Traditional Thai Massage

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Traditional Thai Massage
Written by Administrator    Thursday, 25 March 2010 16:31    PDF Print E-mail

The tradition goes far back
 

The fingers go far into the flesh, reaching muscle knotted with tension

 

Traditional Thai Massage


This great way to relax the body - and the mind - is available all over Phuket Island. 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 ministrations.