What is Thai Traditional Massage?
Traditional Thai Massage, practiced for over 2500 years, is based on the Ayurvedic principles of balancing one's energy. In both Eastern and Western Integrative healing systems, maintaining equilibrium in the body is the key to good health.
Thai Massage is based on Sen, energy lines that run throughout the body, similar to the blood vessels carrying blood throughout the body. When the Sen become blocked, the energy stagnates and the body loses its balance, allowing disease.
In Thai massage, stretching, Sen work, Tok Sen, Bamboo and acupressure are used to open energy channels, allowing the body to rebalance itself and heal. Applying pressure points along the energy lines, combined with gentle rocking, compression, and elongation of the muscles with yoga-like stretches, serves to relax muscles and open joints, thus allowing energy to flow.
In general, there are two mainstream styles of traditional Thai massage in Thailand. They are the 'Southern/Royal Style' and the 'Northern/Rural Style'. The Southern style is taught at the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok and is mostly focused on firm acupressure pressure and vigorous energy lines work.
In the Southern style the massage practitioner uses only his/her thumbs and heels of the thumbs. Strict etiquete must be observed. The distance between practitioner and recipient must be no closer than the stretched arm. No stretching positions are applied and minimal body contact is maintained.
The Northern style is taught mainly in Chiang Mai and has more stretching techniques and a slow and relaxing rhythm. Different parts of the body(the forearms, elbows, knees and feet) are used to give the full body massage. It was first taught at the Old Medicine Hospital. At the age of 17, Mac started studying and working in 1990 at the Old Medicine Hospital in Chiang Mai. Mac has created his own massage style in which he uses the traditional Northern massage style and his expertise to continually develop it. In his style it is important that the practitioner feels comfortable when giving massages by feeling what the person receiving the massage needs.