History Thai Yoga Massage actually originates in Northern India around 2,500 years ago, at the time of Buddha. It was practiced in Buddhist temples as a form of healing and an extension of Theravada Buddhist practice, specifically meditation. When the Buddhists left India and travelled to Thailand they took this practice with them. When we give a Thai Yoga Massage we are focused solely on the receiver and what they need from us as the therapist. We are practicing mindfulness as well as “Metta” or “loving kindness” meditation.
The treatment works on “Sen” lines or energy lines in the body. When these energetic pathways are blocked physical or mental illness or pain occurs. Thai Yoga Massage is used to heal and prevent illness. The energetic pathways in Thai Yoga Massage are very different to those in traditional Chinese and Japanese practises such as Acupuncture and Shiatsu. Thai Yoga Massage has much more in common with the traditional yogic energetic system.
What can I expect from a treatment? The full treatment takes two hours which is highly recommended to get the full benefit but shorter treatments are offered. Traditional Thai Yoga Massage is quite different from a lot of the more “westernised” treatments on offer today. Recently I booked a treatment in a Thai massage centre in London and specifically asked for traditional Thai Yoga Massage. I was really disappointed to receive a Swedish style massage with a couple of stretches thrown in!
A Traditional Thai Yoga Massage is done fully clothes and you will lie on a comfortable futon on the floor. The treatment works from the feet upwards. I apply strong pressure to the body “palming” the energy lines. This can feel quite intense but also soothing. I bring you into yoga stretches to release tension in the whole body. As someone who has practiced yoga every day for years I find that these stretches reach the parts yoga can’t!
The treatment works on balancing energy and is a wonderful treatment for stress and anxiety.
How does it differ from a deep tissue or Swedish massage? Thai Yoga massage is also known as “Lazy man’s yoga” the treatment works on restoring balance and harmony bringing you to optimum health in body and mind. The applied stretches release tension and literally allow everything to flow as it should. We tune into the needs of the receiver and apply a treatment specifically for you.
The Traditional Thai Yoga massage treatment will always include the stomach. For some reason, the more westernised treatments always miss out the stomach massage which is a shame as all of the energy lines run through the tummy. As someone who has experienced quite serious stomach issues in the past, I find the stomach massage incredibly healing.
Do I need to be flexible? Absolutely not! Most people I work on do not practice yoga and would consider themselves to be fairly stiff. I have treated marathon runners and sports people as well as people who experience stiffness due to sitting at a desk all day. The treatment works wonders and has encouraged many to take up yoga.
What can it treat? You don’t have to have aches and pains or feel unwell to benefit from a treatment! The treatment will leave you feeling, lighter, more flexible and calm. Thai Yoga Massage can successfully treat anxiety and stress insomnia, muscular and pains, IBS, migraines…the list is endless!
About the author…Fiona is an Ashtanga Yoga student and teacher as well as an experienced Thai massage therapist. “I am incredibly lucky to have trained with the UK’s most experienced Thai Yoga Massage therapist and teacher, Kira Balasakas who’s dedication to keeping the spirit of true Thai Yoga Massage alive is an inspiration.”