Nothing relaxes me more than Thai Massage. I haven’t had Internet for days now (hence why I’ve been slack with blogging) but I’m not stressed about it. This is unusual for me, and I’m attributing this to the fact I have been having a Thai Massage every other day. How can I refuse when they are $10 an hour? Of course, I like all types of massage – just put me near a massage table and you’ll find me under the sheets soon enough but Thai Massage has a reserved place in my heart. Its because its so multi-faceted; it’s a yoga class, chiro session, acupuncture appointment and massage all rolled into one! I love me some multi-tasking. So, if you haven’t had one, read on to why you have to book one asap!
What is Thai Massage?
In my travels, I found some tourists in Thailand mixed up Thai Massage and just getting a regular massage with coconut oil. Thai Massage is more than a change of oil. First, you are fully clothed and they provide a sort of cotton pajama to wear (leave it to the Asians to make sure that even your spa treatment is modest). While I’m not shy, I like this because it really sets the tone that its therapeutic and not sensual. This helps you feel really comfortable, especially when you may not be able to speak the same language as your practitioner. I had a really off experience once in Mexico where the therapist massaged around my anal canal. It was harmless but very, very weird. Also, for first-timers, being clothed takes the stress out of guessing if they have undressed to the right degree and takes away nervousness if you are not used to being massaged by another gender.
Second, you are often being massaged in a big, open room where others are also being massaged. Again, another reason why being clothed a plus. This also creates an atmosphere harnessing a nice collective energy.
And finally, Thai Massage is intense. You are being pulled and pressed and pummelled in the best way possible. Its not a flowing Swedish Massage, it’s a yoga-chiro-acu combo that takes away every tight, knotted muscle in your body. Next, we will talk about why this type of massage is so special.
1. You’re Stretched…A lot
You can skip that yoga class because part of Thai Massage is to deep stretch you. Hips will be extended, spines will be twisted and necks will be elongated. This is combined with massaging the area before and after so your muscles are nice and loose when they stretch you. Best of all? Its all passive! So, let a strong Thai Massage therapist do the work while you just enjoy the stretch.
2. It Uses Acupuncture Trigger Points
Whether they know it or not, Thai Massage therapists manipulate trigger points. I say “whether they know it or not” because may practitioners are not formally trained and instead hone their craft through repetition. Actually, I have found that the best ones are older ladies from Issan who have been doing this their whole lives. Thai massage is sequential, so in some ways its like learning a dance routine or a tai chi sequence. But at the heart of Thai Massage is acupressure manipulation. When I feel them pressing my kidney points on my calves and feet, I immediately relax.
3. The DEEP Pressure
Like deep pressure? This type of massage is the ultimate for those who like to really get in there. Of course, if you’re of more delicate tastes you can ask for less pressure but the auto-setting of Thai Massage is deep. Practitioners will use their body weight, often stepping on your back and kneeling on your hamstrings and leaning their elbows into your gluts. For me, its heaven.
4. It’s a Chiro Session
Get ready to cracked! You feel an amazing release when your back and neck is cracked. I like that you are massaged extensively first so your muscles aren’t tight when doing this. Sometimes I feel like I’m anxious at the chiropractor and I can’t get adjusted well because I clench and become stiff. In Thai Massage, you’re usually crack at the end when you have had an hour or more of bliss. I also love the fact that they will crack every one of your toes and fingers!
5. Blood Flow is Stimulated
My favorite move in Thai Massage is when they press and hold on your major arteries for a full minute. This slightly occludes the vessel. When they release their hands, blood rushes through the artery and creates a strange and wonderful sensation of warmth and tingling. The best is when your femoral artery is occluded and it’s release sends circulation to your legs, making them feel activated. Its the perfect way to alleviate water-retention.