Fantastic Thai Massage

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The Surprising Benefits of Thai Massage

Those who value the importance of having regular Thai massages know, instinctively, how beneficial this “practical expression of loving kindness” can be. This millenary practice, which relies upon the ancient tradition of yoga Asanas to open the joints and release tension in surrounding muscles, has the unique ability to relax and energize all at once. Its aim, of course, is far more profound than simply relieving the body of pain and stress; an authentic Nuad Phaen Boran (or ‘healing touch’) massage aims to bring us closer to the Four Divine States of Mind: Loving Kindness, Vicarious Joy, Compassion and Equanimity. The origins of Nuad Phaen Boran are thought to date back to the 5th century BC, and to this day, it continues to be imparted in a manner that expresses what the Buddhists call ‘Meta’ or ‘loving kindness’. Recent scientific findings indicate the plentiful benefits of a practice that aims to heal through sacred energy. These include:

  • Psychological and Physiological Benefits: A 2006 study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies set out to explore the psychological and physiological effects of Thai massage, as compared to Swedish massage. Some 53 participants were given either a Thai or Swedish massage, and assessments of their blood pressure, heart rate and range of motion, perceived anxiety and mood were carried out immediately before and after the respective massages. The results showed that both types of massages led to significant improvements in the subjects’ resting heart rate, ankle flexibility and shoulder flexibility. An improvement was also found in shoulder abduction (the ability to move and raise the arm sideways, away from the body). Through gentle rocking, pressure and rhythmic compression, Thai massage prepares the body for stretches and releases muscular tension, thus promoting greater flexibility and movement. The study also found that subjects had lower anxiety levels and improved moods, which is just one of the reasons why this type of massage is so ideal for those suffering from stress or recovering from difficult circumstances such as addiction or loss. Indeed, one of the biggest challenges for recovering addicts can be keeping their mind ‘in the moment’; the harmonious nature of Thai massage, which is often enjoyed with calming music in the background, is highly beneficial in promoting mindfulness, relief from anxiety, and spiritual equilibrium.
  • Pain reduction: In 1984, a study led by Prayotch Boonsinsuk established that applying pressure on particular points in the lower back is able to significantly lower the intensity of backache at the waist level. In 1990, another study revealed that Thai massage was successful at reducing stiffness and pain in the neck area, as well as headaches. In 1992, the effects of Thai massage on muscle and joint pain in particular were studied. Following a massage, the pain level of subjects was greatly reduced. The massage was found to be particularly useful in quelling muscular pain.
  • Improved function: A 2010 study published in the Journal of Medical Technology and Physical Therapy found that Thai massage was useful to treat systemic sclerosis, a connective tissue disease which leads to disability of various organ systems, especially the hands, which can also suffer from deformity. Volunteers were given a 30-minute Thai massage on the upper limbs, while a control group was told to rest for 15 minutes. The ‘massage group’ was found to have an increased hand temperature and greater hand function, than those in the control group. This led scientists to conclude that Thai massage would serve as a useful adjuvant therapy for scleroderma patients.
  •  Improved circulation: If you are used to the passivity of a typical massage, where you simply lie on your stomach while the therapist does all the work, Thai massage involves more activity on your part, in that you are assisted by the therapist to adopt particular positions. Each position promotes blood circulation to particular parts of the body, and assists blood in returning to the heart, promotes lymphatic drainage and aids with digestion. Despite moving quite a bit during the treatment, you will find the massage to be deeply relaxing and immediately soothing, as the therapist applies pressure to areas which may be causing you pain.  The full effects of a Thai massage are often felt two or three days after the treatment, and the newfound flexibility and release in your joints and muscles, is a no less than blissful sensation.


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