Also referred to as “nuad bo rarn,” which means ancient massage or ancient healing, Thai massage has been taught and practiced in Thailand for roughly twenty-five hundred years. It is probably the one of the most recent forms of healing work introduced and practiced in the USA, yet it is one of the oldest forms of developed medicine. Thai massage is based on the theory that the body is made up of seventy-two thousand Sen, or energy lines, of which ten hold top supremacy. Through therapeutic massage these energy fields can be manipulated to heal the body.
Due to the many movements and procedures this type of massage requires, it is not practical or effective to perform this on a massage bed or table. Thai massage is performed on a firm mat on the floor, which is instrumental in the effective use of the practitioner’s body weight, rather than muscular force, for the transmission of pressure. Except for the feet, the client remains fully clothed (loose-fitting clothing is most comfortable), so draping is not necessary. Pressure is exerted with the palms of the hands, the thumbs and the feet. Also at some points, the elbows may be used.
Thai massage is rooted in Indian Ayurvedic medical practice and is one of many forms of Oriental bodywork based on energy balance theory of health and healing. In fact, the Chinese system of acupressure is obvious in the use of pressure on energy lines and points. This type of therapy creates harmony between the body and mind reducing stress, increasing energy levels and boosting the immune system.
With these strong origins in yoga and also the Buddhist culture, Thai massage is very rhythmic and meditative, allowing for the client and the massage therapist to reach a deep level of consciousness. A release of emotional or mental stress occurs through the manipulation of muscles, helping clients manage life’s challenges and let go of negative emotions.