THE ACIENT HEALING POWER
OF TRADITIONAL THAI MASSAGE
(NUAD PHAEN BORAN)
OF TRADITIONAL THAI MASSAGE
(NUAD PHAEN BORAN)
Whether you are spending holidays in Thailand trying out a fancy retreat or spending some time wandering in the white sand beaches scenery, it is probably on the top of your list experience: Thai Massage.
Nuad Phaen Boran, the art of traditional Thai massage. An ancient healing therapy that goes beyond physical relaxation. Very popular among travelers in South East Asia, Thai massage can be found in most cities in Thailand, from North to South. In this article, the true essence of Thai massage will be explained along with its therapeutic benefits for the body and mind.
Thai massage is a spiritual practice connected with the teachings of Buddha. According to the tradition in Thailand, it starts with a prayer in Pali language to its founder- The Father of the Medicine, known as Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha asking to bring health and healing to the patient through the hands of the practitioner.
In Buddhist scriptures, Jivaka Kumar is appointed as a physician and contemporary of the Buddha about 2.500 years ago. He is appointed for providing free medical care to monks besides having fame as a healer. His teachings traveled to Thailand but have its earliest roots tied up in India. Applying Thai massage requires a meditative state on the practitioner’s side as well as for the patient. Keeping this meditative state allows the practitioner to connect with the patient’s body and tailor the experience. Both individuals should tune in the breath, thus allowing energy to move freely in the body. There is no use of oil since the massage is done on top of loose-fitting clothes. Most often, the massage is done on a comfortable floor mat.
Receiving massage from the time of birth has been part of Thai culture and other Asian cultures. The routine of being massaged enhances the circulation of nutrients along the body and helps the organism expel toxins. On a mental level, it leads the mind to relax. The idea in Thai Massage is working on the invisible energy lines, called Sen that runs through the body which are vital points for acupressure. Similarly, is the idea of meridians found in Chinese Medicine. Both Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda (Indian Holistic Medicine System) believe that illness occurs due to a block in the flow of energy in the body or it is not moving as freely as in its natural state.
During a Thai massage, the therapist will work on these energy lines by palm and thumb pressing. Therefore, warming up muscles and increasing blood flow. For the first-timers, a Thai massage session can be daunting since it is quite different from the styles of relaxing massage found in the Western World. Expect constant body contact between the giver and receiver. The practitioner uses the limbs of his body to compress muscles, pull, rock and manipulate the body in positions similar to yoga.
Thai massage has many recognized health benefits going beyond the relief of physical ailments. As the individual connects with himself through the bodywork, emotional well- being is achieved. Thai Massage among other modalities of holistic therapies is a powerful tool in Integrative Medicine. Therapeutic massage works because it enhances the body’s natural ability to heal. As mainstream medicine advances towards a more integrative approach, medical doctors of different fields suggest therapeutic massages for its benefits, as well as assisting with allopathic treatments. The benefits are many, from relieving joint and muscle pain to increasing mobility along with flexibility.
OTHER BENEFITS YOU CAN REAP BY RECEIVING A THAI MASSAGE INCLUDE:
Thai massage has therapeutic effects on the nervous system. In today’s fast-paced society, virtually everyone tends to store tension on the body and repress emotions. Thai massage not only induces relaxation at a physical level but also releases emotional tension.
Improves Immune System
In a full body Thai massage, the therapist stimulates reflexology points under the feet that affect organs in the body. This subtle stimulation encourages a positive immune system response.
Exploring the reflexology points on the feet, hands, and ears restores the flow of energy within the body.
Endorphin is also released as a response to reflexology which is a great natural pain killer.
Healthy Blood Circulation
Receiving Thai Massage regularly promotes better blood circulation throughout the body since it stretches the blood vessels.
Stimulates Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is in charge of releasing fluids and waste from the body. Thai massage helps the lymph fluid move and direct the toxins into the organs that can properly expel them, thus helping the body cleanse itself.
There are two specials treatments used in Thai massage that can be combined with your massage session. Among those treatments, two can be highlighted Tok Sen and Herbal Steam Massage. Tok Sen is well Known in Northern Thailand. Wooden tools made from Tamarind trees are used along Sen energy lines which release the muscles and aids with chronic pain.
In Thai tradition, those tools are blessed by a Buddhist monk so that negative energy on the body is released. The body’s natural state is movement. Leading a sedentary lifestyle with a lack of proper exercise, spending hours seated in the office or driving can cause an unhealthy spine in many individuals.
Tok Sen is effective in working on the spinal misalignment that causes several health issues. It goes in-depth in relieving tension, moreover, the vibrational strikes against the body provide incredible relaxation.It loosens up the tension on muscles and the fascia, which is the connective tissue beneath the skin, commonly known as trigger points or knots.
The hot steam compress is made of powerful herbs that can soothe and relieve pain and inflammations. Usually, they are made of fresh Ginger, Turmeric, Lemon Grass, Camphor and Tamarind.
All of these herbs contain therapeutic properties that are beneficial to overall health. Your therapist will apply it to the body by pressing, gliding, and using circular movements. The fragrance of the herbs combined with the heat on the body alleviates fatigue and it is certainly a great touch at the end of a Thai massage session. It will make you feel re-energized and rejuvenated.
An important point to excellent health is having the body and the mind balanced.
On a physical level, is essential for the body to circulate the nutrients and flush toxins efficiently. Getting a Thai massage works wonders in enhancing the body’s systems to work at full potential. The stimulus received in Thai massage also affects the subtle body. It works as a channel to let go of old emotions that are suppressed providing you a transformational experience.
A study has taken salivary cortisol as well as questionnaire measures of emotional response before and after a massage session. Following a simple hand massage, the outcome was cortisol decreased significantly and positive emotional changes across all participants.
Traditional Thai Massage is a powerful therapeutic bodywork. It does work deeply in the systems of the body. It assists the body in doing what it does best, it leads the body to self-healing. The body knows how to return to its natural state of balance and health. Give a boost to your health by enjoying the benefits of this ancient practice that will certainly nourish your body and mind, providing you a higher sense of overall well-being.
 Brust, Harald. Thai Traditional Massage for Advanced Practitioners. Bangkok- Duang Kamol, 1996
 Johari, Harish. Ayurvedic Massage- Traditional Indian techniques for balancing body and mind. Vermont- Healing Arts Press, 1996