Thai Massage and yoga are part of the same family. About 2500 years ago Thai massage was introduced in Thailand by an Indian physician, a contemporary of Buddha. He brought with him his expertise in yoga and yoga therapy. Therefore the term Thai Yoga Massage is very appropriate, although this term is not used at all in Thailand only by western practitioners.
First, yoga failed to ensure it is in Thailand. There exists even a type of Thai yoga in Thailand, but it is not well known and hardly practiced by anyone. So the Thai Massage arrived together with the yoga, however the Massage Koh Samui flourished and also the yoga disappeared into oblivion. Nowadays you will find quite a lot of yoga schools in Thailand’s tourist areas, but almost all of them are run by foreigners for foreign students. Only in recent years hold the Thais begun to take a desire for the Indian version of yoga, and today there are also yoga schools for Thais.
Why don’t the foreigners and Thais add the schools, you may ask? One reason is definitely the language barrier, as well as the other reason is that the Thais approach yoga along with life in general in a more relaxed, easy going way, whereas westerners place their yoga practice very seriously. The Thais believe that western yoga courses are more competitive instead of relaxed, social events.
Who popularized Thai massage recently? For centuries massage and herbal medicine were standard and effective treatments in Thailand until modern medicine appeared on the scene. At that time Thai bodywork became less popular. It absolutely was resurrected by foreigners who were fascinated by this amazing healing art. They started to write books regarding it, they produced videos, and started schools.
The decoupling of Thai Yoga Massage from yoga had triggered a degeneration of the caliber of this healing art. Originally it had been practiced by monks in temples. In recent decades it often was a thinly disguised come-on for sexual services. However at the same time western therapists started to take it very seriously as a therapeutic massage. They reintroduced yoga principles, and made a huge demand by westerners for Thai massage education and treatments in Thailand. There are many massage schools in Thailand, almost all catering exclusively to foreigners.
The Thai government has been making a serious effort to raise the standard of massage education by setting up training facilities for Thais, licensing therapists and schools, issuing official certificates, and promoting higher standards.
Thai Massage and yoga – the perfect combination. In the basic form, Thai massage is only a sequence of stretches and pressure points, a mechanical bodywork system. But by adding yoga principles towards the massage, it ehitye be elevated to a true healing art. Mindfulness, awareness of one’s own body as well as the client’s body, working from one’s “hara”, the energetic center right behind the navel, understanding of one’s breath, conscious channeling of healing energy, as well as an increased sensitivity of touch all greatly raise the quality and effectiveness in the treatment.
Thai massage can be much greater than a technique. The mixture of yoga principles with Thai bodywork is not only an excellent combination, but it brings Thai massage returning to its roots of yoga. After all, they are area of the same family.