Thai Yoga Massage (Nuad Bo ran นวดแผนไทย)
I remember my first Thai massage when I was living in Thailand. It was given by a very elderly blind Thai man. I had no idea what it was or what to expect. This was like no other massage. I was pretzeled about in a yoga-like fashion. I felt safe, never did I think he was going to twist me too far. Not knowing the history or the goal of the massage, I sure felt its benefits. The too many cups of coffee that I had earlier that day seemed to dissipate my anxious caffeine rush.
I was hooked! I received a massage on a weekly basis. Let’s face it, the price was right and so worth it for my well being. One day, I felt compelled to learn more. I took a few courses in Thailand and India, fast forward, I should have my full massage therapist license by mid-2019. Thai massage will be my main modality. Before I list the top 5 benefits of Thai massage, it’s important to know a bit of the history.
Thai Massage and it’s fascinating history and how yoga fits in
Thai Massage dating back to over 2500 years. It was believed to be founded by Javaka Kumar Bhaccha, an orphaned baby found by a prince on the side of the road, amongst the rubble in India. Please, do read about his wild story here.
What makes Thai Massage so special?
Thai massage is interconnected with India’s traditional medicine, Ayurveda (The Science of Life) which has deep roots in yoga as well. They all work together. Hence the yoga in Thai massage, the practitioner will gently move the recipient into various yoga postures, on a large floor mat and fully clothed. It’s a rhythmic dance of acupressure, kneading—like a cat would do, and rocking, chopping, with hands, feet, elbows, and knees.
Thai massage is all about the Metta, “loving kindness” and healing the body.
Top 5 Benefits of Thai Massage
1. Sleep like a Baby
Gentle pressure is applied to the energy lines of the body, along with rhythmic rocking, thus stimulating the nervous system that has a calming effect. WE ALL NEED CALM. This greatly reduces stress—even if its for a moment. My clients noted having a great sleep through the night, feeling refreshed.
2. The “Lazy Persons Yoga”
It has been noted that Thai Massage is like assisted yoga or “the lazy man’s yoga”. The Thai Massage practitioner gently moves the client into assisted yoga postures that are safe, soothing, and sometimes invigorating. The body receives the benefits of stretching and testing the range of motion of the joints. The synovial fluid lubricates the joint to help movement.
3. Improved Circulation, like the Autobahn
Massage increases oxygen saturation in the blood that brings circulation to our extremities. With the help of acupressure and other techniques, the lymphatic system is activated to move toxins and waste from the body. Massage gets our little army of white blood cells into action to combat infection in the body. Therefore, it very important to drink a lot of water after a massage.
Researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center stated that people who undergo massage experience measurable changes in their body’s immune and endocrine responses.
4. The Body’s Natural Happy Pill
This welcomed happy pill is none other than Serotonin, which is the body’s natural stress reducer—giving us “the warm and fuzzy”. Thai Massage increases serotonin and reducing the amount of cortisol, known as the stress hormone.
5. Checking in and Taking Notes
When receiving Thai massage, one is encouraged to take a mental note of what is happening in the body. Identifying the different sides in the body which may hold stiffness. Often, we are constantly bombarded with constant chatter. We need to get out of our head and check in with our body. When the body is guided in various yoga-like postures, our body sends us cues as to what we need to pay attention to. Thai massage is like having a maintenance check done. I recommend a monthly massage. Each Thai massage is done according to your body and mental constitution. In Ayurveda, it’s known as the dosha’s (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) and addressing which Vayu’s should be used—to give you energy or have a calming effect. Massage is a great pain reliever using various marma points (pressure points) with each serving a particular purpose. There are 108 marma points!
This is the prayer (mantra) that is used before a Thai massage.
We invite the spirit of our founder, the Father Doctor Zhivago, who comes to us through his saintly life. Please bring to us the knowledge of all nature, that is this prayer (mantra) will show us the true medicine of the universe.
In the name of this mantra, we respect your help and pray that through our bodies you will bring wholeness and health to the body of our client.
The goddess of healing dwells in the heavens high, while mankind stays in the world below.
In the name of the founder, let the heavens be reflected in the earth below so that this healing medicine encircle the world.
We pray for the one whom we touch, that they will be happy and that any illness will be released from them.