…Touch - is the oldest, the primary way to communicate. In the womb, the unborn child is already under its influence. Later, in early childhood it is the primary language with which we get to know the world.
The tradition of the use of touch for healing dates back to ancient times. This practice appears to exist in all ancient cultures. Using it for a long time it was understood why it is so beneficial. It arises because of a spontaneous impulse, which reacts at the sight of human suffering. It was developed with the touch of a massage, and then the other healing techniques such as acupressure, surgery.
Thai massage is a synthesis of yoga, acupressure and reflexology and rather resembles a classic massage. This unique combination makes it clearly improve physical, emotional, and mental health. This makes Thai massage therapy, an integrated approach to human health issues.
Thailand lies in Southeast Asia between India and China. Since the first century BC to the sixteenth century there developed, trade and cultural exchange through sea routes, the "Silk Road", had a side branch which passed through areas of Tibet, Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). This pathway not only served as a commercial route, but as the main axis for the spread of Buddhism from India to the entire Central Asia.
The religion of Thailand was combined with the medical principle of Indian Ayurveda and Chinese medical concepts, yin and yang, chi energy, and the five elements, in traditional Thai medicine.
Thai massage is considered to be one of the four branches of traditional medicine Thais. The other three are: treatment by external means (cosmetics, ointments, compresses and inhalations), chiropractic (manipulative treatment), diet and spiritual practice.
Thai concept of health and disease
In Western culture health is considered good until you observe the physical signs to indicate the fact that something is malfunctioning.
Mind and body are treated as two separate domains and even substances. Western medicine approaches particular parts of the body by pulling away from the whole. It is interested in the tangible, touchable physical structures: the organs, bones, muscles, etc. Each of the disorders is treated as a separate disease entity. Expected All instances of the same diseases are treated the same, not seeing the need for individual therapeutic approach.
In the eastern culture, the conception of health and the human body is much more versatile. Health status is considered good when all energy structures belonging to the physical, mental and spiritual are in equilibrium.
These three areas are considered to be inseparable and interrelated. It is postulated that, in practice, treatment of the whole person, is desirable, not a selected set of symptoms. No health problem is confined to the physical body but applies to the whole. The Thai approach to massage is that the single session lasts from two to three hours. In this way the whole system operate on the patient, not just the areas that appeared in the "problem".
According to the theory of Thai medicine, the human body is composed of soul and the four elements: earth, water, wind and fire.
- The earth element represents 20 solid parts of the body (hair, nail, teeth, skin, muscle tendon and ligament, bone etc.)
- The water element represents 12 liquid parts of the body (bile, sputum, lymph, blood, sweat, tear, solid fat, tear, liquid fat, saliva, urine etc.)
- The wind element circulates in 6 directions within the body (breath etc.)
- The fire element heats up 4 areas within the body (fire that keeps the body warm etc.)
Normally, when these four elements in balance, the person remains healthy. The fundamental concept of Thai traditional medicine is like others traditional medicines and complementary therapies that bind to the belief in nature and natural way of life. The well-being of a person does not depend only on the internal body (body, mind and spirit) but also depends on their interrelationship to external environment.
There are several causes of disease:
- Imbalance of the fundamental four elements
- Changing of the climate
- Changing of life period
- Changing of the period in a day
- Changing of physical feature of the location
- Living with wrong behaviors
Thai traditional massage is not only a kneading of muscle and joints, but also a manipulating of massage points along invisible lines called “10 principal massage lines” (or “Sen Pra Tan Sib”, in Thai) that a similar to the energy lines in Chinese medicine. All lines are about 2 centimeters depth under the skin and spread out all over the body. Thais took the Hindu yogis belief in the existence of 72 000 energy lines (Sen), ten of which are considered the most important.
Energy-depleted area of the body is susceptible to ailments and diseases. Depletion of the energy supply is connected with our emotions, experiences that interfere with its circulation. At runtime, massage, mechanical energy flow is restored ("wind element"). Pressure stimulates all the organs and systems in the body, which in turn get rid of accumulated toxins in the body.
The session of Thai massage can benefit anyone. There are no age limits or special requirements for physical fitness. Currently it is believed that it shortens recovery time, helps you find inner balance of body and quieting the mind. You should inform your therapist of any diseases and ailments before the session. Such a session can last from hours to two or even three hours. Two hours are considered to be the perfect time for Thai massage, but a good massage can also be carried out within 1.5 hour, 1-hour massage can be performed in order to focus on a specific problem, such as back pain. After the massage it is advisable to drink plenty of water to supplement the fluid in the body.
Enhanced energy flow helps to alleviate common conditions such as back pain, arthritis, headaches, digestive problems, menstrual pain and stress-related disorders. Thai massage thus brings a deep state of relaxation and wellbeing. Yoga used in Thai massage stimulates the individual's sleep. These items supplemented stretching oppressing the relevant points provide unmatched strategy for working with the body.
Marcin Makowski M.A. is a massage therapist in Manchester, U.K.