Thai Massage and yoga are part of the same family. About 2500 in the past Thai massage was introduced in Thailand by an Indian physician, a contemporary of Buddha. He brought with him his knowledge of yoga and yoga therapy. Therefore the term Thai Yoga Massage is quite appropriate, even though this term is not used at all in Thailand but only by western practitioners.
First, yoga did not allow it to be in Thailand. There exists even a kind of Thai yoga in Thailand, yet it is not well known and hardly practiced by anyone. Therefore the Thai Massage arrived together with the yoga, nevertheless the Massage Koh Samui flourished as well as the yoga disappeared into oblivion. Nowadays you will find quite a lot of yoga schools in Thailand’s tourist areas, but almost all are run by foreigners for foreign students. Only in the recent years have the Thais began to take a desire for the Indian version of yoga, and today in addition there are yoga schools for Thais.
Why don’t the foreigners and Thais add the schools, you could ask? One reason is definitely the language barrier, and the other reason is the fact that Thais approach yoga along with life generally speaking in a more enjoyable, easy going way, whereas westerners take their yoga practice very seriously. The Thais believe that western yoga courses are more competitive rather than relaxed, social events.
Who popularized Thai massage recently? For hundreds of years massage and herbal medicine were standard and effective treatments in Thailand until modern medicine appeared on the scene. During those times Thai bodywork became less popular. It was resurrected by foreigners who had been fascinated by this amazing healing art. They begun to write books regarding it, they produced videos, and started schools.
The decoupling of Thai Yoga Massage from yoga had resulted in a degeneration of the quality of this healing art. Originally it had been practiced by monks in temples. In recent decades it often became a thinly disguised come-on for sexual services. However simultaneously western therapists begun to bring it very seriously being a massage therapy. They reintroduced yoga principles, and created 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 continues to be building a serious effort to raise the typical of massage education by putting together training facilities for Thais, licensing therapists and schools, issuing official certificates, and promoting higher standards.
Thai Massage and yoga – the best combination. In the basic form, Thai massage is simply a sequence of stretches and pressure points, a mechanical bodywork system. But with the addition of yoga principles to the massage, it ehitye be elevated to a true healing art. Mindfulness, knowledge of one’s own body and the client’s body, working from one’s “hara”, the energetic center right behind the navel, knowledge of one’s breath, conscious channeling of healing energy, and an increased sensitivity of touch all greatly raise the quality and effectiveness from the treatment.
Thai massage may be much more than a technique. The mixture of yoga principles with Thai bodywork is not merely an excellent combination, nevertheless it brings Thai massage returning to its roots of yoga. In the end, they are portion of the same family.