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 understanding of 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 make it in Thailand. There is certainly even a kind of Thai yoga in Thailand, however it is not well regarded and hardly practiced by anyone. And so the Thai Massage arrived along with the yoga, nevertheless the Thai Massage Koh Samui flourished and also the yoga disappeared into oblivion. Nowadays there are a large number of yoga schools in Thailand’s tourist areas, but almost all of them are run by foreigners for foreign students. Only in the recent years hold the Thais began to take an interest in 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 could ask? One reason is the language barrier, and the other reason is the fact that Thais approach yoga in addition to life generally speaking in a more enjoyable, easy going way, whereas westerners get their yoga practice very seriously. The Thais feel 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 that time Thai bodywork became less popular. It had been resurrected by foreigners who were fascinated with this unique healing art. They began to write books about this, they produced videos, and started schools.
The decoupling of Thai Yoga Massage from yoga had led to a degeneration of the standard of this healing art. Originally it was practiced by monks in temples. In recent decades it often became a thinly disguised come-on for sexual services. However at the same time western therapists started to carry it very seriously as being a massage treatment. They reintroduced yoga principles, and created a huge demand by westerners for Thai massage education and treatments in Thailand. There are countless massage schools in Thailand, virtually all catering exclusively to foreigners.
The Thai government has been creating a serious effort to raise the conventional 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 ideal combination. In their basic form, Thai massage is simply a sequence of stretches and pressure points, a mechanical bodywork system. But with the help of yoga principles to the massage, it ehitye be elevated to some true healing art. Mindfulness, knowledge of one’s own body and also 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 in the treatment.
Thai massage may be much over a technique. The mixture of yoga principles with Thai bodywork is not only a perfect combination, but it brings Thai massage to its roots of yoga. In the end, they are area of the same family.