About Traditional Thai Massage
Traditional Thai Massage is a system of pressure-point massage, assisted stretching and steamed herbal poultice massage. Traditional Thai Massage increases overall well-being by applying deep and gentle pressing, stretching, and warming of the pressure points along energy lines of the body. It is the most frequently used alternative medicine treatment for back pain in Thailand, and is commonly used to treat symptoms of tension headache, muscle aches, fatigue, jet lag or sleeping difficulty, postpartum recovery, frequent colds and flus, digestive discomfort, women’s health, men’s health, chronic stress, and mood disorders. It has been shown to promote relaxation, reduce stress, increase parasympathetic nervous system activity, decrease blood pressure, and increase blood circulation (1,2).
Thai Massage is received while fully clothed in loose pants and shirt, lying on a heated massage mat. The style used at All and One is the Royal or Court-Type Thai massage, originally developed for treatment of the Thai royal family and members of the court (considered highly respectful and comfortable). The practitioner uses their palms, fingers, thumbs, and occasionally feet to rhythmically press along ten “Sen lines” or active movement lines of the body. The slow rhythm of the massage combined with the use of warming herbal pillows and steamed herbal massage poultices creates a sense of deep relaxation, while treating the specific area of complaint to relieve pain and tension.
Originally, Traditional Thai Massage was performed by relatives or Buddhist monks, and it is considered a form of meditative practice. The receiver has no need to meditate during the treatment, but the practitioner uses a meditative mindset to become highly observant of the receiver’s physical and emotional state. Combining this awareness with a detailed understanding of functional anatomy creates a complete mind-body medical intervention.
The history of Traditional Thai Massage reaches back centuries, although its written documentation did not begin until the 19th century. In 1836 the medical techniques of Traditional Thai Massage were collected at Wat Pho, a temple and center of education in the heart of Bangkok. Since then, the medicine has been increasingly systematized and is now taught as a four-year Bachelor’s degree program in Thai medical schools, in combination with Traditional Thai Herbalism and Pharmacology. Traditional Thai Massage is increasingly integrated into hospitals and outpatient medical clinics in Thailand.
Certification programs in Thailand educate non-Thai practitioners in Traditional Thai Massage. Our practitioner, Beth Griffing, was trained at the Wat Pho Chetawon School of Thai Traditional Medicine, and has pursued continuing education over the last four years of her practice. Learn more about Beth.
- Rattanaphan S and Srichandr P. Mechanical Model of Traditional Thai Massage for Integrated Healthcare. Journal of Healthcare Engineering. 2015: 6(2); 193-212.
- Damapong P, Kanchanakhan N, Eungpinichpong W, Putthapitak P, Damapong P. A Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Court-Type Traditional Thai Massage versus Amitriptyline in Patients with Chronic Tension-Type Headache. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015:12pgs. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/930175.