Is Thai Yoga Massage Right for Me?
Many Westerners feel that with the advancement of modern medicine, there is no need to look elsewhere for mental or physical health treatment. I can personally attest to the necessity of considering both Western medicine as well as holistic, ayurvedic, homeopathic, and other Eastern-influenced medicinal systems, including all types of yoga. If I have trouble sleeping, I might take a yoga nidra class. If I feel depressed or sad, I meditate or practice hatha yoga, which allows me to meditate by concentrating on linking my movements (asanas) to my own breathing patterns (pranayama).
When we feel tension in our bodies, it is most likely there as a result of poor sleep and eating patterns, anxiety, depression, and/or just everyday stressors. Some people will pop a pill or two without thinking that as soon as that pill wears off, the stress comes right back.
Others may book an appointment for a massage when we want to rid our bodies of this unwanted tension, but what if there was a way to incorporate massage, traditional yoga, and yoga therapy? Good news, there is! It’s called thai yoga massage.
Thai yoga massage (also known as thai massage, ancient thai yoga massage, or nuat thai) is a little bit more interactive than basic massages that we are treated to in the west. Like yoga therapy, you are going one-on-one with another person to achieve a medicinal goal.
In Thai Massage, the masseuse uses his or her entire body in active positions to position and massage the receiver, dressed in loose-fitting clothing and seated on a floor mat. The receiver submits to the massage by becoming completely passive — sinking into each posture and pressure point fully and deeply, relaxing all of the muscles of the body. The masseuse is the yang and the receiver is the yin.
The masseuse or therapist uses ‘metta’ loving kindness in his or her movements. The word ‘yoga’ is thrown into the title because many of the moves are or are very similar to traditional yoga asanas or poses. Firm and rhythmic pressure is administered by the masseuse’s hands and forearms.
Like any massage, the communication between the two people is open -- the receiver is encouraged to request a softer or firmer massage and to tell the masseuse if anything doesn’t feel right or if they become uncomfortable in any way. The goal is whole body health. It is frequently used in Thailand informally by family members, like sons and daughters, on their mother and/or father after they return from work, as a relaxing way to welcome their parents home and as an unspoken act of gratitude.
Acupressure points are accessed by the masseuse. Acupressure is known to metaphysically clear up the body’s natural energy or life force (also known as ‘prana’ in Hinduism or ‘Qi’ in Buddhism). Prana or Qi is known to flow through intangible meridians or channels in which the energy flows freely.
Once a meridian becomes blocked, the use of certain acupressure points will clear these passages, restoring the receiver to optimal health. Blocked meridians can lead to physical malfunctions, such as tension stored deep in muscular connective tissues, or mental maladies such as depression, anger, and anxiety. While receiving thai yoga massage, you also receive the benefits of yoga.
Have you ever given or received a thai yoga massage? I have not been so lucky, but booked an appointment after researching this topic! Share with us your experience below in the comments.
Thought of the day:
By keeping your head up, smiling at people as they walk by, and remaining keenly aware of your surroundings, you may notice something naturally beautiful or meet someone that you could have missed if your head been down.
By: Amber Jennings (G+)