Thai massage modalities vary from local and individual’s experience and expertise. Technically Thai Massage can be divided as follows:
Stretching or bending. This particular type is the combination of massage and passive-stretch. The goal is to lengthen muscles and the ligaments of bones and joints.
Sen or Meridian line Compressing. This is the wisdom of local practitioners after noticing the reaction of the body when using pressure along the energy line (Sen).
Acupressure. This type of massage uses deep pressure on the overlapping muscles and or organs. The pressure is used to stimulate, similar to the idea of Chinese Acupuncture.
Thai Massage Manipulations
There are many styles in Thai Massage Manipulation. The pattern is similar to Thai Martial art “Muay Thai” or Thai boxing which is able to utilize every part of the body to fight or massage. The massage creates relaxation while boxing causes pain.
Compressing is pressing weight directly onto the muscle. Any part of the body can be used such as a finger, the palm of the hand, elbow, and sole of the foot. Additional tools are a piece of wood (log) or stone
Squeezing is a 2-way compression. It can be done by one-handed squeezing (use a thumb against fingers), or two-handed
Friction is using pressure on the muscles back and forth or circular motion
Gliding can be either glide back and forth or circular motion
Rolling is using rounded tools like the arm, a log or stone rolled over the muscles longitudinally
Slapping, Hitting, or Hacking is to stimulate muscles rhythmically.
Circulating is moving joints circularly.
Twisting is to lengthen muscles diagonally.
Stretching is to lengthen the muscle and joint lengthwise
Cracking is to lengthen the joint with a crack-like sound
The Effects of Thai Massage
Psychologically, when one receives the proper technique of Thai massage the stress is relieved
Physiologically, the body systems get stimulated; hence the range of motion is improved
Externally, including postures which require at least 2 organs, muscle and bone joints
Internally, including the 3 vital systems; respiratory, circulatory, and digestive
Spiritually, massage represents the sense of caring, makes the receiver feel loved, warm and secure for them to fight the sickness
The Benefits of Thai Massage
To muscles, ligaments and fascia by relaxing muscle tension, relieving the spasm, and improving the range of motion
To cardio vascular system by dilating the blood vessels, so the circulation is increased. The body feels refreshed and reenergized
To nervous system, by stimulating the sensory nerves causing the central nervous system to respond better
To joints, stimulates the joint fluid, relaxes the ligament and tendon to improve movement
To body as a whole-healthier
To mind and spiritual, relief stress, and create the sense of well being
The Complication of Thai Massage
There is some complexity for Thai massage. It is usually caused by the recklessness and lack of proper training of the therapist. The damage could be vital if the massage is not performed correctly.
The muscles, ligaments, and fascia could be bruised and torn
Blood vessels could be torn or clogged
Nerve fiber could be torn, inflamed, causing numbness and pain
Joints could be dislocated, and bones broken
Bad attitude toward massage
Thai Massage Techniques
For the best to both the therapist and the patient, it is necessary to know the proper techniques which require proper training.
Concentration. Massage is the direct touch to the body. If the mistake happens, it could cause damage. The therapist must pay attention to the steps, routines and reaction of the patient at all times. Keep communication to make the patient feel secure and confident
Body mechanics. A good massage should not harm either the therapist or the client. Body mechanics plays a big role because improper postures could cause injuries to either therapist or patient. Appropriate position should be relaxed, not in the same position too long, back and arm should be straight. The therapist should be able to knee walk and use the body weight by bending over. Change position when feeling sore
Touching. Good touch should be given with affection. The therapist should cleanse their body, especially parts used for massage. Keep hands warmed by rubbing on each other or with the dry cloth. Keep touching flow rhythmic
Pressure. Use the body weight for pressure. How much pressure is varied from person to person and depends on the patients’ resistance. The therapist must keep checking the reaction of muscles, facial expression and breathing. Ask the patient how they feel. The therapist should start with light pressure to let the patient adjust themselves to accept more pressure and should not push too much to cause bruising or injuries.
The Difficulties of Thai Massage
Thai massage is therapeutic, but many believe that it could cause danger. The bad reputation and unpleasant experience could be the reasons. It could be the therapists themselves that make Thai massage not quite yet acceptable and the reckless therapist who believes in “NO PAIN NO GAIN.” As the matter of fact, the human body fixes itself. Injuries will be healed; cuts, wounds, or bruises can go away by themselves for instance. Massage just speeds up the healing process
Thai massage cannot always cure illness. There are certain diseases that cannot be treated; such as inflamed muscles, ligament or fascia, wounds, broken bones, flu and internal disease. The therapist needs to know the anatomy, physiology and pathology thoroughly to be able to recognize the symptoms, evaluate and refer the patient to a physician promptly.
Precaution for Thai Massage Therapist
To perform therapeutic massage, the therapist must understand the problems and choose the right methods
Therapist must be standing by physically and psychologically, must be healthy, prudent and passionate
Therapist must know anatomy/physiology and pathology thoroughly because massage has direct effect to the body and it is vital
Therapist must have expertise, be well trained and keep improving the skills. When in doubt, find out the facts
Therapist must keep conscious at all time. Be precautious, not to work on the sensitive area; for example, abdomen area. The therapist should be absolutely certain before doing so. Do not work on the bleeding and broken area
Therapist must follow up with patients. If there are bruises or soreness, heat compression should be given. Recommend patients the home care. Educate them about body physiology, exercising, diet and avoiding cause to illness
Three Types of Energy line or Sen in Tradition Thai Massage
Red line is the artery. Travels from lungs to heart and transports oxygen and nutrients to the tissues
Black line is the vein. Conducts the poor-oxygen blood toward heart from tissues. Veins carry waste material to be destroyed at the liver and filtered at the kidney
White line is nerve system. Sensory nerves receive message from nose, tongue, and skin to the brain to respond to the environment