Blurb: A good Thai massage is believed to be therapeutic, stress relieving and muscle relaxing. Treatment takes about two hours and is believed to add years to your life By the time King Rama III ascended to the throne, massage had become a way of life in Thailand, so much so that he ordered that the basic theories be carved in stone in the Wat Po compound. Thus, Wat Po has become the center for traditional Thai massage.

At the Wat Po “centers”, the same basic principles are followed by massage practitioners, with slight variations in style. The “mor nuat” (literally “massage doctor”) press their fingers on muscles that the patient cannot reach himself. They also stretch the arms and legs. Usually, their efforts are centered on the area where the patient has a problem — be it an aching back, stiff neck or tennis elbow. It takes about two hours to conduct a complete Thai massage, which is believed to add years to your life.

The body is first treated from the waist down. The pressure points are then worked on to get energy flowing. Thai massage isn’t painful; in fact, it’s soothing and relaxing. Most people find massage an excellent way to unwind after a hectic day of shopping, excessive partying, or after a week of hard work. Thai massage is a form of relaxation, and some practitioners believe it can cure a number of common ailments.

Another ancient curative art known as foot reflexology has also become very popular in the last few years. In foot reflexology, nerve endings on each foot are stimulated. This is considered another form of holistic healing that is said to have originated from India and spread to China some 5,000 years ago. Both feet, — known as the second heart of the body — have 14,400 nerve endings and over 100 reflex zones. Pressure and massage on a certain zone of the foot stimulates and heals the corresponding organ in the body. Practitioners say reflexology eliminates uric acid deposits in the feet and improves blood circulation at the same time. It also ensures good health.



Essential massage tools


In Thailand, where traditional Thai massage and countless other types of massage and spa therapies abound, finding one to give you that great rubdown is easy. Just remember, as wonderful as a good massage is, a good massage with the right massage oil, hot compress, hot stones, lotion, cream, gel or powder can make it a thousand times better.

p1To help you decide which type of medium you want your masseuse/masseur or therapist to use, some of the most common aides they use here are massage oils, creams, lotion and powder. A simple backrub already feels wonderful but using oil does not only make it feel better. Massage oils may offer physical benefits of their own, or simply enhance the experience with scent, sensation and ease.

Massaging with massage oil adds the benefit of moisturizing and toning the skin, as well as making it easier for your therapist’s hands to move and knead over muscles and skin. The scent you choose, the ingredients included and the way that you use the oil all give different benefits – from helping to heal old wounds to just plain making a massage more fun. Massage creams are generally used on people with sore muscles, an injury, or have muscle spasms. Herbal muscle creams with therapeutic properties stimulates healing and is great for a deep muscle massage. These creams contain essential oils and Capsicum which is a heat generating ingredient.

Many people prefer creams because they do not make the body feel greasy. For somebody with a highly sensitive skin, it is best to advise your therapist ahead so they do not use a cream that you will have allergic reaction to. A popular alternative to massage oils is the use of lotion. Massage lotions like oil, work well for deep tissue stimulation and non-slip massage. Most lotions are non-greasy and provide ideal glide protecting the skin from damage due to excessive friction during high-friction massages.

p2They help relieve muscular tension and stress without too much drag. As it is not quickly absorbed by the skin, lotion has the ability to condition the skin during massage. A very light massage using fingers, hands and arms over your powder-dusted body is like going back to the days when your sensitive baby-skin is caressed by the gentle touch of a mother’s hands. Powder massage is not designed to work your muscles as it is focused on the soft areas of the body like the back of the knee, elbow crooks, calves, palms, small of the back, etc., to stimulate nerve endings.