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What is Thai Massage?

Looking for a change from your traditional Swedish massage?  Or maybe you are particularly stiff or sore due to exercise or arthritis? Thai massage may be just what you're looking for.

Thai Massage was developed by Buddhist monks in Thailand around 2,500 years ago.  It uses passive stretching and pressure along the body’s energy lines to increase flexibility, relieve muscle and joint tension, and balance the body’s energy systems.

Unlike most massages which employ massage lotion or oils and require you to disrobe and climb under a sheet on a massage table, Thai massage is performed while you are fully clothed, and usually on a padded mat on the floor.

The patient will typically start the Thai massage laying on their back in the supine position (face up) and have their feet worked on first.  The therapist then works up one leg to the knee and then to the hips using various stretches, traction, and compressions.  This is usually accompanied by heavy tapotement and firm pressure with the goal of improving range-of-motion in respective limbs and joints.

Once treatment reaches the trunk, the therapist stands over the patient and performs some stretches to mobilize the lower spine.  After this the therapist moves on to the opposite leg, following the same pattern.

After treatment of the legs is completed, the next area to be treated is the patient's arms, again one at a time utilizing similar techniques as used for the legs.

Next, the patient will be asked to lay prone (face down) and the legs and arms are again treated with similar techniques, exploring different ranges of motion.  This is then followed by treatment of the back and shoulders.  Finally, the patient will assume a seated position for final treatment of the back, neck and shoulders.

Most Thai Massage routines should take about 75 minutes, however a full body treatment including the scalp would be more thoroughly delivered in 90 minutes.

Both Swedish style and Thai style massages are good for the following:

  • Pain relief
  • Decreasing resting heart rate without affecting blood pressure
  • Increasing range of motion - though Thai massage focuses more intently on this as an outcome
  • Reduce anxiety

Try something new with Thai massage or stick to the trusted Swedish massage but either way, your body will thank you.

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