by Winnie Cain, LMT
Is Thai Massage an ancient form of healing, as claimed by those using this modality over the past 2,500+ years? I believe it is. When you understand Thai Massage, you will see why it is called an ancient form of healing.
Thai Massage is based on two theories:
- The Four Elements of Life theory: It is the main principle in Thai traditional medicine of which Thai massage is a branch. The body is composed of four elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire.
- Sen Sib (energy line) Theory: It is the core of Thai massage. Acupressure is applied to the Sen Sib.
The Four Elements of Life
- Thai massage affects the Earth element at the muscle, bone and ligaments.
- Thai massage stimulates the Water element flow through the body. It helps to maintain healthy function of the organs.
- Thai massage helps direct the Air element to flow in the right direction for the body. The Air element provides all the energy for all activities and functions.
- Thai massage improves circulation and helps maintain the right temperature for the body. The Fire element consists of the heat and energy of life.
Thai massage helps to remove blockages that may prevent energy flow in the Sen Sib and bring balance to body, mind and spirit.
In Thai massage, the therapist works from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head, ending at the feet. The therapist releases the fascia by doing acupressure and stretching.
The theory of Thai massage is that a person’s health and well-being relies on the balance of the Four Elements and the life energy channels (Sen Sib). It is believed that the Sen Sib need regular maintenance to avoid blockages or stagnation.
In Thai massage, the therapist must be comfortable and confident stretching the client. The therapist accomplishes this by using proper body mechanics. It should appear to the client that it is effortless while the therapist is lifting and stretching them. It will also feel like a meditation to both the therapist and client, from beginning to end while using the same rhythm throughout the massage, transitioning from one move to the next, like a dance.
It is an easy modality to do anywhere because the client is fully clothed, which gives on-site massage a new meaning. Thai massage can be performed on a mat or a massage table; it is a great way for the client to become energized while at the same time relaxed.