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 knowledge of yoga and yoga therapy. Therefore the term Thai Yoga Massage is quite appropriate, although this term is not used at all in Thailand only by western practitioners.
First, yoga did not make it in Thailand. There is certainly even a form of Thai yoga in Thailand, but it is not widely known and hardly practiced by anyone. And so the Thai Massage arrived along with the yoga, however the Massage Koh Samui flourished and the yoga disappeared into oblivion. Nowadays you can find quite a number of yoga schools in Thailand’s tourist areas, but almost all of them are run by foreigners for foreign students. Only in the last few years hold the Thais started to take an interest in the Indian version of yoga, and today additionally, there are 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 would be that the Thais approach yoga as well as life in general in a more enjoyable, easy going way, whereas westerners place their yoga practice very seriously. The Thais think that western yoga courses are more competitive rather than relaxed, social events.
Who popularized Thai massage recently? For thousands of years 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 was resurrected by foreigners who were fascinated by this unique healing art. They begun to write books about it, they produced videos, and started schools.
The decoupling of Thai Yoga Massage from yoga had resulted in a degeneration of the standard of this healing art. Originally it had been practiced by monks in temples. In recent decades many times, it became a thinly disguised come-on for sexual services. However at the same time western therapists began to bring it very seriously being a massage therapy. They reintroduced yoga principles, and developed a huge demand by westerners for Thai massage education and treatments in Thailand. There are countless massage schools in Thailand, just about all catering exclusively to foreigners.
The Thai government continues to be building a serious effort to raise the conventional 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 its basic form, Thai massage is only a sequence of stretches and pressure points, a mechanical bodywork system. But with the help of yoga principles towards the massage, it ehitye be elevated to a true healing art. Mindfulness, knowledge of one’s own body as well as the client’s body, working from one’s “hara”, the energetic center right behind the navel, awareness of one’s breath, conscious channeling of healing energy, and an increased sensitivity of touch all greatly raise the quality and effectiveness of the treatment.
Thai massage could be much more than a technique. A combination of yoga principles with Thai bodywork is not merely an excellent combination, however it brings Thai massage to its roots of yoga. In the end, these are part of the same family.