Traditional Thai Massage or Nuad Bo-Rarn (as it is known in Thailand) is an ancient form of therapeutic healing originating over 2500 years ago. It has been practiced for centuries as it still is today. Thai Massage is a major part of four main components in the Traditional Thai Medical System and consists of rhythmic acupressure and an interactive manipulation of the body using passive stretching. TTM is a rapidly growing bodywork modality which aligns itself well with the new theories of fascial health and the growing restorative Yoga movement. Often called Thai Yoga Massage in the west, TTM remains steadfast as a highly intuitive form of healing no matter what the title.
No matter how TTM is marketed in the west, it is considered to be a spiritual practice exemplifying the “Four Divine States of Consciousness”:
- Metta or Loving Kindness – the desire to make others happy
- Karma or Compassion for all who suffer and a desire to ease their suffering
- Mudita or Joy for those who have good fortune and never feeling envy
- Upekkha – Regarding all without prejudice or preference
What does it do?
Musculo-skeletal pain and lack of mobility of the joints are generally the result of muscles shortening under the influence of repetitive strain. The stretching and manipulations in TTM are designed to stretch the muscles and mobilize the joints more effectively than would be possible by oneself. Regular Thai Massage sessions deeply improve overall health with the added benefits of lymphatic drainage and a deep restorative resetting of the parasympathetic nervous system.
How does it feel?
Each person responds differently to treatment in terms of their own experience and previous state of health. Those whose physical condition is not too far removed from a natural state may experience increased energy and a sense of well-being and freedom. Those who are beginning their journey back to a state of health may feel deeply challenged and discouraged. A good therapist will respect each client’s level of health and flexibility. There is a general consensus that TTM well applied results in a wonderful sense of relaxation, refreshment, and increases in flexibility/mobility. The key is consistency and trust in both the system and the therapist.
Contraindications to TTM
There are certain conditions in which caution should be taken when receiving Thai Massage. It is generally agreed that persons with a serious heart condition, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, recent joint surgery (hip or knee replacement), fractures, depression, and certain neurological disorders including stroke should first consult a physician. TTM IS NOT RECOMMENDED DURING PREGNANCY. Again, consulting a physician prior to undertaking any form of bodywork is recommended if limited restrictions or uncertainty exist.
The truth is that TTM is Buddhist-based and has deep roots in compassionate touch beyond mechanics. No matter where you receive TTM, ensure the therapist is committed to the deeper path of this healing art form.
Lance Zein graduated from the University of Alberta in 1986 with a combined Physical Therapy and Bachelor of Physcial Education (Kinesiology). He has been an avid student of hands on healing and various forms of bodywork for over 25 years. He studied TTM with the late Igor Stern, a pioneer of this form of healing in Canada. Lance received his certification in TTM 1 & 2 studying both in Alberta and in Thailand in 2000.