When it comes to health, many Westerners feel as if they’ve lost their way. Our societies are becoming wealthier and wealthier, and yet our well-being isn’t keeping pace. In 2018, life expectancy in the US fell for some demographic groups, leading to shocking headlines around the world.
This decline in well-being has provoked a search for alternative remedies overseas: things that the average person can do to improve their health and undo some of the damage inflicted by the modern world.
That search has unearthed something that seems highly promising: Thai massage. Thai massage is somewhat different from the kind of massage a person gets in a regular spa. There’s no taking off of clothes or rubbing of oil into the skin. Instead, the person receiving the massage lies on a mat while an expert therapist uses their feet, elbows, and knee caps to deliver carefully choreographed treatment.
Thais have used massage over the centuries to manage chronic pain, prevent illness, and improve a person’s overall sense of well-being. The philosophy of Thai massage relies heavily on the concept of “life forces.” These energies should flow freely through the body but, sometimes, because of muscle tension, they do not. The job of the Thai massage therapist is to increase the flow rate, helping circulate these feel-good essences and improve overall vitality.
What’s actually going on remains a matter of scientific inquiry, but it’s plausible that Thai massage offers manage of the same benefits of conventional varieties – benefits that are well understood by existing research.
Different Types Of Thai Massage
Traditional Thai massage is odd enough, thanks to all the elbow and knee involvement. But it has some even stranger cousins that the western world is only just discovering. These therapies go by the names of Kar Sai, Yam Khang, Tok Sen, and Jap Sen, and each attempts to manipulate a person’s life forces in different ways.
2. Jap Sen
Jap Sen, for instance, works across muscle fibers instead of with them, attempting to manipulate “Sen” or the life channels that flow in various directions. People who try Jap Sen often say that it feels slightly ticklish and makes them laugh.
3. Tok Sen
Tok Sen developed for different reasons. As rice paddy farming spread all over the Far East, there grew a need for a therapy that could help relax the muscles of farmers who had been out in the field all day once they returned home. Most farmers didn’t know massage grandmasters in the major cities, and so they developed their own technique using mallets. A farmer would lay down, and then a member of their family would gently bash their skin with a flat-capped wooden hammer along the so-called “Sen lines.”
The Main HealthBenefits Of Thai Massage
Okay, enough of the stories; take a look at ten health benefits of Thai massage.
1. Pain Relief
Working in the rice paddies all day long was exhausting work. Aching muscles were a regular part of life. Thai massage has been shown to relieve pain in a large proportion of people who try it (between 25 and 80 percent).
2. Headache Relief
Thai massage may restore blood and lymphatic circulation, providing relief from headaches. Research published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2015 suggests that Thai massage can help reduce tension-related pain.
3. Better Energy
Thai massage practitioners believe that tight muscles cause low energy. When muscles are constricted, energy can’t flow freely through the body, leading to fatigue. Thai massage, they believe, opens up tissues, allowing nutrients and oxygen to flow freely once more.
4. Lowered Stress Levels
Stress is not a modern phenomenon; it’s something that helped humans avoid dangerous situations in our evolutionary past. The problem with stress is that most people can’t distinguish biologically between stressors that are a genuine threat to their survival and those which are a physically harmless aspect of modern life. Thai massage, however, may fight stress by reducing a particular type of stress marker in the body called sAA.
5. Reduced Depression Risk
Like chronic stress, depression is a scourge of the modern world with myriad causes, including stress itself. Regular Thai massage may be able to help counter depression indirectly by reducing the stress to which a person is exposed.
6. Better Circulation
The western diet is not particularly conducive to healthy circulation. The industrial food system exposes people to high levels of saturated fat, sugar, processed foods, and inflammatory foods, which all contribute to slow and steady degradation of their blood vessels.
Thai massage, however, may provide people with a way to fight back. Research in Med Sci Monit Basic Res shows that when people with diabetes-induced damage to the blood vessels in their feet receive Thai foot massage, their balance improved.
7. Better Range Of Motion
Unlike traditional massage, Thai massage incorporates a range of stretching movements in addition to regular manipulation of muscle tissue. The purpose of the yoga-like stretching is to open up muscles, reduce knotting, and generate higher levels of flexibility over time. Lack of flexibility may be a leading reason why some people develop postural imbalances and tension in the shoulders, neck, and lower back.
8. Great For Athletes
Athletes put their bodies through punishing schedules. Thai massage can help athletes to relax, improve their range of motion, and avoid injury.
9. May Treat Nerve Problems
Neuropathy is a debilitating condition which affects more than 20 million people in the United States. Evidence suggests that massage techniques, like Thai massage, can have a positive effect on patients with the condition by reducing pain and improving motor control.
10. Reduced Reaction To Stressors
Finally, by opening up Sen lines, the theory is that Thai massage reduces the stressors to which a person is subject, helping them deal with the difficulties of life as they arrive.
Skin Apeel Spa in Boca Raton, FL, offers people living in the state the chance to experience a genuine Thai massage, without having to travel overseas. Thai massage is an ideal complement to other traditional medical practices and can help generate an overall sense of well-being. We tailor our massages to body type and a person’s age.
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