Written by Administrator
Thursday, 25 March 2010 16:31
The tradition goes far back
The fingers go far into the flesh, reaching muscle
knotted with tension
This great way to relax the body - and the mind - is available all over PhuketIsland.
One can lie on a simple mat on the sand with two old ladies with fingers of
steel working your back, or take in a world-class spa experience in some of the
most beautifully designed spas in this service-oriented country
Ancient Massage or nuat phaen boran, as the Thais know it, is an
integral part of local traditional medical techniques. Herbal medicine and
saunas combine with all the resources of a centuries-old tradition of magic.
Despite the obvious success of Western medical techniques, traditional medicine
with its holistic approach to healing still has many adherents.
The massage starts with the patient prostrate, usually with you on your back.
The masseur works his way up from the feet. Each toe joint is stretched,
generally, the more easily joints crack the suppler they are. There is some
point massage applied to the soles. After the ankles are pressure massaged and
stretched there is a pressure massage up the legs. Then the masseur starts
seriously stretching the legs. It is these stretching techniques which
inexpertly applied have given Thai massage its reputation for pain, as the
broad muscles of the upper leg are strained too far. The expert masseur,
however, uses his own feet as levers to apply large forces that, because of
their exact positioning, do not hurt at all. Similarly, the masseur may step on
points below the groin, applying his full weight. If the points are correct,
there is no pain, and you feel a pleasant tingling “rush” down the legs as the
masseur steps off.
After the hands and arms have been similarly treated, you lie on your side.
After more pressure there is a pull-up arm stretch where you might be lucky
enough to hear cracking around the middle of your spine. This is repeated on
the other side. Now that your are on your back, the masseur will apply the most
delicious aspect of the massage as he works up the spine and eventually reaches
the neck and shoul-ders, bringing blissful relief to these most stressed parts
of your body. It is common for patients to fall asleep at this point.
Somewhere around here, the masseur may slip in a facial massage, designed
mostly to relieve headaches and throbbing temples.
Finally you sit up, and are massaged from the back. Some more frightening
stretches include the masseur putting his knees under your back and twisting of
your neck. Successful moves are rewarded with more satisfying clicks. In
general, you must relax as much as possible, trusting yourself to the masseur’s