Thailand, the spa capital of the world, is a holistic holiday destination promising a treasure trove of relaxation and wellness experiences; each designed to create inner balance and harmony and a greater sense of connectivity within. At the heart of Thailand’s traditional therapeutic treatments is Traditional Thai massage. Rather than being viewed as an indulgent spa treatment, the Thai people regard their indigenous massage as an essential therapy to promote well-being; a practical way of relaxing the whole self that is in line with the main pillars of Thai medicine and considered a healing and curative practice rather than simply a spa treatment.
In essence, Thai massage involves being gently moved into yoga-like positions whilst lying down on a padded floor mat, fully clothed in loose fisherman pants and a top. Using hands and feet, the therapist follows energy lines in the body and applies pressure with rhythmic movements too. A 90-minute or 2-hour massage is highly recommended for a full-body treatment as an hour is just not long enough to feel the full benefit and enable the therapist to really get to work on every part of the body.
There is no doubt that to the uninitiated Thai massage can seem fairly strange and different compared to traditional Swedish massage, for example. However, to emerge from a wonderful Thai massage is to feel as if you have truly experienced another level of Thai culture and certainly a whole other depth of relaxation.
Rather than shying away from the unknown, learn about 8 Benefits of Traditional Thai Massage (TTM) and embrace one of the best features of any stay in Thailand.
1. Mindful Rest
Lying down in a dimly-lit room, the very commitment to a massage is a way of surrendering to the here and now; of allowing your body and mind to flow as slow, methodical movements lull you into a restful, centred state. By disengaging from the hubbub around you and the sensory overload of life, taking a massage in Thailand gives you the space and time to let go of stresses and strains; a meditational therapy that guides you to experiencing the ‘now’ in a liberating way that resonates throughout your whole being. In this respect, TTM can be deeply transformative.
2. Eases Muscle & Joint Pain
The power of human touch is extraordinary when it comes to affecting your emotional and physical wellbeing. One of the instant results of relaxing into a massage in Thailand is how the kneading, rocking, and static pressure can work its therapeutic magic on tired and aching muscles and alleviate tension in joints and fascia. As mobility is improved, and muscles stretched, your muscles and joints feel less heavy and pain can be relieved too.
3. Energy Releasing
A big misnomer when it comes to TTM is that it lulls you into a fatigued state. Whether you have a foot or full body massage, the effect is to relax and energize you at the same time, leaving you feeling lighter and less sluggish. Working along so-called Sen lines, energy is moved around the body so that any restricted or blocked flow is released through chakras that are akin to the traditional acupuncture points and trigger points. Movements that manipulate, massage, stretch, and create pressure are a way of maintaining internal balance and connecting the body, mind, and beyond in harmony; releasing energy along the way.
4. Yoga-Inspired Wellness
The health and fitness benefits of yoga have long been accepted and TTM is considered a Thai yoga massage. Your therapist moves your body into yoga positions, creating stretch, flexibility, and extending your range of motion without you having to sweat it out in a yoga class; perfect for those who are physically limited due to injury or illness as well as being an introduction to movement for those not used to exercise. If you are a fitness fan, a massage can complement your exercise plan, reducing muscular pains and problems.
5. Customized Therapy
Usually TTM begins with you lying on your back whilst the therapist works up from your feet, before you turn over, with some possible movements whilst you are on your side too, before you flip over. A well-trained practitioner will focus on areas of the body that need more work as well as vary the strength from light touches to deeper tissue massage and more demanding stretches. The key is to feel relaxed and comfortable even if TTM is challenging your body at times.
6. Restful Slumber
Any time of the day is perfect for a massage and many massage-lovers like nothing better than unwinding as the sun sets, whether with a beachfront treat or a spa therapy in the comfort of a luxury vacation villa rental, surrounded by nature. A massage at night is the ideal way to guide your body and mind into a restorative sleep; a healing night’s rest that allows your body to rejuvenate and feel refreshed.
7. Circulatory & Lymphatic System Boost
As the body’s energy is realigned, blood pressure is believed to be lowered as the circulatory system and lymph drainage are anecdotally thought to benefit too. More oxygen and greater detoxification promotes greater mental clarity, enhances energy levels and brings about a raft of health advantages too such as reducing strain on the cardiovascular system. A Thai massage is the perfect antidote after a long flight, a day of sightseeing or simply to combat the effects of the tropical heat.
8. Positive Emotions
With mindful relaxation and movements taking your relaxation to a deeper place, TTM can release a pressure-valve of pent-up emotional energy too. You may experience a feeling of letting go of negative thoughts and as your cortisol levels reduce and your serotonin neuro-transmitters increase your body is flooded with feel-good hormones as stress dissipates. At the same time, the tension experienced in your muscles begins to dissolve too, adding to your sense of wellbeing. Taking time to pamper yourself is positive too.
TIPS: GETTING A MASSAGE AT YOUR PRIVATE VILLA
Some villas in Thailand especially the villas in Phuket and villas in Koh Samui feature their own private spa but some don’t have one. But this should not stop you from having your Thai massage at the villa. You can have your massage done in the privacy of your own bedroom. You may also ask the staff if they have a massage bed that is kept in the storage that you can take anywhere there’s space at the villa, whether it’s indoor or outdoor. One of the best areas to have your massage is by the pool, on the sunbed or with a massage bed.