Thai massage may be the ultimate sports massage. By understanding the world’s oldest medicine systems, we become better equipped to treat athletic conditions.
Thai massage, also called Thai-Yoga, is rooted in the 7,000-year-old medicine system of Ayurveda. Although Ayurveda is ancient, the U.S. is just discovering its therapeutic riches.
What is Thai massage?
Thai massage is also called Thai-Yoga because it is rooted in yoga. Thai massage is like having yoga done to you.
Like massage, Thai massage is performed by a practitioner onto a recipient. The client passively receives a series of stretches and compressions. Unlike most massage styles, a highly-skilled therapist will also receive therapeutic effects by offering the treatment.
Like yoga, a session involves a series of dynamic stretches. Like stretches or postures in yoga (asanas), many muscles are stretched simultaneously.
And the stretches tend to be multi-planar. This means each stretch moves the muscles in more than just one direction. Multi-planar stretches prepare the muscle better for everyday activities than do stretches that are isolating or uni-directional.
The most notable effects of the treatment sequence include:
* Stretching tight muscles
* Loosening stiff joints, and
* Improving energy circulation.
The treatment improves energy circulation by loosening muscles that commonly tighten and restrict the flow of blood, nerves, oxygen, and other vital energy. In many Eastern health practices, this focus is called clearing chakras. By clearing all of the body’s major chakras, vital energy flow is restored throughout the body.
How is Thai massage different from Sports massage?
Sports massage is a common style of massage used to train athletes and treat sports injuries. Most massage therapists receive special training or a distinct sports massage certification in order to practice it with athletes.
Sports massage is a combination of assisted stretching and massage techniques. The application depends on the phase of the athlete’s training.
The benefits of assisted stretching are limited, however, because muscles are stretched in isolation, uni-directionally.
Thai massage is also typically applied in a gentle manner that enables the recipient to relax. When the body is relaxed, and stretches are received passively, the muscles can be stretched more deeply.
Using multi-planar, dynamic stretches, with a relaxing approach, is more beneficial than typical assisted stretching focused on muscles in isolation.
Clearing chakras is also more restorative than working on muscles individually or treating problematic areas separately from the rest of the body.
While most Americans consider massage to be holistic medicine, Thai massage is truly more holistic by nature than most other styles of massage, including sports massage.