Over the past few decades, massage therapy has become ubiquitous. It’s no longer just available in upscale health or luxury spas. There are many types of massage. Swedish massage is one that uses long strokes on your body to help you relax and be more energized. It’s the most common type of massage. Another type of massage uses warm, smooth stones placed on specific points on the body. A hot stone massage loosens tight muscles to let the therapist work on your muscle tension quicker and easier. Thai massage, a newer form that is gaining popularity, is a blend of yoga, stretching and massage techniques.
What Is Thai Massage?
A Thai massage is very energizing. It’s quite different from other massage types, because the therapist moves and stretches your body into different positions. Think about yoga moves, but having someone else help you get into the postures. Typically, you lay down on a futon mat. The therapist works with compression. While moving your body into a stretch, the therapist might press into your muscle tissue with his or her hands or with his or her entire body.
Another key difference is that you are completely clothed. You should wear something comfortable that allows you to move your legs and arms. The therapist pulls, stretches and compresses your muscles No oil or lotion is used, but there will be constant body contact between you and the therapist. However, many people who are uncomfortable disrobing during a massage find this type of massage very beneficial.
Benefits of a Thai Massage
Thai massage combines the benefits of a Swedish or deep tissue massage with elements of yoga, physical therapy and chiropractic therapy. It’s very important that the practitioner be fully trained in Thai massage. You should not confuse a therapeutic Thai massage with a sensual massage. The therapeutic massage is designed for emotional, physical and spiritual healing. Some of the benefits include:
• Boost your mood
• Help you relax
• Relieve aching muscles, joint stiffness and pain
• Stimulate circulation
• Provides temporary pain relief
• Improve flexibility
• Boost energy
• Relieve tension headaches
Some people call this type of massage, the “lazy person’s yoga.” The therapist does a lot of passive stretching, which really can help target muscle knots and issues in flexibility. Although some people do describe Thai massage as painful, you should not be uncomfortable during the massage. When stretching and pulling muscles, you may feel some discomfort, but you should never feel excessive pain.
Is a Thai Massage Right for You?
Before undergoing a Thai massage, your licensed massage therapist should discuss your health history with you. If you have osteoporosis, disk herniation or cardiovascular disease, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your healthcare provider before treatment. You should also notify your massage therapist about any recent surgeries or other health concerns. Typically, a session is 60 minutes, but can extend up to 2 hours. You should not eat a heavy meal before a Thai massage. Check with your massage therapy clinic to see if it offers this type of massage. With all the benefits, it’s no wonder that Thai massage is growing in popularity.