tone peoples’ muscles. On a less physical side, it is often employed to balance a person’s energy and relax them during periods of intense stress. Thai massage is also used to treat certain ailments and often used in sports injuries to relax muscles that have been pulled or over worked.

Whether you wish to use Thai massage for the physical or spiritual benefits is up to you, but with its long tradition of healing and promoting vitality, there is something in the experience for everyone.

Thai massage is a combination of stretching, passive yoga movements and gentle pressure on the body’s energy points along the energy meridians. In order to receive Thai massage, the person being massaged lies on a thin mat on the floor, fully clothed with light comfortable clothing. The masseur uses his/her hands, feet and elbows to stretch the receiver’s body into yoga positions and to apply pressure on the energy points. Thai massage is usually done in silence, because it is also a sort of meditation for both the giver and the receiver. Thai massage can last from ninety minutes to two hours and it is done without oils.

Thai massage is good to draw toxins away from the body, especially from muscles, joints and connective tissues. It is also good to relax, improve flexibility and help healing the internal organs, thanks to the pressure applied on the body’s energy points.

Thai massage schools

There are several Thai massage’s schools in Thailand, but the best known in Thailand and abroad is WatPo Thai Traditional Massage School, which is affiliated of WatPo Traditional Medical School. WatPo Thai Traditional Massage School is located in Bangkok, in the WatPo temple and there it is possible to learn Thai massage, foot massage and other types of massage, such as oil massage or baby massage. It is also possible to go to WatPo Thai Traditional Massage School just to receive a Thai or foot massage. WatPo Thai Traditional Massage School is the headquarters of the Southern lineage of Thai massage.

Another important institute in the north of Thailand is the Shivagakomarpaj Institute, a traditional medicine hospital in Chiang Mai. The Shivagakomarpaj Institute is the headquarters for the Northern lineage of Thai massage and blends together traditional Thai massage, with influences from the local hill tribes.

Northern and Southern lineages of Thai massage differ only slightly, some practitioners mix the two and also it needs to be remembered that each practitioner has his/her personal unique style.

Herbal compress massage

Herbs are an important part of traditional Thai medicine and they can be used in conjunction with a Thai massage. Compresses containing herb are heated in an herbal steamer and applied to the receiver’s body during the massage. These hot herbal compresses combine the soothing and relaxing effect of heat on the muscles, with the medicinal properties of herbs.

Thai Herbal sauna or steam room

Herbal saunas are especially used in massage clinics in Chiang Mai, where, after the massage, the client is directed to a sauna or steam room, in order to relax the muscles after the massage and get read through sweating of the toxins that the massage helped to release.


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